In erectile dysfunction, an individual is unable to develop or maintain an erection during sex.
This disorder is also called impotence and like other sexual dysfunction, this condition becomes more common with age.
Sex can be important within relationships, so erectile dysfunction often carries with it emotional and psychological stigma.
In both males and females,, sexual activity involves a sequence of events called the sexual response cycle.
This cycle has four phases, excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
During the excitement phase, muscle tension, heart rate, and blood flow to the genitals increases.
In males, this is called an erection.
When these reach the maximum level, it’s called the plateau phase.
Next, the accumulated sexual tension gets released during orgasm, causing ejaculation in males.
Immediately after orgasm comes the resolution phase, where the body slowly returns to its original, un-excited state.
Alright, let’s take a closer look at the penis which is made of three long cylindrical bodies: the corpus spongiosum that surrounds the penile urethra, and the two corpora cavernosa made of erectile tissue.
The corpora cavernosa are wrapped in a fibrous coat called the tunica albuginea, and each corpus cavernosum is made up of blood-filled spaces called the cavernosal spaces.
These areas are lined with endothelial cells surrounded by smooth muscle.
Running down the centre of each corpus cavernosum is a large artery called the deep artery which gives off smaller arteries that supply the cavernosal spaces.
Next, blood get drained from these spaces by small emissary veins, which drain into the deep dorsal vein.
This vein then carries the blood back into the systemic circulation.
Now, the penis receives both somatic and autonomic innervation through the cavernous nerves, which innervate both the corpus spongiosum, and the corpora cavernosa.