Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve and maintain an erection that is sufficient for sexual intercourse. For many of the right reasons we focus on erectile dysfunction, or absence of penile rigidity, in terms of how it impacts sexual intimacy and the relationships of couples effected by ED.

You might find it interesting to know there is more to erectile function or penile rigidity than its impact on sexual relationships, emotional well being, and self-esteem.  Beyond psychology, healthy erectile function and penile rigidity may also be important on a physiological basis and maybe on a cellular level.

Consider the following …..

Whether you have normal erectile function or not, most of the time the penis is in a non-erect or flaccid state.

When the penis is flaccid or in a non-erect state it does not receive and hold the same amount of blood as a penis that is rigid or erect.  Like all other organs in the body, an adequate amount of oxygen and blood flow is necessary to keep tissues and blood vessels healthy.

When the penis is erect it is believed that as much as six times the blood flow enters the organ compared to when it is non-erect or flaccid.  The presence of oxygen rich blood flow stretches, expands, and enriches the penile tissues.

Erections, thought by many as simply necessary for sexual intercourse, are also believed by many doctors and medical researchers to prevent tissue atrophy, programmed cell death, and penile shrinkage.  This belief is so because blood flow and erections or penile rigidity occur together.

Because erections are a blood filling process that brings oxygen and nutrient rich blood flow into the organ, the absence of erections may be detrimental to penile tissues.

So the relationship between achieving penile rigidity or erections and penile health on a tissue and cellular level may be intricately related.  Without penile rigidity or erections, the health of penile tissues may be put at risk.