Erectile Dysfunction and Masturbation

 

Erectile dysfunction (ED) means you can’t get or keep an erection that’s firm enough to have sex. But you may still be able to masturbate. It depends in part on what’s causing your ED.

For most men, ED is caused by health problems such as heart disease, depression, insomnia, and diabetes, or the medications that treat them. These conditions make it tough to get an erection in any circumstance, including masturbation.

For some, ED is related to performance anxiety, relationship problems, or stress. This can make it hard to get aroused enough with a partner. But you might be able to keep an erection if you masturbate.

Does Masturbation Ever Cause ED?

You might have heard this, but it’s a myth. Masturbation is normal and won't cause problems when you have sex with a partner.

Can masturbation help treat ED? Or prevent it? There’s not much evidence that any sexual activity can keep you from getting the condition. But masturbation can play a role in helping with ED that’s caused by stress, anxiety, or another psychological issue. If you’re able to perform sexually, even with masturbation, you may feel more confident that you can get and keep an erection during sex with a partner.

Masturbation With ED Treatment

If you try counseling or sex therapy to treat your ED, your therapist may suggest that you try masturbation or other forms of touching at home on your own or with a partner. Therapy can also teach you other ways to take the stress out of sex, communicate with partners, and find more sexual stimulation.

Other ED treatments, including medications, vacuum erection devices, and penile implants, can help you get a healthy erection for sex with a partner or for masturbation.

ED isn’t easy for many men to talk about. But sex, whether through masturbation or with a partner, is a part of a healthy life. The sooner you can discuss erection problems with a doctor and start exploring treatments, the sooner you may be enjoying a more satisfying sex life.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on September 22, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Erectile Dysfunction (ED).”

Columbia University Medical Center: “Erectile Dysfunction ED.”

Translational Andrology and Urology: “Erectile dysfunction in fit and healthy young men: psychological or pathological.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction.”

International Society for Sexual Medicine: “Does masturbation cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?”

University of California, Santa Barbara: “Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.”

Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Science: “Effectiveness of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) and tadalfil (Cialis) on sexual response in Saudi men with erectile dysfunction in routine clinical practice.”

Cornell University: "Sensate focus." 

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