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What’s the best way to get an erection, if you have erectile dysfunction?

Guest Contribution: Brendan Lovel

"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and more than one way to get an erection too…"

Who would have thought!? But yes, indeed, there are many ways to get an erection,
and right now I'm going to take you firmly by the hand, and walk you through the options.

Today we'll cover off penile implants, intracavernosal injections (ICI) and PDE 5 medications.
All viable routes if you're struggling with erectile dysfunction, or you've not fully recovered from prostate cancer, and what you end up going with, I'd suggest, is whatever works best for you.

Penis pumps are also an option too, of course, and I've covered those in another blog here.
What I will say, however, is if you decide to go with ICI, penis pumps can be very useful as they increase the size of the target.

Penile implants, an overview

Of the three options on the table today, penile implants have been around the longest.

They're highly effective, reliable, and over the last year 40 years they've helped thousands of men with erectile dysfunction resume an active and healthy sex life.

What is a penile implant?

Pretty much as you'd imagine. It's a three piece device that's surgically inserted into your penis. It's invisible, and delivers concealed support for your erection as long as you need it. And, one of the great things about penile implants is they also fully support spontaneous sex - so if that's your thing, then we could be on to a winner here.

Oh, they've also got a 97% satisfaction rate too, which is pretty hard to beat!
If you'd like to hear some real life experiences of penile implants, then check out the episodes of The Penis Project Podcast below.

ICI injections, aka penis injections

Now, granted, the words 'penis' and 'injection' right there next to each other is enough to strike fear into the hearts of most men. In fact when I mention this to my patients, the most common reaction is for them to screw up their faces and blurt out "There's no bloody way I'm doing that!"

Then, I follow up with the virtually unbelievable fact, that sticking a needle into your penis doesn't actually hurt! And can you guess what happens next? That's right, nobody believes me. Until they try it, and they're completely shocked by the lack of feeling in their trusted old friend. Then, it works, and everything changes.

Suddenly, sticking a needle in the shaft of your penis to get an erection, and then get it on, doesn't seem so bad. Now I'm not going to pretend it's the ideal way to begin a sexual encounter, but if it works it works. So, hey.

If you'd like to hear some real life experiences of penile injections, then check out the episodes of The Penis Project Podcast below.

PDE 5 inhibitors, aka penis pills

The third way to get an erection with erectile dysfunction is using medication,
and while everybody's heard of Viagra, that's only one of four in the PDE5 group.

Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra) and Avanafil (Spedra) all vary in terms of action times, and side effects too. And as with any medication, we all react slightly differently so I'd encourage you to try them all, and see what works the best.

Before you do so, however, please be aware that your nerves have to be working properly for them to have any affect at all. So if you've suffered any damage to your neural pathways, you're best to look at the other options listed above.

If you'd like to know more about penis pills, then check out this blog here.

Getting an erection, with erectile dysfunction?

So that's it! All your options summed up. Still not sure? I'd recommend you go forth, experiment, try to have fun with it and see what works best for you.

Over the years I've seen men and their partners use injections for a while, and when things begin to improve they move onto oral medication. This is only when illness or prostate cancer treatment was the cause of the erectile dysfunction, however.

Also, many couples use injections for a few years to begin with, and then decide to go for an implant in order to get some spontaneity back into their love life. While others use injections happily for 20 years and are still going strong.

Often what you might think will be the way to go, ends up not being the case. In the end, the only way to know for sure, is to give it a go. Good luck!


  • Montorsi R, Rigatti P, Carmingnani G, et al. AMS three-piece inflatable implants for erectile dysfunction: a long-term multi-institution study in 200 consecutive patients. Eur Urol. 2000 Jan;37(1):50-55.