Many men claim that there are few things more devastating than learning that they may have permanent erectile dysfunction, usually described as “the mind is willing, but the body is weak”.

Some men however find that taking a different perspective on the problem goes a long way to being able to completely ignore the lack of an erection during sexual activity.

The vast majority of men consider that an erect penis is absolutely essential if both they and their partners are to be satisfied with sex. A closer look at the reasons behind this belief however starts to raise some serious doubts as to whether the claim would stand up in court.

Certainly an erection is useful for “traditional” vaginal penetration but actually not much use for anything else beyond the implanting of sperm into the back of the vagina to induce pregnancy. That activity is supposed to produce those noisy, often smelly and very expensive bundles of “joy” that many of us are now very happy to call “grand kids”.

In fact the erect penis contributes very little to a satisfying sexual encounter unless the aim is to make babies and even then there are very successful alternatives. The nerve endings that excite pleasure during sexual activity in both the male and female are not efficiently stimulated by the penis during sexual intercourse.

The vagina has very few nerve endings and the inner two thirds none at all. This means that having penetrated the vagina the penis is about as much value as a sword in a scabbard. Over 95% of the female nervous system, the erogenous zones, which play such an important part in sexual excitement and gratification, are external to the vagina.

Similarly the nervous system of the penis is little changed from flaccid to erect. Certainly using only the penis, in any condition, is a fairly clumsy and ineffective method of stimulating the female erogenous nerves. The fingers, lips and tongue are a much, much better option.

Therefore a frank discussion with ones partner or perhaps even seeking help from a sexual counselor may bring a man to the conclusion that erectile dysfunction is not such a big deal after all. I have limited erectile capability returning after chemical castration and radiation therapy but in my case that is quite irrelevant.

I have a serious back injury which long ago ended even low level sexual gymnastics. But it didn’t take me long to learn that I can have just as much fun with an equally excited partner and continue for a lot longer, without wrecking my bed.

So therefore I was able to go into treatment for prostate cancer without any real concerns about the possibility of erectile dysfunction.

Loss of libido due to chemo-therapy or other causes is entirely another matter of course, which can certainly cause erectile dysfunction and may require a different management approach. Even so the body has amazing recuperative ability and the return of libido usually occurs as testosterone levels return to normal.