Advertisements for drugs that promise to give bigger, better and harder erections and ‘cure’ erectile dysfunction (ED) run nonstop everywhere un-monitored. The sales of these medications generate massive amounts of money and most young men who watch these ads end up taking these pills without ever considering that they may not even have erectile dysfunction. A growing percentage of those taking these anti-ED drugs are men under 30, a population in which medical impotence is rare. At the Centre for Sexual and Mental Health, we see most patients who self-medicate themselves, with high doses usually based on lay advice from their peer group or the local chemist. While Viagra is effective for many, some men wonder whether they’ll see better results if they take higher and higher dosages and only seek consultation once the trial and error method doesn’t show results. Doing this can definitely be dangerous as Viagra is a prescription medication and may not be suitable for everyone.

 ED can happen for many reasons, both physical and psychological. Poor blood flow to the penis is one of the most common causes of ED and can be the result of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Nerve damage, hormonal issues, medication-related side effect particularly those prescribed for high blood pressure, heart disease, peptic ulcers, etc can all lead to the inability to both attain or maintain an erection. 

A man’s lifestyle can also disturb his erectile function. Smoking, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse and sedentary routine can contribute to the problem. However, in a young physically fit individual more often than any organic condition, it is Performance Anxiety—Men worry excessively about getting an erection, whether their partner will approve of it, will it stay long enough, etc and this not only lessens their own pleasure at the moment but also their ability to satisfy their partner. Hence it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Performance anxiety is the major driving cause of most young men’s Viagra consumption. And the root cause of that disabling anxiety? The fear of being judged by size and hardness; the belief that an erection defines a man’s sexual power and performance.  For many men, this anxiety makes them fearful of too much foreplay. Once they have an erection, particularly with someone new that they may not be very secure and comfortable with or wanted to impress, they try and rush to intercourse, scared of losing the hard-on. 

If you have suffered in a similar way and feel that Viagra is not working for you, be sure to talk to your doctor. The dose might need to be adjusted, and additional medication can sometimes be required but this should only be done under the appropriate care of a specialist.