Let’s demystify erectile dysfunction, shall we?
Whether you’re having a tough time getting erect or staying erect, it’s distressing – but you aren’t powerless over this situation. Once you have a deeper understanding of how an erection works, you can have much more control over your body and take proactive steps to train them: to look and feel stiffer, to stay harder longer, and to orgasm with more intensity.
Let’s start with the science. Why does a penis get hard?
Because the arteries inside of it swell with blood. When you’re sexually aroused, the body sends blood to the genitalia, and that blood fills two tubes of spongy tissue in the penis: the corpus cavernosa. As they swell, the penis becomes erect, and the veins here narrow to trap in the blood. That keeps the penis hard, until you orgasm or arousal ceases, and blood flows like usual.
What’s the source of erection problems?
When someone can’t get or maintain an erection, it’s either because of insufficient blood flow to the penis – meaning, their arteries aren’t pumping enough blood in – or, there’s too much blood flowing out of the penis, because their veins aren’t compressing enough.
Ten to twenty percent of ED causes are psychological, and they include stress and anxiety. But other psychological issues around arousal and sexual expectation can play a part here too: maybe the penis owner has become habituated to intense porn, so IRL sex isn’t as exciting; maybe there’s resent towards their partner, or a lack of sexual attraction. But by and large, unpredictable erections have far more to do with overall physical health, and especially vascular health.
So here are seven ways to train your penis for harder erections, both directly and holistically. Most of these tips have the added benefit of improving your general health, which tbh, is pretty sexy all by itself. A penis owner who’s into self-care? We love to see it.
Train the rest of your body
To improve the function of your arteries and veins, you need to habituate your body to blood flow efficiency. That’s a fancy way of saying: exercise. How long? Twenty minutes a day should do it. A 2013 study found that this level of moderate exercise was successful in treating erectile dysfunction (ED), even as participants got older in age. The reasoning is simple: arteries and veins aren’t passive conduits for blood. Instead, each one has three layers, and the middle one is composed of muscle fibers. So when you exercise, you don’t just work the muscles you see with the naked eye. You work your arterial and venous muscles, which are getting stronger and stronger at supporting your erection.
Get data insights on your erections
Use a smart penis ring to understand how lifestyle factors are affecting your erection. The Tech Ring by FirmTech is a penis ring that counts your number of nocturnal erections (which can indicate cardiovascular health), the duration of your erection, and the firmness of the penis. With app-enabled capabilities, these insights can then be used by the penis owner to optimize their erectile fitness: they can experiment with different lifestyle strategies, like more exercise, less drinking and smoking, and more healthful eating, to see which ones make the biggest impact on their erection. In addition to providing vital data, the ring is uniquely comfortable and most users report better erections and orgasms. Win, win, win if you ask me.
You’ve probably heard of kegels before, but what you may not know is that every gender can perform them – not just vulva owners.
“Kegels” is the name for squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, as if you were stopping the flow of urine. When you take time daily to tone this muscle group, you’ll help safeguard against premature ejaculation, which is dependent in part on pelvic floor muscle tone. But in addition, strong pelvic floor muscles will give you a more intense orgasm and more of a “projectile” ejaculation. An easy starting point is this: squeeze your pelvic floor, hold for three seconds, then release for three seconds. Repeat up to 20 times. Start with one session a day, eventually building up to three or four sessions a day.
Edge during solo sex
The bolder version of kegels is edging: essentially the same thing, but you’re doing them while you’re aroused and hard.
While you masturbate, experiment with getting close to orgasm – think 7 or 8, on a 1-10 scale – then bringing yourself back down, and work your way up again. Edging like this over and over again will result in a powerful orgasm, because your genitals are so engorged with blood. But also? It will help train your pelvic floor muscles to not spasm quite so quickly, keeping your erection engaged for longer than you normally would.
Losing sleep can make you more likely to develop plaque in your arteries, which negatively affects your circulation. As we know by now, that makes it more difficult to get and maintain an erection.
So prioritize a good night’s rest, aiming for six to eight hours a night. You know the drill: put your devices to bed one hour before you do, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, look into melatonin as a supplement, and try to go to bed / wake up around the same time each day, so your body gets used to the rhythm of wakefulness vs. fatigue.
Reduce your stress
The insidious thing about erectile dysfunction is that it operates on a feedback loop: failure to get hard or stay hard is stressful, so when you eventually try again, anxiety about your most recent attempt sets in. That blocks the arousal process, making it more difficult to enjoy the erections you want (or any at all). Fun!
Except, not. Because on top of erection anxiety, modern life is fast, complex, and has all too many options for stress management that compound the existing problem: drinking, eating to excess, Netflix and over-chill. None of those things help your circulation though, which is what a strong erection needs.
So find ways to manage stress that support your top-line goal. Go on walks. Talk to friends. Journal. Meditate. Try to work in something funny and delightful (like stand-up comedy) to your viewing schedule. The key is to be ritualistic about it, rather than reactive, and engage in these stress-reduction activities so often that they become a daily, calming habit (rather than a quick fix in the moment).
Cut back on nicotine and alcohol, but do feel free to enjoy caffeine
Nicotine damages blood vessels, and alcohol interferes with the messengers in the brain that tell the penis to fill with blood. Alcohol can also reduce the production of testosterone – key to the arousal process – so in truth, neither of these vices are helping your erection.
The daily treat you can absolutely keep, though? Your morning cup of coffee or tea: caffeine can improve blood flow, encouraging engorgement in your genitals during the arousal process. As always, keep it in moderation: too much caffeine can result in anxiety, and when it comes to erections, we want to reduce anxiety as much as possible.
Empowered by this information? I hope so! Try these training tactics, and see if they help you get and keep the erection you want. Come talk to me on Instagram, and let me know which strategy worked best for you.