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Erectile Dysfunction 101: what you need to know about not getting it up

Written by Mojo, reviewed by
Silva Neves, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

Relaxed young man reads blog with coffee.

If your erections have become unpredictable, you’re bound to have a lot of questions.

This post is a great place to start learning about erectile dysfunction, so you can begin your journey back to getting and staying hard. 

By the time you have finished your coffee, you’ll know much more about what could be going on with your erections.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is where you can’t get or keep an erection. It can happen during masturbation (solo sex) or with a partner. 

Typical symptoms of ED include:

  • not being able to get an erection at all 
  • getting erections that go soft during sex
  • getting erections that aren’t as hard as you would like them to be

Your first experience of ED can be terrifying and have an enormous impact on your confidence in the bedroom.

However, most men experience these symptoms at one point or the other. And if you’re getting them more frequently, then you might need a bit of help.

If this is the case, don’t panic. 

That’s what we’re here for. And trust us, there are a lot more solutions out there than you might think.

Other names for erectile dysfunction

ED is sometimes also known as impotence, but this term is now pretty outdated.

Nowadays, you’re more likely to hear people describe ED as a struggle to ‘get it up’ or ‘get hard’.

No matter what you call it, feeling like your penis is letting you down can be devastating.  

The good news is there’s plenty of information and things you can try to get your erections back on track.

“ED is normal, and for loads of men little blue pills aren’t the answer they really need.

With a bit of exploration and some tried and tested techniques, natural erections can return and open up a more fulfilling sex life for good.”

Ben Bidwell, mindset and purpose coach

Erectile dysfunction facts

Struggling to get it up? You aren’t alone.

ED is very common. The erectile dysfunction statistics below speak for themselves, and cover every male demographic.

You could be old, young, straight, gay, bi or trans. You could have other health concerns or be perfectly healthy and still be impacted by ED at some point in your life. 

What do we know? Some ED statistics: 

Key takeaway: If you have ED, you’re not the first, and you absolutely won’t be the last.

Although you might feel alone right now, you’re actually part of a big community. And they will all tell you that you’re definitely not broken. 

Why do most men with ED suffer in silence?

Only 25% of ED sufferers get help to tackle the problem. That’s right, 75% of men with erectile dysfunction are struggling on their own.

Often this is because they:

  • Feel too embarrassed to open up to a doctor, therapist, partner or friend
  • Don’t know where to turn for the support, information, and treatment they need
  • Can’t access therapy where they live or because it’s too expensive 
  • Hope things will improve on their own, even after months of struggling
  • Feel hopeless, like something’s broken and it can’t be fixed

At Mojo, our founders know these feelings because they felt them too. That’s why we created our platform to be a safe space led by experts who have seen (and treated) it all before. Time and time again. 

It’s also good to know that whenever you’re ready, you can join our community forum anonymously, and access Mojo from your phone or laptop whenever you like.  

What causes erectile dysfunction?

A whole range of causes can trigger ED. These fall into two main categories: physical (bodily) and psychological (mental).

Common physical causes of ED

  • high blood pressure 
  • high cholesterol 
  • heart disease
  • narrowing of the penis blood vessels 
  • hormone problems 
  • side effects from prescribed medicine 
  • smoking or too much alcohol
  • diabetes 
  • obesity 
  • injury or damage to nerves or arteries (can be due to activities like cycling) 
  • pelvic floor issues (it can either be too tight or too weak)

Common psychological causes of ED

  • performance anxiety 
  • stress
  • relationship problems 
  • depression 
  • anxiety 
  • boredom
  • body issues
  • lack of sex eductaion 
  • negative feelings surrounding sex, like guilt or shame
  • low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence 
  • an unhealthy relationship with porn
Psychosexual and relationship therapist, Silva Neves in erectile dysfunction therapy session.

“If you’re otherwise healthy and you can get an erection during masturbation or in the morning, it’s likely your problem is psychological. That means it can be treated with exercises  rather than pills.”

Silva Neves, Psychosexual and relationship therapist

Lots of people assume ED is just a physical problem that comes with age.

But biologists and psychologists have proven that a good relationship between brain and body is also vital for healthy erections. 

4 in 10 men blame stress, followed by tiredness (36%), anxiety (29%) and drinking too heavily (26%) for their problems with ED, according to a study of 2,000 men in the UK.

Statistics like these show just how wide ranging and common psychological ED is. 

They might also get you thinking about which areas of your mental health you’d like to improve in general.

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction: what should you do if you think you have ED?

When ED crops up, men often wonder what testing is needed to get an erectile dysfunction diagnosis.

If you think you have ED, your first step should be to speak to your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic to rule out any physical issues.

Sometimes ED is a sign of other underlying health issues like diabetes or heart problems, so it’s important to check for these conditions before working on psychological factors. 

“Treatments for ED are effective. They can include things like talking to a therapist or doing more exercise. Finding out the specific cause affecting you is the first step to getting better.”

Dr Matthew Chan, Medical Doctor

What ED treatments are available?

There’s a ton of treatments out there for ED. Each of them tackles the different causes of ED in different ways. 

  • Psychosexual therapy

    Therapy can help untangle the issues you’re facing, to improve penis function and sexual wellbeing. It can happen alongside other treatments or on its own.
  • Physiotherapy

    Exercises that strengthen parts of the body like the pelvic floor and the glutes can help some men regain their erections naturally. 
  • Lifestyle changes

    Improving your diet, getting more exercise, and cutting out stress, smoking, and alcohol can help.
  • Keeping other erectile dysfunction risk factors in check

    If you have an underlying health condition, like cardiovascular disease, then a good lifestyle and medication choices can help maintain healthy erections.
  • Medication or penis pumps

    Oral medication, cockrings, vacuum pumps or penis injections can help trigger a one-time erection on demand.

Deciding how to treat your ED is really personal

That doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own. 

Hearing from sexual health experts, your doctor, partner and other guys who’ve been in your shoes is a great place to start. Access to these professionals doesn’t have to be expensive, and Mojo’s courses are led by some of the very best.

It is possible to reclaim your erections and have great sex without turning straight to pills. 

We’ve helped countless men transform their sex lives, and we want you to know we’ve got your back.

Sign up here if you’re feeling ready to learn more about your erections and start a 7-day free trial with Mojo. 


Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.