How to get better erections
Reviewed by our clinical team - 22.9.22
Is your penis hard enough for sex? Do you still get morning glory? Do you even find it easy to get an erection in the first place? What is a normal erection anyway?
If the answer to any of the above is ‘not really’, you’re not alone. They're particularly common in men over 40. But whatever your age, most men will experience some kind of erectile dysfunction (ED) in their lifetime.
So, what is your erection trying to tell you? And how can you check it? Consider the following questions and see if there are lifestyle areas you could address to make your erection – and yourself – are little healthier.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the main causes of erectile dysfunction (this could be things like stress, alcohol, heart health or diabetes), steps you might be able to take to reduce your chances of experiencing it and also possible treatment options.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is simply the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have penetrative sex. It can be caused by physical and psychological factors. And since physical causes account for 8 out of 10 of all erectile dysfunction cases, it’s worth understanding you erection’s health.
Are erectile problems permanent?
If you experience erectile dysfunction occasionally, it might be something like stress, anxiety or even alcohol that’s causing it. But if it happens more often, there could be an underlying physical or mental health problem that’s the cause.
The good thing is often erectile problems aren’t permanent and can be easily treated.
How long can the average man stay erect?
The duration of an erection can depend on a variety of factors. It is often very hard to properly measure the length of time it takes to get to ejaculation for two reasons – often men tend to err on the side of overestimating time and it is rare that a couple time the start and finish of sex.
However a research paper has shown that the average (median technically) length of sex is 5.4 minutes, so this is likely to be the closest figure we have to average length of erection. In the survey it was found that times ranged for 33 seconds to 44 minutes!
Erections that occur overnight are estimated to last 25-35 minutes.
How many times does a man get erect in a day?
Most men will have multiple erections each day, as well as many more when they are asleep.
Possible causes of erectile dysfunction and how to help
There are lots of potential causes of ED as we’ve discussed already. These could be physical or psychological, so in this section we’ll take a quick look at the main causes and what you could do to help reduce your risks of experiencing ED.
Does smoking cause ED?
As several clinical studies have found – men who smoke increase their likelihood of developing erectile problems.
Smoking can contribute to the build-up of fat stores in the arteries (atherosclerosis) which can limit the flow of blood to the penis. The arteries surrounding the penis are particularly small, so it is essential they remain clear in order to achieve a healthy, strong erection.
Find out more about smoking and ED here.
Help your erection: Stop smoking.
Does being overweight cause ED
What you eat and whether you’re overweight has a direct impact on your erectile health.
Consuming a load of high-salt foods and saturated fats in great measure can lead to a whole host of health problems, from high blood pressure, to high cholesterol and weight gain. All of these risk factors increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems which will directly affect the blood flow reaching your penis.
Weight gain itself can trigger psychological problems, such as poor body image and low self-esteem, which themselves can contribute towards erectile problems.
Help your erection: Eat mindfully – balance your meals and your portion sizes.
Does alcohol effect ED?
Drinking alcohol can lead to temporary bouts of erectile dysfunction, although chronic abuse of alcohol could make this a more long-term problem.
Alcohol can make it difficult for the tissue surrounding your penis to relax, meaning your erection will receive a decreased blood flow.
Help your erection: Cut back on the alcohol.
Diabetes and ED
Up to 75% of men suffering from diabetes experience some form of erectile dysfunction.
Long-term uncontrolled blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves linked to erectile function. Men with diabetes commonly also suffer from chronic conditions linked to erectile dysfunction – namely high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
Whilst Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For good penile health, men who already suffer from diabetes should try to keep good control over blood sugar levels. Failing this, diabetics are still able to safely use erectile dysfunction medication, such as Levitra.
Help your erection: get a blood glucose test (OR monitor your blood glucose levels) and eat mindfully.
Exercise and ED
If you don’t already, you should seriously consider working some cardiovascular exercise into your weekly routine – for the sake of your penis if nothing else.
Cardiovascular exercise allows you to maintain good circulation and will reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions which can lead to erectile dysfunction, such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
You could also try exercises to help your pelvic floor like kegels.
Help your erection: go for a regular run, swim, or long walk.
Does stress cause ED?
Not all causes of erectile problems are physical.
Stress, depression and performance anxiety all have an effect on the health of your erection. Psychological causes tend to be more common in younger men.
Help your erection: Adopt strategies promoting good mental health and seek professional support.
Does certain medication or drugs cause ED?
Several medications can have the adverse side effect of erectile dysfunction.
Those using diuretics and high blood pressure medications to treat heart conditions may experience some erectile problems. The same is true for some antidepressants and painkillers.
Recreational drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and cannabis can also interfere with your erections by restricting blood flow and damaging blood vessels.
Help your erection: Talk to your GP to see if medication you’re on affects your erections and drop the illicit drug use.
Heart health and ED
As the centre of the cardiovascular system, your heart’s health should be your main priority.
Putting stress on your heart and the network of arteries it uses to send blood to your penis has a clear correlation with the health of your penis. Ignoring all of the above points on improving your lifestyle could seriously put you at risk of developing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease – all of which spell disaster for your erection.
Help your erection: Check your blood pressure regularly and address all of the above points.
How to get better erections
So based on everything we’ve discussed in this article, there a couple of simple steps you can try and take to improve your erection. From exercising more, to cutting back on alcohol, eating a more balanced diet to stopping smoking.
But it’s important to remember, if you do experience ED more often, you should get it checked out by a clinician, just to make sure there isn’t something else going on. They might simply prescribe you a medication or refer you for further tests.
Treatment for erectile dysfunction
If you do need treatment for ED, you can speak to your GP about this. Or you can use an online service like ours to get the treatment you need. We offer a wide range of treatments for the condition, and as our service is all online, we’re all about convenience and discretion.
You can go through our simple consultation online, and our clinicians will prescribe the most suitable treatment for you (if needed). Or if you know what you’d like you can select that and our clinicians will just make sure it’s safe.