Updated: May 31
The connection between your brain and neurotransmitters to erections and erectile dysfunction is something that most men underestimate or are not aware of to begin with. Most men and women think erections are a flip of the switch.
At the same time, there are people who think that ED is something that only has an effect on older men with health issues is very much wrong. As more and more younger men are developing ED. What causes ED and other sexual performance issues in both younger and older men can vary greatly as there are quite a few different causes, whether it be one thing or multiple.
One of those causes can be due to the way our brain thinks and a compound in our bodies called Dopamine.
So today, let's talk about the connection between dopamine and erections as well as answer a simple question... can low dopamine cause erectile dysfunction.
What is Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with the pleasure centers of the brain. It is released in response to rewarding activities, things such as:
Sex and ejaculation
So when you feel good about something you've achieved, then it's probably because your brain just received a bunch of dopamine. Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter, and our brains work hard to maintain sufficient dopamine levels.
Dopamine works by binding to your dopamine receptors on cells in the brain, which then activates the cells to release chemicals that make you feel good.
The male libido is a complex topic because it encompasses many different areas of a man's life. A man's libido can be affected by everything from his health to his mood to the amount of stress he's experiencing (Yes, stress can affect erections).
In general, though, male libido works in much the same way as female libido. Libido is influenced by hormones, and testosterone is the key hormone when it comes to sex drive.
Testosterone is produced in the testes, and it plays a role in not only sexual desire but as you probably already know, also in the production of sperm. It plays a major role in the development of muscle mass, bone density, and even the growth of body hair.
It can have a profound effect on one's mood, behaviors, and sex drive. Unsure if you have low T, we suggest you try out Health Labs for their full comprehensive Testosterone/male hormone tests.
There are many things that can affect a man's testosterone levels, including his age, his diet, and even his occupation. For example, men who work in physically demanding jobs or who participate in regular intense exercise tend to have higher testosterone levels than men who don't.
Similarly, men who eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein and vegetables typically have higher testosterone levels than men who don't. And finally, as men get older, their testosterone levels naturally decline. This is just something that happens as a part of the aging process.
The Connection Between Testosterone & Dopamine
There is a close relationship between testosterone and dopamine. Testosterone can influence dopamine levels and vice versa.
In males, the key area of the brain for sexual function is the medial preoptic area (MPOA). A study found that injecting dopamine agonists (which act similarly to dopamine) in the MPOA of rats increased sexual activity. In another study, they found that male rats who have been castrated displayed no interest in sex. However, after testosterone injections, the castrated rats displayed interest in sex again and also exhibited increased levels of dopamine.
This link between testosterone and dopamine suggests that they both play an important role in motivating male behavior and promoting sexual activity.
These studies show how vital dopamine is for sexual function and erections. Your dopamine levels help sexual function in two ways:
Having a sex drive
Getting an erection
Dopamine & Sex Drive
Dopamine is responsible for our sex drive because it is released when we anticipate something pleasurable. When we experience something that triggers the release of dopamine, such as seeing someone we are attracted to, it can increase our desire for sex. Dopamine is also associated with the feeling of pleasure that we experience during sex, which can make us want to repeat that behavior again and again.
Dopamine & Erections
Dopamine is responsible for starting the process that leads to an erection. It sends signals from the brain, down the spinal cord, and to the nerves in the penis. These signals instruct the enzyme nitric oxide synthase to produce the gas nitric oxide. Nitric oxide then opens up the blood vessels in the penis so blood can flow in and create an erection.
So without appropriate levels of dopamine being produced, sex drive could be low, and getting an erection could be even harder.
Depleted Dopamine From Porn
Because dopamine is associated with pleasure and motivation, watching pornography can be habit-forming and even addicting for some. Based on anecdotes, people who watch a lot of pornography may find that they need to watch more and more extreme scenes in order to achieve the same level of pleasure (over an extended period of time that is).
This can eventually lead to desensitization, where they need more and more explicit material to get the same level of excitement. This can also lead to problems with real-life sexual relationships, where the person may be less interested in actual sex and would prefer porn as an easier outlet to "get off".
Pornography can also be damaging to relationships. When one partner is watching pornography while the other is not, it can create a sense of mistrust and betrayal. This is because pornography often portrays unrealistic and distorted images of sex, which can be difficult for a partner who doesn't watch porn to compete with.
With that being said, we're not saying that you shouldn't watch porn at all or that it's the devil's weapon. The point is that too much of porn can cause issues for your erection, sex, and relationship.
The Effects of Low Dopamine Levels
Low dopamine levels can affect a person's mood and motivation. People with low dopamine levels may feel depressed, unmotivated, or apathetic. Low dopamine levels can also affect a person's ability to focus and concentrate.
Generally, it can cause:
Difficulty feeling pleasure or experiencing joy
Problems with focus and motivation
Low energy levels and fatigue
Decreased cognitive function
Mood swings or depression
No interest in sex
There are a few ways to help improve low dopamine levels. One is to increase your intake of foods that are high in magnesium and tyrosine. Another is to engage in activities that make you happy or feel relaxed.
You can also take supplements such as:
Vitamin D, B5, and B6
Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Magnesium (certain types, which we'll go over in the future)
Can Low Dopamine Cause Erectile Dysfunction & Sexual Performance Issues
Low dopamine levels can be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction and sexual performance in men. This is because dopamine is involved in the process of sexual desire and sexual arousal (getting your erections). When levels are low, it can be more difficult to get and maintain an erection.
With that being said, there are no direct studies claiming the connection between humans, and more research is needed. Studies on rats have found a correlation between dopamine and sexual function and we understand that dopamine has a profound effect on your brain. Which in turn is directly affecting the way we get our erections and have the need for sexual intercourse.
So in closing, dopamine can have a direct effect on your sexual function and performance.
Improving Sexual Performance With Shockwave Therapy
If men want to improve their sexual performance and say goodbye to having issues "getting it up" usually starts with finding the root cause. Once the root cause has been identified, various treatment options and lifestyle changes can be explored in order to treat it effectively.
It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating sexual performance issues. What works for one man may not work for another. It's important to explore all of your treatment options and find what works best for you.
With that being said, alongside making the right lifestyle changes, using low-intensity shock waves (Li-ESWT) has become increasingly popular when it comes to improving sexual performance.
The Phoenix uses (Li-ESWT) to help men prevent the effects of sexual decline, improve their sex, and make it easier for them to "get it up".
It is non-invasive and easy to use at home, making it a convenient option for men who are looking for an alternative treatment option. You can check out our full Review of the Phoenix as well which covers many questions some of you might have on the device.
Dopamine, Sexual Performance, & Erections
As you can see, the connection between dopamine and erections is extremely important to consider when talking about sexual function. Our brain and neurotransmitters can have a profound effect on our sex drive as well as on how we get an erection.
It's important that we understand how this works within our bodies, as the first step to treating sexual performance issues and erectile dysfunction is going to be understanding the direct causes and what kind of lifestyle changes are needed.
Hopefully, this article was insightful and as always, if you guys have questions or thoughts to share on the subject, feel free to leave a comment below or send a message.