Erectile dysfunction formerly called impotence is more common in men older than 65, but it can occur at any age. An occasional episode of erectile dysfunction happens to most men and is normal. As men age, it's also normal to experience changes in erectile function. Erections may take longer to develop, may not be as rigid or may require more direct stimulation to be achieved. Men may also notice that orgasms are less intense, the volume of ejaculate is reduced and recovery time increases between erections.
When erectile dysfunction proves to be a pattern or a persistent problem, it can interfere with a man's self-image as well as his and his partner's sexual life. Erectile dysfunction may also be a sign of a physical or emotional problem that requires treatment.
Erection problems usually produce a significant psychological and emotional reaction in most men. This is often described as a pattern of anxiety and stress that can further interfere with normal sexual function. This "performance anxiety" needs to be recognized and addressed by your doctor.
For some men, erectile dysfunction develops with age or may be related to depression or another psychological cause, such as widower syndrome.
Certain feelings can interfere with normal sexual function, including feeling nervous about or self-conscious about sex; feeling stressed either at home or at work; or feeling troubled in your current relationship. In these cases, psychological counseling with you and your sexual partner may be successful. One episode of failure, regardless of cause, may propagate further psychological distress leading to further erectile failure.