To treat erectile dysfunction (ED), you first must lower your blood pressure if it's high. Some people are able to do that through lifestyle changes alone. Others need help from prescription blood pressure drugs.
A problem for many men, however, is that some types of blood pressure medicines can actually causeerectile dysfunction. That may make it difficult to stay on your medication, especially if your high blood pressure never caused any symptoms before. An estimated 70% of men who have side effects...
"What I see as a problem is the public has been educated to believe that good sex requires an erect penis that stays hard through the entire sexual encounter," Shaw tells WebMD. "This definition of good sex changes the basic nature of an encounter from intimacy and pleasure to achievement and performance."
This focus on performance, Shaw says, robs men and their partners of the opportunity to deepen their relationships -- and their sexuality. The sexual needs of adolescents, she says, are different that those of adults. Yet by making erections the be-all and end-all of sex, grown men are retreating to adolescent sexual values.
"Having an erection does not mean you are being sexual. Being sexual comes from inside your sense of yourself," Shaw says. "You can be sexual, you can feel sexual, you can behave sexually without an erection. A penis is not the only part of a man's body that can be used sexually."
Shaw makes a distinction between genital behavior and sexual behavior. Mistaking one for the other, she says, leads to dishonesty and dissatisfaction.
"You can behave genitally whether you feel sexual or not," Shaw notes. "Women and men can fake it. Lots of men get an erection, penetrate, and lose the erection and pretend they have had an orgasm because they want to be perfect. They don't say, 'Hey, I didn't have an orgasm but maybe next time. Being near you is enough.'"
In her practice, Shaw finds that physical problems don't lie at the heart of most men's sexual problems.
"Actually, it is psychological distress associated with not measuring up rather than physiological problems that causes most sexual dissatisfaction," Shaw says. "For many, many men -- maybe most -- problems with sex are due to ignorance, anxiety, and inability to communicate with their partners. I think sexual dysfunction is the inevitable result of the effort to attain perfection."
SOURCES: Gerald Brock, MD, associate professor, St. Joseph's
Health Center, London, Ontario, Canada. Chad Ritenour, MD, professor of
urology, Emory University, Atlanta. Jeanne Shaw, PhD, clinical psychologist;
certified sex therapist, private practice, Atlanta.