Impotence is a sensitive topic for men and women, however it affects a relatively significant portion of the population. In men, impotence is characterized as the inability to achieve and sustain an erection that is suitable for sexual intercourse. In women, it is characterized by an inability to become aroused. If either of these conditions occurs more than 50% of the time, a person is considered to be suffering from a disorder. In men, this disorder is called erectile dysfunction (ED) and in women it is referred to as female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
There are many reasons why a person may suffer from a sexual disorder. In men, the ability to develop and sustain an erection relies on three basic factors:
- Properly functioning nerves in the penis.
- Adequate blood circulation in the penis.
- Stimulus from the brain.
If any of these three factors are not present, impotence may occur in men. In women, sexual function requires:
- General physical health.
- Lack of inhibitive psychological conditions.
There are external factors that can interfere with men’s and women’s ability to perform sexually. These factors can include:
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and kidney disease
- Fluctuations in hormones
- Psychological conditions such as depression, stress or anxiety
- Smoking, drinking or using recreational drugs
- Lack of exercise
Though some age groups may experience sexual dysfunction more frequently than others, it is not considered normal at any age. In men, approximately 5% of 40-year olds experience sexual dysfunction, while 15-25% of men ages 65 and older are affected. Over all ages, 42% of women are affected by sexual dysfunction, in part as a result of the wide variety of causes that can bring it about.
Sexual dysfunction does not have to inhibit a person’s ability to enjoy sex. There are many impotence products available to help both men and women become and sustain arousal throughout sexual intercourse. Vacuum therapy has become an effective and regularly prescribed method for men and women to help themselves overcome varying levels of sexual dysfunction.
Vacuum Erection Devices (VED): A vacuum erection device, also known as a penis pump, helps to bring a man to erection by creating a negative pressure around the penis. This helps to encourage blood circulation in the penis, thereby making it erect. Since the method for achieving an erection is natural, penis pumps do not typically require a prescription for use. Vacuum erection devices have the added benefit of being a non-invasive procedure, requiring no introduction of chemicals into the body and no surgery and therefore no known harmful side effects.
There are two basic types of penis pumps: manual and electric. Both devices employ a long, cylindrical tube in which to place the penis. Manual devices use a hand pump to create a vacuum while electronic devices use a small, battery-operating motor to do so.
The Timm Osbon line of penis pumps has been recognized for their effectiveness and quality of construction. Its ErecAid Classic manually operated device features patented pressure-point tension rings and specially formulated lubricant, both of which have proven to be effective in stimulating erections in 90% of users.
The Timm Osbon ErecAid Esteem is a battery-operated device employing the same features as the manual devices and delivers the same level of effectiveness, but operates compactly with the aid of a small motor. The ErecAid Esteem model costs a bit more than the manual version, however it is often prescribed due to its ease and speed of use.
Medication: Hormone therapy, injections, suppositories and oral medications have become popular methods of counteracting impotency and erectile dysfunction. Each method provides different benefits and risks depending on the condition of the patient, and should only be used according to direction. The type and duration of an erection can differ from method to method, with some lasting for 30 minutes while others last for hours. While medications are most often prescribed to males, researchers have been experimenting with the use of the same types of medications to help females overcome sexual dysfunction as well.
Counseling: Sex therapy can be a more natural, internal way for men and women to seek relief from sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy is intended to be a short-term type of counseling, consisting of 5-20 sessions with a sex therapist. Sessions usually take place once per week for about an hour, and cover a variety of topics, such as:
- Literature and media about sex and sexuality.
- Learning exercises around touching that are pleasurable but take the pressure off of performance.
- Practicing ways to improve communication around sex.
Sex therapy is effective for men and women who are able to become aroused naturally, but feel inhibited or experience psychological interference such as stress or anxiety. It works best with couples where both members are participating.
Lifestyle Changes: Sometimes, all that is needed to treat sexual dysfunction is to improve an individual’s lifestyle. Having a healthy body and mind is one of the basic premises of having a healthy sex life, and some of the following steps can help a person to achieve both:
- Quit Smoking – If you smoke, talk to your doctor about gradual yet, effective ways to quit for good.
- Regular Exercise –: Regular exercise is good for the entire body as it burns fat, improves sleep, builds energy, strengthens the heart and builds muscle. All of these things can improve overall health and effectively minimize sexual dysfunction.
- Reduce Stress – Stress takes a toll on the body and the mind which, in turn, can lead to sexual dysfunction. Find ways to unwind and strike a balance in your life by staying healthy and keeping a good attitude.