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Urology/Question about penis erection


Hi Dr. I'm a 29 year old male. I just have some general questions in regards to keeping an erect penis during intercourse. I've been having issues with trying to keep my penis erect during sex and wasn't sure if it was because I may have erectile dysfunction or if I possibly could have done damage to my penis with years of masturbating. During sex I'm able to get my penis hard, but after a few seconds it goes limp and I have to try to get it back up again. I've taken Korean ginseng which seems to help most of the time. But I was searching on the Internet about damaging the veins to the penis and I wondered could I have done something to that affect on mine. Is there a visible sign that there is damage to the penis area? Are veins supposed to be showing around the shaft area? I don't feel pain when I urinate or do physical activity in that area. Suggestions would be very helpful thank you.


It is not true that masturbation causes ED or any harm to the penis.

Failure to adequately maintain rigidity on a regular basis would be sufficient to constitute ED, at least as far as a definition.

Venous leak is one possible cause.  

There is no way you can determine this from an external examination of the penis.  Superficial veins on the penis or shaft are normal.

You should discuss this with your primary physician or consult a urologist.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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