photo of a man at a desk; working with an ED expert can be helpful

How to Cure Erectile Dysfunction without Medication

Erectile dysfunction has been an issue plaguing men for many centuries.
Photo of Mark Goldberg, Erectile Radio Podcast podcast host.
By: Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST

Erectile dysfunction has been an issue plaguing men for many centuries. Historical accounts shed light on the efforts that were made to remedy erectile dysfunction, ranging from consuming certain products to devices that were attached to the penis.

Modern medicine has been successful at providing more reliable remedies for ED. Most men can find a solution.

Prior to oral medications, addressing the role of the mind in erectile dysfunction was considered crucial to the proper management and treatment of ED. Many men benefited from this treatment and achieved better erections without pills or other medical interventions.

Oral erectile dysfunction medications exploded on the ED treatment scene in the 1990s and fundamentally changed erectile dysfunction management. For many men, these medications are life altering.

However, like many other medical game changers, ED pills have also changed the way we think about erectile dysfunction. They have caused a complex medical condition to seem simpler than it is. There are many men who are left wondering if erectile dysfunction can be cured without medication, or if there is hope when drugs don’t work.

How Common is ED?

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition. Roughly 1 in 4 men under forty will experience erectile dysfunction and this number rises steadily with age. There is a high probability that a man will experience ED at some point in life.

There is an upward trend of healthy, young men reporting and seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. It is likely that even more cases go unreported and unaddressed. With the growing awareness of erectile dysfunction, it is crucial that men be able to access treatment options that work for them.

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How Erections Work

Erections, by and large, work when a stimulus, either visual, auditory, or a thought, or some form of touch, triggers the body to increase blood flow to the penis.

Arteries, which carry blood to the penis, dilate or expand while the veins, which carry blood out of the penis, do not. This allows blood to fill the penile tissue resulting in an erection.

If there is some basic level of stimulation throughout the process, a healthy man should maintain an erection until orgasm. Both the mind and the body must be working well in order to gain and maintain an erection. When one or both are not, erectile dysfunction can result.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are many medical conditions that can impact healthy blood flow to the penis or retention of blood in the penis. Generally, erectile dysfunction resulting from these conditions will respond well to medication. However, for many of these men there is often more complexity, and erections without the assistance of medication are possible and achievable.

Many men with underlying medical conditions will report struggling with erections generally but can achieve an erection with the use of pornography or when on vacation. For these men addressing the mind’s impact on erections can significantly help.

For young and healthy men, the role of the mind in erections and erectile dysfunction is far greater. For many men under the age of forty, erectile dysfunction will be psychogenic or primarily driven by mental factors such as performance anxiety and relationship distress.

For these men, curing ED without pills is not only possible, but also the treatment that addresses the root cause of their problem.

Erectile dysfunction is often caused by the mind. A lack of enough stimulation, either mental or physical can be a primary factor. Other conditions of the mind that impact erections include:

  • Performance anxiety
  • Depression
  • Distractibility
  • Insecurity
  • Relationship conflict

Once a man has experienced erectile dysfunction, the condition can be maintained by the underlying worry, fear, and discomfort.

Medication Efficacy

Oral medication for erectile dysfunction is considered a first line treatment and is highly effective. Many men who experience erectile dysfunction will try an oral medication at some point. It can help make a difference or resolve ED entirely. However, these medications often do not address the underlying cause.

ED medications do not work for everyone. Even young, healthy men with no identifiable physical issues may struggle to gain or maintain an erection with erectile dysfunction pills.

ED pills require desire, arousal, or stimulation to render them effective. When ED pills do not work, part of the reason may be a lack of desire, performance anxiety, or other psychological factors.

Why you should consider other options:

  • Oral medications may not address the underlying problem
  • Oral medications will not empower you to regain control of erections
  • Oral medications will not help resolve relationship challenges
  • Medications can have side effects
  • Medications take time to work

A Different Approach

Erections and erectile dysfunction are complex. Like other complex conditions, adopting a Bio-Psycho-Social approach is helpful. This means that looking at both the physical and mental factors and addressing them leads to the best outcomes.

When the physical issues are not present, addressing the psychological factors of erectile dysfunction can help fully resolve the issue by itself. This approach helps to identify and address the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction so you can manage them on your own for years to come.

Resolving erectile dysfunction without medication can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of potential factors that are contributing to ED. It can be hard to figure out what should be addressed. This is part of the reason that men choose to ignore these parts. But not everything has to be perfect for things to get better.

Confronting the Challenge

You need to be able to identify and confront some of the challenges that you experience psychologically or interpersonally. This can be hard, but extremely rewarding, helping you more permanently resolve erectile dysfunction and have better confidence, sense of control, sexual and relationship satisfaction.

7 Ways to Resolve ED without Pills

Track your experiences. The details can make a big difference and accurate information is an important starting point. Be honest with yourself about what is actually happening. Be careful to not create a reason and then fit the experiences to that.

Identify patterns. Often there are patterns as to when erectile dysfunction is occurring. Those patterns may be important in focusing on the key factors that can be alleviated, leading to better erections.

Address mental health factors. Mental health can be a primary cause of erectile dysfunction. Anxiety, depression, and other life stressors can be mind occupying, suppress pleasure and desire, and lead to relationship problems.

Make lifestyle changes. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to problems with blood flow to the penis and can also have negative impacts on self-image. Weight loss, smoking cessation, and reducing alcohol consumption are among the changes that can help lead to better erections.

Focus on what you like. Pleasure is a key component in reliable erections. You have to like what you are engaging in. Too much focus on performance and other distractions can make otherwise enjoyable experiences not pleasurable.

Talk to your partner. If you are in a relationship you may benefit from talking to your partner about the challenges. It can seem easier and less vulnerable to take a pill, but this is a short-term solution that does not address the underlying cause. Finding a way to talk with your partner can be powerful and impactful in ways far beyond ED.

Take the next steps to work with a professional. A professional can help you resolve your ED without medication. They have expert training in helping you to effectively identify and address the key factors causing your ED.

Ready to Learn More?

To start your in-depth approach to resolving ED, try our online learning course called BEYOND THE LITTLE BLUE PILL, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Understanding and Addressing ED.


Erection IQ founder Mark Goldberg helps men resolve erectile dysfunction. He offers individual, one-on-one services to men throughout the world through a secure, telehealth platform. It’s 100% confidential. You can visit his website — The Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change — to schedule a free consult.

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Article Updated – May 2021