Erectile dysfunction: myths vs facts

Fact vs fiction - everything you should know about ED


There’s so much information out there about erectile dysfunction and it can be hard to differentiate the myths from the facts. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 ED myths, so you can find out the truth behind them.

Myth No. 1

Not getting an erection means you’re not attracted to someone


You can be really attracted to someone, but sometimes it can still be difficult to get an erection. Alcohol, stress and anxiety can cause temporary ED as well as other health factors. None of these causes mean that you are not attracted to someone.

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Myth No. 2

Only old people get ED


ED can affect men at any age. ED in younger men tends to have a psychological rather than a physical cause. However, ED can be caused by excessive drinking, taking drugs, obesity and injuries to the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis.


Myth No. 3

ED makes you less masculine


ED is not usually caused by a lack of testosterone, but by other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity or anxiety. Not being able to get an erection does not make you any less masculine. You are the same person you have always been. It will only affect your self-esteem if you let it. 


Myth No. 4

There’s someone to blame for ED


ED is not your fault or your partner's fault. Neither of you should feel you are to blame. ED is something that happens to many men as they age. 40% of men over 40 and 70% of men over 70 experience ED. It also can have other causes such as stress, anxiety, but you don’t often have control over how you feel, so it is not your fault in this case too.


Myth No. 5

Viagra is the only cure


There are loads of different medications available to treat ED, including Cialis, Levitra and Spedra. In addition, if the cause of your ED is psychological, you may find that psychological therapies or counselling help you overcome ED.


Myth No. 6

All Viagra online is fake


While many websites do sell fake Viagra online, there are many legitimate online pharmacies that offer genuine Viagra, or Sildenafil, the generic alternative. In the UK, you can check for the green cross logo signifying membership to the General Pharmaceutical Council.


Myth No. 7

Herbal remedies for ED are safer


Many herbal remedies have not been properly tested for safety and their ingredients are not properly regulated, so you can’t always be sure what you’re taking. Some herbal remedies have been found to contain synthetic versions of drugs that relax your blood vessels. This is also how Viagra works, but Viagra only relaxes the blood vessels that supply the penis, not the blood vessels throughout your body, as this could cause a sudden drop in blood pressure that could be dangerous. Now Viagra Connect has become available over the counter, there's no excuse to take these risky medications. 


Myth No. 8

Excessive masturbation leads to ED


If you masturbate just before sex, you may find it difficult to get an erection. This is because there is a lag time during which you cannot get an erection. This may be nature’s way of getting people to stop having sex all day. However, even if you masturbate several times a day, you should still be able to get an erection for sex. It is more likely that excessive masturbation will actually make it harder for you to orgasm during sex. This is because stimulating yourself with your hands can be very different to a vagina or anus, which cannot grip as tightly etc..


Myth No. 9

Watching too much porn will give you ED


The existence of porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED), is still up for debate. However, while PIED may exist, it is not necessarily related to the amount of porn you watch, and it is not likely to affect everybody. It is thought that over-exposure to extreme porn, may affect how your brain responds to real-life sex. But the fact is that many men watch porn and still have a healthy sex life. Some couples even watch it together.


Myth No. 10

You don’t need to talk about ED with your doctor


You should not feel embarrassed about seeing your doctor about ED. You won’t be the first case they’ve seen and you won’t be the last. ED is part of the bread and butter of being a GP. In addition, ED can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, so it’s important that you let the doctor know, in case it indicates another health problem that needs to be addressed.

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