Why can’t I get and keep an erection?

Most men have an occasional episode of being unable to get and keep an erection. This can be caused by:

However, if you frequently have erection problems, you could have erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

ED is when you regularly can't get and keep an erection. It may only happen in some situations – for example, you may be able to get an erection when masturbating, but not when you're with a partner.

It's important to identify the cause of your symptoms, because ED can be an early sign of other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

If you think you have symptoms of ED, it's important to see your GP or go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. They can assess whether you need any treatment.

Read more about erectile dysfunction.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 11/11/2016

Next review due: 11/11/2019