Erection problems are more common than you might think. In fact, approximately 52% of men who are 40 to 70 years old have erectile dysfunction (ED). Some erection problems only happen occasionally, but if they continue or happen more frequently, it may be a sign that you need to seek help.
The definition for ED is: "the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance." (Feldman et al, 1994). In other words, the penis doesn't get firm (erect) enough to allow you to have sex. An erection occurs when blood flows into, and remains in, the vessels of the penis, which causes the firmness. When there is insufficient blood entering or staying in the vessels of the penis, ED occurs.
Although it is more common within older age groups, it is not an inevitable part of ageing, and ED can occur at any age. Symptoms of ED vary and can include: not being able to get an erection at all, not getting an erection firm enough to allow penetrative intercourse, getting an erection but not being able to maintain it, or not being able to get or maintain an erection with a partner but being able to do so when alone.