Sex Sex Sex

Why Guys in Their 20’s & 30’s Have Erectile Dysfunction

Many people believe that erectile dysfunction only exists in men 50 and older, but that’s not the case at all. New medications have made it easier for older men to deal with their erectile dysfunction, especially if it’s associated with their health (circulatory issues etc.)

Erectile dysfunction is defined by the inability to get and maintain an erection long enough to take part in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts such as a hand job, blow-jobs or anal sex. 

According to  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases up to 30 million men suffer from ED in the United States. But now that drugs like Cialis and Viagra are on the market, and targeted for men of that age bracket, less older men are struggling, and younger men are.

ED effects:

  • 5% of men 20-39
  • 4% of men in their 50’s
  • 17% of men in their 60’s
  • 50% of men 70 and older

Men of all ages can experience ED for many different reasons from stress to other underlying health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, injuries, drug, alcohol and nicotine use as well as stress, anxiety and relationship problems. Often times people struggle with more than one of these issues at the same time, which only make it more difficult to deal with.


Younger men today are faced with immense stress to make money, and as they get older the pressure to get married and create a family sets in and the stress worsens. Insecurity within relationships is a key reason why men struggle with erectile dysfunction –> it’s hard to get hard when you’re not feeling confident or secure.  

Reasons that Affect Younger Men:

Performance issues

One of the more common reasons for ED amongst 20 and 30 year olds is performance anxiety. Pornography is more widely used now than ever and it creates an unrealistic desire and expectation for sex. It also makes the sex we have with our partners (who may not look or act like porn stars) less exciting and thereby less of a turn on. The more people stress about their performance in bed the worse it becomes, it’s a perpetual cycle.

What to do? As a therapist, I see people with this issue all the time, it’s totally normal.  Try limiting your pornography use when you masturbate can help with this problem, as can therapy. Understanding why you’re feeling the need to perform a certain way can help you overcome the expectation.


Many people watch pornography for masturbation, porn is normal, and commonly use. However, as much as porn can be super arousing, it is almost too arousing sometimes. It’s actually created to get you aroused enough that you can achieve climax in 7-10 minutes, which is the average time that a porn video lasts (and that’s including all the fluff in the beginning of the films).

While this makes climaxing easy, it can also cause your brain to become dependent on the stimulation it receives from porn for sexual satisfaction. Not to mention, that the fantasy of what you see in porn is rarely what you’re going to re-create in your bedroom at home.  It can also cause you to compare yourself to the porn stars, which can lessen sexual self esteem.  If you really want to work on your performance anxiety, cut out pornography for some time, and see if that makes a difference in your sexual expectations.

Find Your Size Today!


Condoms are great because they decrease your chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, but they also come with some problems. If a condom does not fit correctly (yes, condoms come in all different sizes) it can slip off, which can create anxiety. It can also make it more difficult to feel your partner, which reduces stimulation and creates difficulty maintaining erections.

What to do? Try different condoms when you masturbate to see which feels most pleasurable and natural to you. If it’s snug enough that it doesn’t fall off, but not too tight it’s most likely the right size. Masturbating with a condom can also help you get used to the stimulation with a condom on, and give you an idea of how your penis is going to react with a condom on in the moment with a partner. Now carry that brand on you and you’re golden.

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Alcohol & Drugs

Drinking, drugs and smoking cigarettes plays a large role in why men in their 20’s and 3o’s are experiencing limp dicks. Young adults (and high school/college aged kids) drink and do drugs more frivolously now than probably ever, partially because of all the different types of drugs that are available and how accessible they are. This immense amount of drinking and drugs, particularly popping pills, often leads to our great friend ED.
Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means is actually increases blood flow, which should technically help your penis. It’s also a great social lubricant which lowers inhibitions and makes getting someone naked and ready to rumble a bit easier. However, it also makes you tired, and unable to focus which decreases your ability to obtain and maintain an erection.


Drugs like Viagra, Cialis or other drugs meant to treat ED are prescribed to men who need it, but younger men have started to use it to help with their problems. Using these medications at a young age can create more harm than good– not to mention it is important to know that these medications and alcohol/drugs can be a very deadly combination, depending on the drug and alcohol use.

What to do? Limit your alcohol, drug, and nicotine use when you’re going out or if you know you’re going to be sexually intimate with someone. The less is in your system the more likely you’re going to perform better.

Depression & Anxiety

While depression and anxiety can create a lowered libido, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications can also lower your libido and thereby make it difficult for you to maintain an erection. If you’re not treated for depression or anxiety but you’re experiencing a loss of libido, it may be in your best interest to speak to someone about what is going on in your life to determine if you’re feeling depressed or need some support with whatever you may be dealing with. Long term loss of libido can actually be a sign of depression! Anxiety can cause your mind to race and make it difficult to focus, which can easily cause ED as achieving an erection takes some focus.

What to do? If you’re not medicated and experiencing these feelings of anxiety or depression, therapy is a great way to tackle these challenges.

Remember, seeking therapy doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong for acknowledging some part of you may need some more support than you already have.

If you are medicated, make sure to talk to whomever medicated you and tell them about the side effects and loss of libido that you may be experiencing, as this can be altered to better suit all of your needs.


Related articles:

Young Men Get Erectile Dysfunction Too [EverydayHealth]

What Do You Want To Know About Erectile Dysfunction? [HealthLine]

4 Reasons Why Guys in Their 20’s Can’t “Get It Up” [KimberlyResnickAnderson]

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