If you have problems getting or maintaining an erection, you may be
experiencing what is known as erectile dysfunction (ED). This is a very
common issue, affecting about 1 in every 3 New Zealand men between
the ages 40-70.1 It is not exclusively a middle-age issue, and can affect
men at any age.2

As men get older, it becomes more likely that they will encounter erection
issues.3 It can be distressing. However, it is not an uncommon occurrence
and there are possible solutions. Research shows that when men can
maintain an erection, the frequency of sex increases. Also, both the man
and his partner enjoy the sex more.4 Contact your GP to discuss what is
available to get you and your partner back to the more satisfying sex life
that you both deserve.


Erection difficulties can be caused by a number of different factors.
It may be psychological, where your thoughts and emotions hamper
your ability to get erect; physical, caused by issues going on outside
the brain, but still inside the body: your nerves, blood vessels,
hormones, or the anatomical structure of the penis; or even
a combination of both. Pre-existing health issues such as heart
disease and high blood pressure may also increase the chances
that you’ll experience erection difficulties. If you’ve had surgery for
prostate or bladder cancer, this too may cause erection issues as it
often involves removing sensitive tissue around the affected area.
Prescription medications, such as antidepressants and some heart
medications, can contribute to erection difficulties as well.3

It is best to have a chat with your GP about what factors may be getting
in the way of you and your partner regaining control of your sex life.

A major barrier to overcome is the stigma associated with erection problems,
highlighted by the fact that only 1 in 20 men with erection issues seek a solution.3
You should not feel embarrassed or ashamed, as up to 1 in every 3 men aged
40 or over might face similar difficulties.1

Erection difficulties could potentially cause anxiety and depression. It can be a
vicious cycle, as medicines such as antidepressants can be a cause of ED problems
in the first place (antidepressant-associated ED).5 Other medications, including
those for blood pressure or prescription opioids may increase the chances of erectile
dysfunction.3 Talk with your doctor about any medications you’re taking and they will
work with you to understand how those medications impact on your ED problems so
a solution can be customised.

Your quality of life can be affected if you don’t feel confident about getting an erection
sufficient enough to have satisfactory sex with your partner.6 There are ways to
assess the effect that these issues may be having on your self-esteem and quality of
life.7 Your doctor can help you understand what factors might be restricting you and
your partner from enjoying a satisfying sex life that you both deserve, and provide
advice on any available treatments that might help.