Male Sexual Dysfunction – Causes & Treatment

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 04/15/2014

Sexual dysfunction is defined as the incapacity of a man to maintain his penis erect for long enough to have full sexual intercourse. In order to be considered as a problem of sexual dysfunction, it must persist for a minimum of three months.

Erection problems can appear at any moment over a man’s life, from the beginning of his sexual life (puberty) or later, and either in a gradual or sudden way, preventing the man from introducing his penis into a female vagina, or to maintain the erection long enough to experience normal sexual intercourse.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.


There are several causes why sexual dysfunction appears, and although at the beginning it was thought that there was a strong psychological cause, more than the 80% of the cases are due to anatomical alterations.

The main anatomical cause of sexual dysfunction is an alteration in arteries or veins that prevents enough blood flow to arrive for the erection to happen. It can be caused by:

  • Diabetes: hinders the maintenance of the erection
  • Illnesses affecting the kidney
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Lesion in the penis, prostate or bladder
  • Low level of testosterone, hormone problems


The first step to start a treatment against sexual dysfunction is to discover the main cause; if for example it appeared after taking a medicine, you can ask your doctor if you can take any other medicine not having such side effects. Some blood pressure treatments can produce this type of problems.

Natural remedies

In spite of the fact that many of these popular remedies do not completely convince doctors, a lot of men think they are efficient. It is recommendable to consume germinated wheat, oats and sesame, which are the most indicated cereals.

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is very used to increase the erection of the penis. Some vegetables like tomato and garlic are also recommended. Last but not least, cinnamon and nutmeg are a good option because of their aphrodisiac properties.

Psychological therapy

Visiting an expert in Psychology can cure stress-caused sexual dysfunction, as there are relaxation techniques to decrease the degree of stress.

This way, the anxiety caused by the feeling of “meeting the expected standards” in the sexual field can decrease, so disappearing the problems blocking the erection.


Since its invention in 1998, a lot of sexual-dysfunction-related problems have disappeared, e.g. sexual dysfunction problems due to age or to a low blood flow.

It is important to ask your doctor if you can take Viagra, as its side effects may not be appropriate for you; if your doctor considers it appropriate, you should take one pill one hour before having sex.

Viagra contains nitric oxide, which plays an important role in the erection of the penis.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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