Unhappy man and woman sitting in bed

Early Signs of Erectile Dysfunction: All You Must Know

Suppose you don’t know much about the early signs of erectile dysfunction. In that case, you might mistakenly believe that you woke up one day suddenly unable to have or maintain an erection.

In most situations, that is not what happens. In fact, by the time erectile dysfunction becomes a problem in your life, chances are you’ve gotten several warning signs along the way. So, if you’re a man who wants to learn more about the early symptoms of ED, here is all you must know.

The Early Signs of Erectile Dysfunction

Understanding the early signs of erectile dysfunction can help catch the problem early and allow for timely intervention by engaging in a men’s sexual health optimization program.

Early ED identification and treatment can improve overall health and quality of life. It is important to be aware of the changes in your sexual function and address any concerns with a healthcare professional. Ignoring the issue may lead to further complications and worsening of the condition.

Let’s learn more about the most prevalent early ED symptoms!

1. Trouble Getting an Erection

One of the most common signs of early erectile dysfunction in younger men is having trouble getting an erection.

At first, you may notice it’s taking you a little longer to get an erection than it did in the past. You may shrug it off as being tired or under more stress than usual. You may even factor in other related issues, like exhaustion, lack of physical exercise, a heavy diet, smoking, etc.

However, as it goes on, more and more stimulation may be needed for you to get an erection, which is a sign something is amiss.

2. Problems Maintaining Your Erection

Once you get your erection, you may have trouble maintaining it, even if you are in the middle of a great sexual experience with your partner. Along with being a little embarrassing and bringing an unexpected halt to things, it is often an early-stage indicator you may be suffering from ED.

3. Little or No Desire for Sex

When you are experiencing erectile dysfunction warning signs, don’t be surprised if your sex drive drops to being very low or almost nonexistent, even if you enjoy having sex with your partner.

A study involving more than 800 men presented by the American Urological Association (AUA) in 2010 showed that those with fewer sexual ideas, fantasies, and desires had a higher risk of developing ED nine or ten years later than those who did.

4. Lack of Penis Sensitivity

One of the early signs of ED that usually goes under the radar is the lack of sensitivity in the penis. It can occur in both younger and older men. If you notice it takes more stimulation now than in the past to help you achieve an erection, this could be due to problems such as:

  •       Low hormonal levels
  •       Underlying medical problems
  •       Penis nerve or receptor issues


When you begin to notice changes in how your penis feels, it is time to get examined by a doctor.

5. Lack of Early Morning or Nighttime Erections

Testosterone in younger men reaches its highest level during the night and early morning. Thus, even if you are not being sexually stimulated at these times, it is still common for you to have an erection.

When you have morning erections regularly, this indicates that the blood supply to your penis is good and your T levels are in check.

Should you notice a lack of morning erections, especially if you have had them in the past, this could be one of the early signs of ED. In this case, getting a men’s testosterone and biomarkers test is imperative. The results will give you a good idea of where and how to start optimizing your health.

How to Know If You Have Erectile Dysfunction at an Early Age

Unfortunately, it can be hard for you and most other younger men to know if you are suffering from ED or have an occasional sex drive issue. To ensure you have a better chance of noticing ED and getting treatment as soon as possible, here are some things you should keep in mind.

  1.   Have you had multiple instances of not maintaining an erection close together (days in a row)?
  2.   Do you try to avoid having sex with your partner?
  3.   Are you starting to feel ashamed about your sexual performance or lack thereof?
  4.   Have you noticed other physical problems that could be causing or favoring ED?

Like most things in life, once you start feeling like you’ve got a problem, chances are you have one, which also holds for ED.

The best way to confirm whether or not you have ED at an early age is to visit your doctor for a complete physical examination. Though it may be difficult, you must be honest with your doctor about your sexual difficulties. By being willing to talk openly about your problem, your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and work with you to formulate an effective treatment plan.

The Causes of Erectile Dysfunction at a Young Age

If you’ve got erectile dysfunction in your 20s, you may be thinking you’re the only guy in the world with this problem. After all, you’re supposed to be in the prime of your life, yet you’re finding it hard to get an erection, maintain an erection, or even think about wanting to have sex.

First, remember that thousands of other guys are going through the same experience. Next, remember that there can be many different reasons why you may experience erectile dysfunction at such an early age. The most common ones can include:

  •       Underlying health problems such as diabetes or hormonal imbalance
  •       Sleep issues such as sleep apnea – according to recent research, about 70 percent of men with obstructive sleep apnea also have erectile dysfunction.
  •       Constant stress about work or other issues in your life
  •       Depression and anxiety
  •       Heavy use of alcohol or tobacco
  •       Side effects of medications
  •       Injury to nerves or blood vessels linked to erection


What to Do If You Notice Erectile Dysfunction Signs at an Early Age

Physical or psychological issues can cause a reduced sex drive. Though you are a younger man, it is still possible you could be experiencing a hormonal imbalance resulting in a lower testosterone level.

One way to discover if this is causing your ED (or rule it out altogether) is to do a testosterone and biomarkers test at home, which should be common practice for all men who want to optimize their health.

As for the emotional side of this problem, you may feel guilty, ashamed, and anxious about the changes you are currently experiencing. However, keeping your feelings to yourself will only create a vicious circle of blame and guilt. It’s always best to schedule an appointment with a doctor or psychotherapist to get to the root of the problem and receive help.

Can Young Men Prevent Erectile Dysfunction?

As a young man, the good news is that you can do plenty of things to prevent erectile dysfunction from throwing a wrench into your sex life. Some of the top ways you can accomplish this are:

  •       Limit your alcohol or tobacco intake
  •       Get regular medical checkups
  •       Stay in good shape by exercising
  •       Maintain good mental health
  •       Reduce sources of stress
  •       Manage any existing health conditions
  •       Follow your doctor’s orders regarding vitamins and supplements intake to help with your early ED.
  •       If erectile dysfunction also leads to premature ejaculation, consider making some health and lifestyle changes to last longer in bed.


It’s important to remember that if ED starts bothering you, it’s not a death sentence for your current and future sex life. On the contrary, by being proactive at the early signs of ED, it’s quite easy to get it under control and send it out of your life for good.

How Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Treated?

As medical science has learned more about what causes ED, many treatment options are now available for men of all ages.

The most common treatments used for ED are as follows:

  1.   Medications
  2.   Psychotherapy
  3.   Lifestyle changes
  4.   Vitamins and supplements
  5.   Physical treatments

Suppose your doctor discovers you suffer from a vitamin deficiency that may be causing or contributing to your ED. In that case, you may be advised to take a supplement such as vitamins D or E, Folic acid, or Zinc.

Medications usually include certain types of urethral suppositories or testosterone replacements, which are very effective in alleviating or eliminating ED symptoms.

If your ED forces you to deal with varying degrees of anxiety and depression, psychotherapy can help you discover and resolve the psychological factors causing or contributing to your problem. Therapy can also help you cope with how ED has impacted your relationship. In many cases, couples therapy can be useful, especially if there are other issues besides ED.

You can make many lifestyle modifications to limit the effects ED will have on your sex life now and in the years ahead. These include:

  •       stop smoking and using other tobacco products,
  •       limiting the amount of alcohol you consume,
  •       exercising regularly,
  •       and seeing your doctor regularly to get checkups and manage any existing medical conditions that might contribute to ED, such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or blood pressure.


Should other treatments fail to deliver the results you seek, you can discuss other options with your doctor, including penile implants or a penis pump. However, since such treatments tend to offer mixed results, your doctor will generally not consider them until all other forms of more conservative and standard treatment have been exhausted.

As a young man in his 20s or 30s, don’t assume ED is something you may not have to worry about until you draw Social Security. Instead, by recognizing the early warning signs and working with your doctor to get a treatment plan going as soon as possible, you can look forward to a satisfying sex life for yourself and your partner.

Early Erectile Dysfunction FAQs

1. How Do You Know if You are Starting to Show ED Signs?

If you have ED, you will have persistent symptoms rather than the occasional inability to get an erection, maintain an erection, or experience a lack of desire to have sex.

2. What Is the First Stage of ED?

The first stage of ED usually involves an inability to achieve an erection or maintain an erection, even if you have a strong desire to have sex at that moment. When these problems persist and perhaps are accompanied by a low sex drive, you should consult with your doctor.

3. Does Erectile Dysfunction Start Suddenly?

Erectile dysfunction rarely, if ever, starts suddenly. Instead, you will notice numerous warning signs before it becomes obvious you have an ongoing problem. Generally, you can consider ED when you can get an erection sometimes but not each time you want, the erection does not last as long as you would like, or you are completely unable to get an erection.

4. Can Low Testosterone Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes and no. Though these are different conditions, you could develop ED if you have a low testosterone level. According to Cleveland Clinic researchers, one in three men with low testosterone also have ED.

If you have low T, it can lead to a diminished sex drive. Low T can also reduce men’s ability to experience a satisfactory sex life. If you suffer from the symptoms and effects of ED, talk to your doctor. ED is rarely brought on by low testosterone alone, and a small number of ED cases are caused by low T without any other underlying health issue.

5. How Does Low Testosterone Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

More often than not, a low testosterone level correlating with erectile dysfunction is linked to other medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Since these conditions impact your body’s blood flow, it is believed blood flow to the penis becomes restricted, leading to the early warning signs of erectile dysfunction.

6. Which Erectile Dysfunction Drug Works Best for Low Testosterone?

Various drugs have proven to be effective for men with low testosterone contributing to ED. These include Avanafil, Sildenafil, and Tadalafil. When taken as a five-milligram dose once daily, Tadalafil helps men of all ages increase their testosterone levels.

Bottom Line

Low T levels can lead to decreased libido and difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. By testing your hormone levels, your doctor can determine if hormone imbalances contribute to erectile dysfunction and recommend treatments to address the issue.

However, don’t stop at a blood test. Instead, see a healthcare specialist as soon as you notice the early signs of ED, as the condition can be a sign of underlying health issues, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help recover your sex life and address any potential physical or psychological factors contributing to erectile dysfunction. Your doctor can also provide information and resources to help manage your condition and improve your sexual and overall health. Don’t let fear or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help – take control of your health and get the treatment you need!