Why Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men is on the Rise

Written by: Andrés Suro



Time to read 6 min

Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

In recent years, there has been a concerning increase in cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) among young men. A recent study from Harvard University published in 2023 revealed that approximately 26% of men under 40 experience some degree of erectile dysfunction, a significant rise compared to previous decades.

Experts point to multiple lifestyle and psychological factors contributing to this phenomenon. Among them, stress, pressure to perform sexually, and unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption.

But what has marked a before and after in how young people experience sexuality is the influence of digital media, which has changed the expectations and perceptions young people have about sexuality. Constant exposure to sexualized images and easy access to adult content distort reality, creating unrealistic expectations that many young people find difficult to meet in their personal relationships. But before we talk about the severity of this matter, we must answer the most basic question:

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction, commonly known as impotence, is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient to carry out satisfactory sexual activity. Traditionally, it has been associated with physical health factors such as cardiovascular problems or diabetes, however, psychological components such as performance anxiety or stress are increasingly recognized.

young man watching porn in his computer on his bed

Psychological Factors: Stress and Anxiety in ED

Stress and anxiety are significant factors in achieving and maintaining an erection. Work-related stress, in particular, is one of the leading causes. The pressure to meet expectations both at work and in personal life directly impacts sexual relationships.

While it's not always the case, it is most common to experience a loss of sexual desire during peak stress periods. This is because the body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which significantly reduce libido.

On the other hand, some people may find stress relief in sex and therefore engage in more sexual activity during times of high anxiety. Reactions can vary depending on factors like personality, context, and coping strategies.

Lifestyle and Poor Habits

Lifestyle and personal habits play a crucial role in sexual health too. Excessive consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs is closely linked to erectile dysfunction. According to the World Health Organization (2023), 30% of ED cases in young men are associated with substance abuse. These substances can damage nerves and blood vessels, which are essential for a healthy erection.

Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise contribute to circulation problems and weight gain, both of which are risk factors for ED. Diet is also fundamental -a diet high in fats and low in essential nutrients can negatively affect erectile function.

Medical and Physiological Factors

Various medical conditions can contribute to erectile dysfunction in young men. Cardiovascular issues, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are particularly relevant. According to a 2024 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20% of young men with ED have a history of cardiovascular problems. These diseases can damage blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve an erection.

Another recent factor that has increased cardiovascular problems is COVID-19. It has been shown that the virus can have long-term effects, such as heart inflammation (myocarditis), clot formation, and blood vessel damage. These effects can lead to severe issues like heart attacks and strokes.

Additionally, hormonal imbalances, such as low testosterone levels and thyroid disorders, can also affect erectile function. Recent studies suggest that up to 15% of young men with ED have low testosterone levels, highlighting the need for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How Pornography Affects Erectile Dysfunction

Porn-induced erectile dysfunction is an increasingly discussed topic in studies on sexual problems in young people. Unlimited access to pornographic material leads many young people to overstimulation, which paradoxically results in a decreased response capacity during actual sexual encounters.

This type of erectile dysfunction, unlike that caused by other reasons, such as medical issues (diabetes, cardiovascular problems...), is characterized by dependence on intense visual stimuli to achieve and maintain an erection, which ultimately diminishes sensitivity to more realistic stimuli.

The brain, accustomed to the high level of excitement that porn offers, fails to respond as easily under less stimulating conditions, leading to episodes of erectile dysfunction. Additionally, constant consumption of porn can lead to a distortion in the perception of normal sexuality, affecting interaction with the partner and the sexual experience as a whole.

Consequences of Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

The repercussions of erectile dysfunction in young men transcend beyond the sexual sphere, profoundly impacting various aspects of personal and social life. One of the most significant effects, as we have already mentioned, is the loss of self-esteem and self-confidence. Many young men often express feeling less masculine or inadequate when facing erection problems, which often leads to a state of anxiety or depression.

As a consequence, we see how more and more young men turn to drugs to avoid having erection losses when going out partying or on a date. On the other hand, many of those who have a partner comment that erectile dysfunction increases tensions and conflicts in their relationships, causing conflicts and emotional distancing.

a young asian man sad after arguing with his boyfriend, who is in the back

Ultimately, the fear of sexual failure increases the likelihood that young men will avoid intimate relationships, which in turn affects their ability to establish lasting romantic relationships. These problems, if not properly addressed, can affect the quality of life and the emotional and relational development of the individual in the long term. But is there something we can do?

What Can We Do? Solutions for Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

After what we have discussed, the landscape might seem rather pessimistic. But do not be swayed by the feeling of defeat and hopelessness. There are several ways to combat erectile dysfunction, and facing it requires an approach that takes into account both medical and psychological issues (and, of course, lifestyle). So, the first thing to do is see a health professional to rule out or treat any underlying medical condition.

If there is nothing to worry about physically, it's time to address the psychological reasons. Generally, the younger a person with erectile dysfunction is, the more likely it is that the cause of their dysfunction is due to this more mental-related typology. Therefore, psychological therapy is often quite effective as the primary option to address it, especially to work on anxiety and self-image issues that may be contributing to the dysfunction.

Lifestyle change is another fundamental pillar. This includes improving the diet, increasing physical activity, reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, and establishing a healthy sleep routine. Sexual education that promotes a realistic and healthy view of sexuality is also crucial to counteract the negative effects of the distortion caused by excessive consumption of pornography.

a young man running on a road

Improve the Quality of Erections with MYHIXEL Ring

MYHIXEL Ring is a penile ring that improves the quality of erections naturally and without side effects. Its main features include:

  • One Size Fits All: MYHIXEL Ring can be used regardless of penis size. This design provides a firm fit that helps maintain an erection while ensuring comfort.

  • Ergonomic Design: It fits perfectly around the penis, allowing for prolonged use without discomfort. It should not be used for more than 30 minutes to avoid potential discomfort or circulatory issues.

  • High-Quality Materials: Made from medical-grade silicone, the ring is hypoallergenic and safe for the skin, minimizing the risk of irritation.

  • Easy to Use: It is easy to put on and take off, suitable for daily use. Its intuitive design makes it accessible even for those unfamiliar with this type of device.

  • Proven Effectiveness: Users report higher satisfaction with their intimate life and significant improvements in their sexual performance.

Forecast: Where Are We Heading?

The increase in erectile dysfunction in young men is a phenomenon that concerns not only the medical community but also society at large. As more young men acknowledge having erection problems, it is essential to address the underlying causes and offer concrete and accessible solutions.

In this sense, this increase highlights the need for greater sexual education in schools and a clearer discussion about sexual problems and easy access to explicit content platforms. As men, it's time for us to understand and destigmatize erectile dysfunction to promote a proactive approach to full and integral sexual health

Andrés Suro

Author: Andrés Suro  (Sexual Coach at MYHIXEL)

Psychologist specialized in the social area and expert in sexology applied to education.