Healthy Living

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction results from a number of factors. The factors can be physically, mentally or emotionally related. It is a condition that can result in anxiety and stress, since it can affect personal relationships. It is therefore important to understand why it may be occurring.

Listed below are various causes of ED:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Low levels of testosterone
  • Psychological factors
  • Some types of medication
  • Aging

Some of these factors cause erectile dysfunction directly while others are a result of other health problems.


Smoking causes health conditions such as atherosclerosis which can lead to erection difficulties. When the functioning of the heart is affected because of smoking, blood pumping issues also arise, and this may prevent enough blood from flowing into the penile blood vessels that generate an erection.

Heavy Alcohol Intake

Excessive consumption of alcohol causes extreme damage to your body. It can lead to the shrinking of testicles, as well as damaging the nervous system and causing liver cirrhosis. These are problems that can contribute to erectile functionality issues.


This condition occurs when there are high cholesterol levels in the body and fat is being deposited on the wall lining of your blood vessels. This narrows them, reducing the volume of blood flowing through them. When blood vessels of the penis are affected by this condition, ED issues set in.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetic people have been found to have higher risks of developing ED. This is because diabetes mellitus makes them prone to conditions such as atherosclerosis, which hinders sufficient blood flow to the penis. This interferes with your ability to generate an erection. This condition can also harm the sensory and autonomic nerves causing erectile dysfunction.

Low Levels of Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone in men that generates libido (sex drive) and also maintains sufficient levels of nitric oxide - an important element in an erection. When produced in low quantities, the sex drive is inhibited and nitric oxide levels also diminish - resulting in erectile problems.

Psychological Factors

Some of these factors include depression, stress, low self-esteem, performance anxiety, guilt and post-traumatic stress. When any of them sets in, you may find yourself having erection problems during sexual intercourse.


There are a number of drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. This is mainly seen in medicines such as antihistamines, antidepressants and those used to treat high blood pressure.


Older men host higher chances of having ED than younger men. This is because they are highly likely to have other disorders associated with erectile dysfunction such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension or diabetes mellitus.

Other causes can include drug and substance abuse, as well as poor lifestyle choices that can cause conditions such as diabetes mellitus. Injury to the penis also causes ED if the nerves have been harmed.

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

Watching porn actually increases the level of dopamine in your brain. If you watch porn too much, the receptors in your brain become desensitized to watching porn, as well as participating in sexual activity. You might need to watch more porn and more graphic porn in order to get an erection, and it will also become more difficult to get an erection to participate in real life physical activity.


Many men who are confident about their sexual approaches use porn films positively in their lives for enhanced pleasure. However, men who are conservative in their relationship, who are not confident about themselves, or have some kind of stigma related to sex may experience erectile dysfunction symptoms from watching porn.

Some men, based on what they see in porn videos, set unrealistic expectations in real life related to their partner and how their ideal sex life should be. When the reality doesn’t meet their fantasies, it makes it difficult for men to engage themselves in sexual activity. Sometimes, men also develop self-confidence issues from watching porn if they think they cannot perform like the men they see on screen. This can lead to anxiety and frustration, causing erectile dysfunction.

The Bottom Line

Erectile dysfunction is a problem that can cause relationship problems, but it can also be a sign of another underlying health problem. It occurs even in healthy men, but if it persists, seeing a doctor immediately is recommended.

Key Takeaways