Comparing the start of lockdown to the first week of August, Google searches for terms like erectile dysfunction have risen by over 75% in the UK. In parallel, erection medication sales have soared as men reach for the blue pill to guarantee getting it up.
“In an era where erection medication is readily available to purchase online in a discreet and convenient fashion, bypassing embarrassing consultations, it’s not surprising men turn to it as a quick fix. But medication is often not a solution,” say Xander Gilbert, co-founder at Mojo Men, the UK’s first expert sexual wellness community platform aimed to help young men get reliable erections through pill-free solutions.
Pandemic pressures, including job security concerns, home-schooling and being confined to small flats alone or with your partner and families around the clock, may have exacerbated the problem. “Increased stress and anxiety can make it harder for men to get it up,” says Angus Barge, co-founder at Mojo Men.
According to COSRT accredited psychosexual and relationship therapist, Silva Neves, it’s not easy to imagine that things failing physically may be caused by the way you’re feeling. He points to research by The Health Foundation on COVID-19, which highlights the significant impact its effects are having on the nation’s mental health due to raised exposure to stressors which are aggravated further by reduced access to mental health treatment and support structures.
A recent study by the Office of National Statistics revealed more than two-thirds of adults in the UK felt somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. Over half of respondents said feeling stressed and anxious was affecting their wellbeing.
“Especially during the pandemic when mental conditions are heightened, it may increase the pressure men are under to perform in the bedroom. Erection issues can be psychological, related to anxiety caused by stress, expecting failure, or depression. These factors interrupt the brain from sending messages to the penis to allow extra blood flow to form an erection. Your body then goes into flight or fight mode, which leads to the physical issue of not being able to get an erection. Consequently, men turn to erection medication in fear of not getting it up.” says Neves.
Dr Roberta Babb, Clinical Psychologist and BBC Sex on the Couch therapist says: “Men need access to reliable information to better understand the complexities of why it sometimes doesn’t work.
“We are affected by what is going on around us. Now more than ever, with increased stress, challenges and uncertainty, men need to prioritise their wellbeing. It’s so important to address the root cause. If left untreated, erection issues caused by psychological or physical issues can become a mental health concern.”
Mojo Men’s expert community platform aims to help close the information gap, by connecting men with multi-disciplinary experts instantly, giving men the access they need via video and community forums to get to the root cause. Barge and Gilbert have both been there, and know the feeling of not being able to get it up. They say, “We’ve built Mojo Men as we know how intimidating and isolating it can be, not knowing where to turn for reliable answers, especially with stigma around erection issues only affecting older men, means young men are under-catered for when it comes to getting help.”
If you’re feeling like the pandemic pressures are weighing you down and you think it might be contributing to your issues getting it up, experts together with Mojo Men share top tips on how to alleviate the problem naturally, and reliably.
- Start looking for a long-lasting solution: rather than opting for a quick fix with medication that can actually make it harder to get erections naturally, leading to dependency, work on fixing the underlying problem. Long-term use of medication can be a dangerous route to go down. Covering up a physical condition can lead to lifelong health issues. In some cases, a lack of oxygen flowing to the penis for a prolonged period of time can cause permanent weak erections.
- Chat to your partner: having an open and honest conversation about your erection issues with your partner or person that you’re with could be the first port of call. Remember they’re equally affected. Communication may reduce anxiety and the pressure to perform every time. Luke, 30, living in London said his girlfriend always says, “It’s not you versus me, it’s you and me versus the problem.”
- Psychological vs physical: if you’re waking up in the morning with an erection, this usually indicates that it works. So the problem isn’t a physical one, but more than likely a psychological one that’s preventing you from getting it up.
- Realistic expectations: immense pressure is placed on young men due to unrealistic expectations when it comes to sexual situations. Advertising, social media, and porn featuring cleverly cut footage of men with erections that last hours – all portray that you should have an erection on demand. It’s important to regain realistic expectations of what sex is likely to be.
- Don’t panic: be brave and reach out to a professional for support, you’re not alone. There are a host of common problems, getting to the bottom of it so you can get natural erections again before it engrains itself is key.
To learn more, visit Mojo Men, www.mojomen.com.