“You know, Doc, there are times when I lose my erection…just like that. It happens when I’m really stressed out. It’s like the penis has ears or something!” Say it aint so! Can the penis really “hear” stress and go flat because of it?
The Good Wood
This reminds me of another scenario in which the penis is often accused of having extrasensory perception. Take a couple in a long term, stable relationship. One night, after a particularly stressful day at work, the guy has trouble keeping the wood up. His partner, appearing concerned with this new experience, asks, “Do you still love me?” Erection falls, pronto. It’s not about love, baby, it’s about that lost business deal. An erection is not the best flagpole for love.
Wood That Could
So, when should you worry about erections that fail? In my practice, I ask men a very simple question: Is it possible, at any time, in any place and in any position, for you to get a normal erection, without the help of pills or sex aids? If the answer is yes, then I know that the system works and is physiologically intact, making organic erectile dysfunction highly unlikely. In this case, stress is the most common culprit of failed wood.
Wood with Heart
If the answer is no, my concern for an underlying medical cause for erectile dysfunction is peaked and I pursue a comprehensive medical evaluation that assesses cardiovascular, metabolic, hormonal, lifestyle and drug-related risk. In other words, I do the classic doctor thing, because I know that a reproducibly dense ED problem can be the canary in the coalmine for general health issues.
What’s up with stress and ED, you ask? You’re not stressed, right? Well Captain, understand here and now that stress comes in many forms you may not realize, including financial, emotional and physical. Whether it’s the 300,000 mile traveller in a constant state of jet lag, or the start up CEO working all hours trying to make ends meet, its all the same. Our Neolithic body’s response to stress is identical to that of a caveman running from a woolly mammoth: fight or flight, exactly the wrong nervous system for good wood.
So, if you think the penis has ears, you’re right. Although you may think that it has a mind of its own, don’t forget that it is connected to a body. So forgive yourself… and then think about some serious stress reduction to keep the good wood going. For most men, this takes the form of exercise, acupuncture, massage, yoga, and good old-fashioned sleep. Treat your body like a temple to keep the temple standing tall.