Featured Men's health

Ask a Family Doctor: I’m having trouble getting it up

man on a bed
Written by Dr. Sharon Domb

I’m a 46-year-old married man. Lately I’ve been having some trouble sustaining an erection during sex with my wife. She worries that it is something serious. I say it’s just my age (but I admit, I’m a bit worried too). What do you say?

First off, you are not alone.

Most men will have a difficult time getting an erection during sex at some point. This can happen at any age.

If you are worried about your sexual function, talk to your doctor. (I can’t give medical advice on the blog).

I can say, though, there are many factors — both psychological and physiological — that might be causing you to have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.

Psychologically, you need to be comfortable in the relationship and feeling good about yourself. If you are unable to get an erection one time, the fear that it might happen again can exacerbate the issue: You aren’t able to get or keep an erection, so you worry about it, so then you can’t get an erection.

Physically, problems with your blood vessels, diabetes or certain medications may interfere with your ability to get or keep an erection.

Do you wake up with an erection? Do you still get spontaneous erections during the day? Can you get and hold an erection if you are masturbating? These are all things your doctor will ask you, which can help determine if it is a physical or psychological concern that’s preventing you from getting or keeping an erection.

There is help available. There are pharmaceutical options to aid and other non-pharmaceutical options too.

Again, the bottom line is, if you are worried, talk to your doctor.



Do you have a question for a family doctor? Email questions@sunnybrook.ca with “Ask a Family Doctor” in the subject line!

About the author


Dr. Sharon Domb

Dr. Sharon Domb is a family physician and member of Sunnybrook’s Academic Family Health Team.
If you have a general question for a family doctor, email us at questions@sunnybrook.ca. Please note that we can not dispense medical advice over email.