THE world may be a “lonely” place for youths today. They are exposed to the Internet empowering them with knowledge at their fingertips. But at the same time, youths may turn to the computers to solve their problems, adding more confusion without the “human” touch.

This week, we address an emotional trauma of a youth when faced with sexual dysfunction. Can Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and lack of libido affect a young person? Isn’t this the time when the hormones go wild and sexual ability is at its peak?

Dear Dr G,

I’m a college student, aged 23. Recently, I’ve noticed that my erection is impaired and I’ve experienced a sudden loss of libido.

Regarding the erectile problem, I need to try very hard to get erection via manual stimulation and it doesn’t last long. But the main problem is that I think my brain is not stimulated at all.

To be honest, I’m depressed. I’ve read some information from the Internet about my problem, which could be due to a psychological condition.

What should I do now? I’ve too shy to tell my family regarding this problem. Who should I turn to?

I’m looking forward to your reply, thanking you in advance Dr G.

From a depressed young adolescent,


ED is also called impotency, and simply the inability for men to achieve or sustain erection for intercourse.

It is a common sexual dysfunction, and is estimated to affect 18 million American men. In some studies, it even has a prevalence of up to 52%.

ED is more common in older men. In younger men, occasional “hiccups” are common, but chronic ED is not normal.

For a normal sexual function in men, the arousal in the brain is influenced by the male hormone, testosterone.

This in turn will generate the stimulation of the blood vessels and nervous systems.

The combination of both will subsequently induce an erectile rigidity that will be ready for sexual activity.

Although all the above sounds rather straightforward, the emotional state of mind can also adversely affect sexual functions, despite perfectly functioning brain, blood vessels, nerves and hormones.

Stress and anxiety can produce the enhanced circulation of adrenaline, which is the complete antidote for a normal erection. Unfortunately, stress and ED are also a vicious cycle that often spiral out of control.

It is also important to understand that stress is the body’s response to life’s issues; these may include relationships, fear of infections, sexuality, bodily image and performance expectations.

Each one of us copes with stress differently. Most people will dampen their anxiety by focusing on other matters. Some may choose to discuss the issues with their partners.

Having said that, for men who are not so comfortable in talking about sexual issues openly, the discussion will become awkward and this may worsen the situation.

The reality is, all of us need to explore the “turn-ons” and the “turn-offs” in sex.

Although the vast majority of us faced a “hard” time when we begin our sexual journey, it is “hard” to find someone who will confess to the “not so hard” moments in their youth.

Having said that youths are having it tougher these days, the silver lining is that open discussion of sexual matters is becoming less of a taboo.

Moreover, with the availability of the blue pills, it is no longer a “hard’ issue to get it “hard”. I can imagine many youths will reject the notion of having to “resort” to having the blue pills.

But such intervention is simply a helping hand to boost confidence, and has no adversity or dependency in the future.

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