It's happened to a lot of guys at least once. You're busy in bed with a woman - or a man - and suddenly the little admiral fails to salute. How embarrassing.
The other party will tell you it's okay, not to worry - but, gee, it smarts.
Still, freaking out is the worst possible response. Fact is, there are lots of ways for dudes to get their mojo back - just takes a little strategizing.
What the experts say
"In young guys erectile dysfunction is often anxiety-driven; in older ones the problem might be chronic tiredness. Sometimes it's related to bad sex technique, being intercourse-driven. Men have to develop other skills so they're not thinking about whether they're hard. Acupuncture is calming, and cinnamon brings heat from the heart to warm the kidney yang. Heat in the heart is anxiety, and kidney yang the sexual performance function. Too bad guys are stupid and stubborn and won't see someone; I have yet to treat a patient who hasn't been helped by acupuncture or herbs."
KALEB MONTGOMERY, Chinese medicine practitioner, Toronto
"Korean or American ginseng is often used, as is eleuthero root, or Siberian ginseng. These are adaptogenic restorative tonics. Ginkgo biloba works on peripheral vasodilation. Studies have supported the use of muira puama bark as a hormonal balancer, an aphrodisiac and male tonic for erectile dysfunction. Damiana is a good genito-urinary tract herb that has a history of use as an aphrodisiac and works for ED. They could all be taken as a tea. We always recommend zinc, which is good for the male reproductive system, and foods high in zinc like oysters."
CELINA AINSWORTH, the Herbal Clinic and Dispensary, Toronto
"If it's a persistent problem, check it out with a doctor. Smoking can be an issue. If you're overweight and your arteries are blocked, it can be the first sign of heart disease. Depression is a common factor, as are anxiety and relationship difficulties. Men who are addicted to porn might be fine when masturbating but can have trouble with intimate relationships. Porn can change the sexual template. Cognitive behavioural therapy or relaxation exercises might help. Take the emphasis off performance. Don't have sex, but engage in touching exercises. Get a prescription, have a few positive experiences, then try it without the medication."
MARGARET HICKS, couples therapist, Toronto
"The main cause of ED is venous leakage, leaky vein valves in the penis. The second is psychological factors. Less common are diabetes or low testosterone. If you're overweight, fat tissue converts testosterone into estrogen. A fourth cause is arteriosclerosis. Treatment depends on the cause. Among drugs, the most common are the phosphodiesterase inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. For patients who have tried those without success, the next option is intra-penile injections, which work independently of arousal and lead to more blood flow to the penis. It's more cost-effective than the $16-a-pill price of drugs. We sometimes refer patients for counselling or sex therapy."
CAMERON INCH, staff physician, Canadian Men's Clinic, Toronto
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