portrait of young man with ED

I’m 21 years old. I only get and keep erections by stroking my penis. If I stop stroking, I lose my erection in 10 seconds.  Is this is ED?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    It’s unusual for a young man of 21 to require ongoing stroking to raise and maintain erections. I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that it’s ED, but here’s what I suggest:

    • Get examined by a doctor. Start with your primary care doc, and maybe get referred to a urologist. The trouble is that they may not be experts in sexual medicine. If you’re at all dissatisfied with what they tell you, consider consulting a sexual medicine specialist. To find one near you, visit the North American Society of Sexual Medicine. If the doctors find anything wrong, chances are excellent it can be treated successfully.

    • And if they determine that you have no physical issues causing your situation, then you can relax, secure in the knowledge that you’re medically OK. This is important because stress/worry/anxiety are big contributors to ED. Stress releases hormones that constrict the arteries that carry blood into the penis, fueling erections. With stress-constricted arteries, you may not have enough blood available to maintain erections.

    • How much do you self-sex? If you do it more than once a day, that could be a contributor. After men come there’s a period of time when they can’t raise another erection, or they can get it up, but it doesn’t stay. It’s called the refractory period (RP). In most young men, it’s brief, as quick as 30 minutes to an hour. But with age, RP grows longer, in men 65+ often 12-24 hours. You’re at the age when RP is brief, but if you self-sex a lot, your RP may be part of your problems.

    • How much alcohol do you drink? One drink a day is fine. Two is usually OK. But any more becomes a major erection killer. Consider cutting down on alcohol or eliminating it.

    • In my 46 years of experience answering sex questions, I’ve found that when young men develop what they fear might be ED, they usually know the basics of sex, but often don’t appreciate the many fine points. That’s why I wrote my low-cost e-book, Enjoy The Best Sex of Your Life. Its 135 chapters discuss all aspects of lovemaking, including several that deal with erection issues. You might consider it.

    I wish you great—and firm—sex.

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