What you need to know:
- It is impossible to know the cause of erectile dysfunction unless one undergoes a thorough evaluation.
I must confess right from the start that I have zero knowledge of witchcraft or any other African metaphysical force that can make a man go flat.
I made this clear when I met Jared recently. He had come to the Sexology Clinic with complaints of inability to have an erection for six months.
“This problem started when I separated with my wife one year ago and has progressed to complete failure to erect,” Jared lamented, “I now realise what my estranged wife meant when she said that I would never have peace for the rest of my life unless I returned to her.”
Jared, now 52 years old, was in a new relationship. He got married to his long-time clandestine girlfriend, Rita, three months after separating from his wife of 25 years. The reason for the separation, in his own words, was “irreconcilable differences”.
“In fact, it is those irreconcilable differences that drove me to having an affair with Rita,” he explained. As fate would have it, however, he was unable to have sex with Rita. The erection failed.
“We have tried all manner of maneuvers, foods and even the blue pill with no success,” Jared said, desperation painted all over his face, “this can only be witchcraft,” he said with finality.
I nodded with understanding, knowing that a man’s genital response and sexual prowess is a non-negotiable source of motivation to continue living.
Erectile dysfunction is a stressful experience that totally changes a man’s view of life.
It is an experience that ultimately affects decisions on investment, adherence to religion, career ambitions, and anything else that gives life meaning and purpose. It is therefore to be taken seriously.
There three causes of erection failure that every man and woman should know. The three are normally summarised under the acronym “bio-psycho-social”.
The longer form of these are biological, psychological and social causes of erectile dysfunction.
Biological causes are the diseases that make a man not have an erection.
Erections are basically accumulations of blood in the penis. A number of nerve impulses modulated by chemicals and hormones cause the blood to flow and remain in the penis and this is seen as an erection.
There are many biological problems that affect nerves, blood vessels and hormones and which make a man go flat.
Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and a host of others destroy the nerves and blood vessels and cause erection failure.
Derangements in hormones such as testosterone, prolactin, and thyroid hormones together with other chemicals that mediate their actions ultimately affect the erection process.
Nerve, blood vessel, hormones and other chemical troubles can be congenital, but commonly, they come with age and lifestyle.
Sedentary lifestyles coupled with poor eating habits and unhealthy foods lead to inappropriate body weight while triggering a number of changes in the body that finally manifest as erection failure.
Biological causes aside, it is important to know that the brain is the biggest sexual organ.
In addition to having a role in biological process, its bigger role is in the psychological causes of erection failure.
The brain is powerful and packed with religious and cultural norms stacked in the subconscious.
Life stresses and worries the subconscious bank and effectively shut off sexual function when not managed appropriately.
Psychological wellness is therefore key to success in sexual activities.
The third cause of erectile dysfunction is social. This starts with the nature of sexual relationships that one has, whether it is one or many.
It further moves to issues around beliefs and values and how sexual actions take these into account.
Where beliefs and social values do not match sexual actions, the experience translates into psychological torture that subconsciously shuts off erections.
Social issues extend to the type of relationships we have and how we manage them.
Your friends, relatives, mentors and acquaintances all have a bearing on your world view of sex and ultimately on what excites you sexually or otherwise.
Relationships also come with a code that your social milieu has accepted so that behaviours such as enjoyment of alcohol and/or drugs, adherence to religion, decisions on number of partners, etc, are fully socially constructed, and you as a member of the social group has to conform.
In other words, you are basically what your social network is. Belief in witchcraft as a cause of erection failure, for example, is based on the worldview of your social network.
“I am now more confused,” Jared interjected, “what, in your opinion, is making me not have an erection?”
It is impossible to know the cause of erectile dysfunction unless one undergoes a thorough evaluation of the biological, psychological and social factors that are known to cause the problem.
Erectile dysfunction should be seen more as a symptom rather than the main problem since there is always a background issue to it.
Jared asked for time to reflect on his problem before the medical evaluation.
I could feel his predicament, especially because I could not offer advise on issues witchcraft which he viewed as a cause of erection failure.