Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection for sex. This means that during moments of arousal, the penis is often either flaccid, or partly firm but rarely gets hard enough. If it does, it’s not for long enough periods of time to have sex sucessfully.
The causes of impotence can be complicated. It can stem from poor physical health (and things such as poor lifestyle choices) and pre-existing medical conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. These conditions can interfere with blood vessels and impair vascular function. In turn, this makes it difficult for blood to fill the penis when aroused because the vessels become too constricted.
There are psychological causes too. Stress and anxiety can prevent the right signals needed to trigger erection mechanisms from being released by the brain. So even just being nervous about sex, despite being aroused, can induce ED too.
Anyone can get ED. Keeping its main causes in mind, it’s easy to understand why impotence is often viewed as and reported on as an older man’s problem. But the truth is young men suffer with erection problems too.
Emerging evidence shows more young men seem to be reporting symptoms of ED. The full reasons behind this are not yet understood, but it's been suggested psychological issues could be playing a more prominent role because young people are less prone to physical health problems.