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Why can I not get and keep an erection?

Most people with a penis will 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).

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

ED is when you regularly cannot 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 a 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 November 2019
Next review due: 11 November 2022