While there are a diverse range of reasons you may not be able to gain or maintain an erection, many cases stem from a very small number of potential issues. For many, erectile issues are a primarily mental problem, caused by anxiety, depression, stress and similar conditions. In other cases, however, the cause is a more physical matter, from specific penile damage to more general health issues.
On this page, we’re exploring some of the more effective exercises and options to help improve your penile health. If you haven't already, we’d strongly recommend talking to your doctor to understand more about the cause.
In many cases, where there’s a physical cause for erectile issues, it stems from an overall health issue, rather than being some specific injury or penile-specific problem. Improving your overall health can have a significant impact on your condition, in other words.
If you’re not already, we strongly recommend starting up a fitness regime (though this doesn’t have to be intense - even regularly walking can help), while cutting out excessive drinking, smoking or drug use.
Alongside a standard fitness regime, however, there are some exercises specifically designed to improve penile health directly:
Pelvic Kegels: Kegel exercises aren’t just for women - they’re a powerful way to train muscles around the genitals, and many report a noticeable improvement for their sexual capacity after getting started. If you haven’t exercised the region before, it can be difficult to know where to start. Try to stop in the middle of urination - this exercises the pelvic floor muscles.
Once you know how it’s done, try out penile kegel exercises by flexing the muscles for about 5 seconds at a time, repeating this about 10 times in a session. While it may take quite a while to build up to the point where you’re able to perform a full session, penile kegels can make a major difference for both sexual capacity and stamina.
Along with penile kegels, there are quite a few exercises that work on muscles around the pelvis. Try starting off with leg raises: lie on your back with bent knees, feet on the floor. Keeping everything else still, raise one foot, breathe in, and return to the ground, switching legs between repetitions.
Vacuum Pump Exercises: For those looking for a way to quickly help improve sexual function, vacuum pumps are an effective, powerful option. Positively affecting ED for 90% of users, vacuum pumps like VaxAid are able to make a genuine difference.
While actively addressing the psychological issues behind erectile issues may seem unfeasible for the average person, it’s certainly possible to make some headway against the condition with a few simple relaxation exercises. With many cases resulting from common conditions like anxiety, being able to effectively destress can have a major effect.
However, we’d still recommend talking to your doctor about the cause of your problem - even if it seems to be a purely psychological issue, there may be some other cause that your doctor can diagnose.
Although meditation may seem somewhat cliched, or unlikely to assist, it’s actually a genuinely effective way to cut down stress, and it’s simple to start off with:
Penile Injection Therapy: Penile injection therapy, or intracavernous injection, involves the injection of a vasodilator (a chemical that relaxes arteries to increase blood flow) into the penis. Penile injection therapy is recognized as an effective nonsurgical treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, due to its somewhat invasive nature, it is often used in men who have contraindications to other first-line treatments, like medication.
During penile injection therapy, Papaverine, a drug that produces vasodilatation (widening of the blood vessels), is injected directly into the penis to produce an erection. There are also other vasodilators used in treatment today.
Penile Implants: Lastly, a much less common option is a penile implant, or penile prosthesis. While there are various kinds of penile prosthesis available - from rod-based treatments to inflatable options - penile implant surgery involves a prosthesis being surgically inserted into the penis to restore sexual function. Because this treatment option is so invasive, it is typically only recommended when there is a clear medical cause for ED and when the problem is unlikely to resolve or improve naturally with other treatments. Read more about avoiding penile surgery here.