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What Is the Difference Between Erectile Dysfunction and Impotence?

Today, “impotence” is considered an archaic term. It used to be used to encompass a range of problems with sex, including inability to have an erection, inability to maintain an erection, and inability to have an orgasm.

The term “impotence” has fallen out of favor in the medical community in recent years.

Scientists know far more about physiological factors that influence erection than they used to. In the old days, the term “impotence” carried a stigma and hinted that men who experienced it had psychological problems that prevented them from having sex. Erectile dysfunction is a medical term that refers to a man’s inability to achieve an erection, and it typically refers to lack of sufficient blood flow to the penis due to factors like high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, or constricted arteries that may be caused by lifestyle habits like smoking.

Another difference between the two terms is that “impotence” has an air of finality about it, that it’s hopeless. Doctors don’t use the term “impotence” as much anymore, because it’s inadequately descriptive of the physical processes involved, and carries unnecessary and unhelpful stigma.

About the Author

Mark Delano is the Managing Editor and handles all day to day operations for HealthyMale.com. He is a personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and avid mountain biker who also enjoys exploring the trails of Arizona. Besides his everyday duties at HealthyMale, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men's health.

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