When I started my first site back in 2009 I was surprised how often I was contacted by twenty and thirty somethings complaining of ED.
Erectile dysfunction didn’t hit me until I was around 40, so it just didn’t make sense. Until I started digging deeper, that is.
And after a while, I finally figured out that two Very Specific things had changed since I was in my 30’s….
The first is access to pornography.
It used to be you had to make an embarrassing trip to the video store, head into the back room to pick your poison, then walk out to the cashier in front of everyone and check out.
That right there was enough to stop most people.
But even if you could muster up the nerve to do this, to watch the porn you had to load it into your VCR or DVD player and watch it on a TV, which in most cases, sat right in the living room.
So unless you lived alone and had a big stash of porn vids, this was not a normal daily occurrence.
Now juxtapose that situation with what’s possible today, where you can have access to 100 warehouses full of porn videos, anywhere or anytime….as long as you have access to a phone or a computer.
This explains why pornography addiction is the number one cause of ED in men in their 20s and 30s (by far).
The number two cause goes by the name of Propecia, otherwise known as Finasteride, the hair loss drug that torches erections like nothing else out there.
Finasteride was originally approved for hair loss in 1997, right around the time the internet started to take off, and this is a young mans drug, no doubt about it.
Sure, the prostate version of finasteride, Proscar, is used more often used by older men, but this drug doesn’t work nearly as well for hair loss in older guys.
If you check out any of the Propecia sexual side effect forums, you’ll quickly see that most of the members are in their 20’s and 30’s.
And to make matters worse….
Since a large majority of these men have a hard time maintaing erections, many turn to pornography for sexual satisfaction, which takes an already ugly situation and makes it much worse.
If you’re not using hair loss drugs and you don’t have a problem with pornography, there are a few more less common causes of ED in younger men, which site contributor David Janes discusses below.
Erectile dysfunction isn’t just an old man’s disease. It’s a condition that can happen to any man.
Some of the causes of ED in men in their 20s and 30s are the same as for older men, but some factors that can cause ED are especially likely and prominent in young men.
And ED isn’t just an isolated problem that happens to a few men in their 20s and 30s. Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2013 found that a quarter of men seeking medical help for new ED problems – that’s one in four – are under 40.
And half of those have severe erectile dysfunction, not just an occasional problem getting it up (source).
The research found that younger men “differed from older individuals in terms of both clinical and sociodemographic parameters”. Yet little research has been done on younger men.
Still, some things are known to cause and worsen ED problems in young men.
Young men are more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs than older men, making these substances more likely to be contributing factors for erectile dysfunction in men in their 20s and 30s.
Alcohol and drugs interact negatively with sexuality for men in many ways. These include:
• Reduced sexual desire
• Reduced ability to get aroused, and
• Inability to have an orgasm.
Many guys who drink or use drugs know these things to be true, and research has proven the link. Still, lots of men perceive alcohol and drugs as aphrodisiacs for some reason.
But that’s simply not the case when the substances are used to excess.
A 2009 study of men with an average age in their 30s, for example, found that illicit drug users were prone to more frequent erectile dysfunction, lower sexual desire and greater ejaculation latency.
ED and a reduction in sexual desire were especially common with those who take heroin, amphetamines and MDMA (source).
Smoking has been shown to cause ED because it constricts blood vessels, causes cardiovascular and respiratory problems and more. Those facts aren’t in dispute.
Yet an alarming number of young men smoke because they think it’s necessary to fit into the club or music scene – or simply because their friends do.
In fact, cigarette smoking on college campuses is at epidemic levels in some places.
And worse, some guys who smoke occasionally but not all the time don’t see themselves as smokers, meaning they aren’t impacted by anti-smoking education because they think it doesn’t apply to them.
Smoking bans in many cities have helped curb an uptick in young men smoking, but electronic cigarette use has increased.
E-cigs contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals and they may have the same ED-causing effect as the real thing, although the this link hasn’t been clearly established yet.
For guys who want to get hard at any age, it makes sense to kick the smoking habit – even if you don’t perceive it as a habit. A lot of older guys trying to get back lost sexual function have learned a hard lesson about what smoking can do to your sexual health.
Young men are more likely to experience premature ejaculation, another type of sexual dysfunction. Young guys are often eager and can ejaculate quickly, but coming too quickly is a condition that can create havoc emotionally and psychologically.
Frequently having premature ejaculations can make you apprehensive and not able to get hard, a condition called psychological ED.
In fact, premature ejaculation is often seen as a young man’s condition because it may improve with age.
But a 2006 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that about 30 percent of men across all ages have PE (source).
If PE is a problem for you, bring it under control with natural remedies, strengthening and maintaining exercises, delay tactics and other proven techniques.
Many men resign themselves to being bald by the time they’re in their 40s, 50s or older, but some men in their 20s and 30s use hair loss drugs like Propecia to maintain a youthful look.
But did you know that the drug you take to keep hair on your head could contribute to erectile dysfunction?
And here’s the worst part: the sexual side effects of Propecia can continue for years after you stop using it.
In April 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the warning label on products containing the hair loss drug finasteride – marketed as Propecia – to include a warning about long-lasting sexual side effects including issues with libido, ejaculation and orgasm.
Clinical studies are underway now, but one study has already shown that men who have sexual side effects from Propecia for three months or more continue to have them for many months or years after stopping (source).
Unfortunately, exactly why this happens isn’t completely understood.
It’s a fact that young men are more likely to abuse pornography than older men who already have plenty of pictures in their heads of what gets them off.
A study involving an astounding 28,000 Italian men (published only in Italian, unfortunately) found that when men had prolonged exposure to pornography over their formative and early adult years, they often developed a condition called “sexual anorexia” – a damaged or even non-existent desire for sex that impacts their ability to have a healthy sex life with a partner.
If you like your porno, at least consider reducing how much you rely on it. Using up all your sexual energy while you’re by yourself is sure to negatively impact your sex with partners.
And there’s evidence that over time you become desensitized because of all that solo sex and eventually can’t get up for anything real or imagined.
An erection is a very complex process that involves your brain as well as many nerves, hormones, muscles and bodily systems – and everything has to be carefully balanced for you to be able to get and maintain an erection and use it for its intended purpose.
The good news is this: many causes of ED in your 20s and 30s can be eliminated by lifestyle changes and overcome with exercises, ED supplements and other simple fixes.
You deserve massive and long-lasting erections, so put aside drugs, alcohol, smoking and hair loss drugs and take action to control premature ejaculation and your use or pornography. These things will make a real difference for you.
While there are lots of guys with ED in their 20s and 30s, many of them can find solutions that will put them back in the game.
Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.