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In your twenties and can’t get it up? You are not alone!

Erectile dysfunction affects more young men than you think — but the good news is it is completely treatable.

Are you a young, energetic man but find it quite tough to have and maintain an erection? If yes, don't fret because you are not alone! Most people often think of erectile dysfunction as a problem for older men, but that’s not true! If you didn't know, erectile dysfunction affects young people equally — in fact, most patients I see for erectile dysfunction are actually men in their 20s and 30s.

Many patients with erectile dysfunction often suffer a dip in not just their feelings of security as a man but their relationships with their partners as well. But know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel — as I have mentioned, ED cases are more common than you think; they affect both the young and old in equal measure. It is estimated that nearly half of all men aged between 40 and 70 years suffer from erectile dysfunction to some degree.

But, what exactly is erectile dysfunction?

In simple terms, erectile dysfunction refers to a man's inability to have and sustain an erection that is sufficient to achieve either penetration or orgasm.

As a man, you may feel frustrated about not being able to achieve and sustain an erection that is also good enough. On most occasions, the reality is that if you have had a stressful day, or you are generally tired or feeling anxious, it can be quite tough to convince your member to get up!

Most times, erectile dysfunction affects not just the patient but the partner as well. Your partner may start to worry and have thoughts like, “Am I not attractive enough? Could he possibly be having an affair?” Such negative allegations can damage your overall health and relationship at large. I’ve even come across instances where the partner raises concerns about an addiction to pornography — which, by the way, can contribute to the inability to get an erection in real life.

While erection problems can sometimes be a difficult issue to discuss with your partner, it is necessary to talk about it as open discourse can often be the best way of finding the underlying cause of your problem and resolving it. Of course, if you are having persisting difficulty with erections, or have had issues for longer than three months, you should speak to your doctor!

So, is erectile dysfunction getting more prevalent in younger men?

As earlier explained, erectile dysfunction is usually viewed as an issue for fairly older men. However, due to the rise of health issues like high blood pressure, stress and type 2 diabetes in younger men, it has become very common for younger people aged 17-30 to experience erection issues. What people also don’t know is that younger males are actually highly susceptible to erection issues. Due to the stigma and embarrassment surrounding sexual problems, many cases often go undetected. As a result, many men in the above age bracket suffer in silence!

According to a recent study, it was established that 50% of men in their 30s currently struggle with erectile dysfunction problems. What's more, nearly half of these men lamented that stress from their work as well as personal life was the main culprit. This goes to show that at least among younger males, the causes of erectile dysfunction are less likely physical.

Is erectile dysfunction treatable?

Regardless of the cause of your erectile dysfunction problems, the good news is that there are various treatment options for this particular condition. Apart from the typical oral medications and having to time the consumption of these medications, there is another effective treatment option: shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy is one of the numerous treatment options for erectile dysfunction. While it is a relatively new treatment, the science behind this fantastic pill-free treatment has been supported by numerous clinical studies and has shown positive results!

The bottom line

Today, erectile dysfunction is arguably the most common male sexual health condition. ED can be caused by a number of factors from underlying medical conditions to chronic illness and psychological problems. Regardless of the cause of your erectile problem, the good news is that most cases of ED are curable.

Occasionally having issues getting and maintaining an erection isn't always a cause for alarm. As already explained, many men, —both young and old— experience erection problems at some point in their lives. So if you are currently having trouble getting your member up, just know that you are not alone. 


  1. Shamloul, R., & Ghanem, H. (2013). Erectile dysfunction. Lancet (London, England), 381(9861), 153–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60520-0
  2. Nguyen, H., Gabrielson, A. T., & Hellstrom, W. (2017). Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men-A Review of the Prevalence and Risk Factors. Sexual medicine reviews, 5(4), 508–520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2017.05.004

This article was written and medically reviewed by Dr Ben, M.D on 13/05/2021

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