Most men, especially in their youth, take their erections for granted. Getting hard is seen as a given. Sometimes an inconvenience. Remember those days on the school bus?
However, up to 50 percent of men aged 30 to 80 years will experience erectile dysfunction. This is where they struggle to get and keep a hard-on. Even I was surprised when I learned that. And yet we don’t hear much about it. Most blokes I know wouldn’t admit to it, let alone seek help for it. Erections are still seen as a measure of masculinity, and having difficulty can have a serious impact on your self-esteem and life (sex or otherwise).
It can happen for a number of reasons. These range from underlying medical problems (heart disease, diabetes and testosterone deficiency) to psychological issues (anxiety, depression, stress and so on). Even if it has a physical cause, it often ends up having a mental impact anyway. Soo, most cases are a mixed picture.
There are lots of different treatments out there, but Viagra (sildenafil) was revolutionary, especially when it started to be sold over the counter. Cialis (tadalafil) has just been made available in the same way. It’s likely to prove popular because traditionally these drugs have to be timed with when you think you might have sex, but Cialis allows much more freedom.
“Erections are still seen as a measure of masculinity, and having difficulty can have a serious impact on your self-esteem”
Just like any medication, these can have their side-effects. The headaches they can cause can be really unpleasant. They also can’t be taken if you’re already on certain other medications.
For the past decade, there haven’t really been any huge developments in this area. The holy grail would be something that you could take quickly and easily just before sex, which worked well, didn’t have any side effects, and you could just get over the counter. That seemed impossible… until now.
I recently learned of the new and interestingly named Eroxon. It’s a gel that you rub onto the tip of the penis and it works within 10 minutes. The best part is that it doesn’t contain any drugs at all. It works through a combination of volatile compounds which evaporate rapidly causing a reflex increase in blood flow to the penis. Ta-da! Because it contains no active pharmaceuticals, very few (if any) side effects have been reported. And, even better, you can get it in Boots and on Amazon. Plus, it doesn’t taste disgusting…
The manufacturer’s initial studies are quite small, and its claims are pretty big, so it remains to be seen just how good this product is. Also, it doesn’t change the fact that those with erectile dysfunction will still need to address the underlying medical or psychological reasons behind it. However, it could help so many men get themselves back on track and break that awful cycle of suffering that the condition causes.
Dr Ranj Singh’s column first appeared in Attitude issue 353.