Most of us would define erectile dysfunction as the inability to get an
erection. Nothing is more embarrassing than not being able to "rise to the
occasion." However, the real problem for many males is actually not so
much getting an erection but rather keeping it. Consider this definition from the
Cleveland Clinic for erectile dysfunction:
"The inability to develop and maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual
intercourse or activity in the absence of an ejaculatory disorder such as
premature ejaculation." 
Many men with erection problems find that they can achieve an erection (one way
or the other) but lose it rapidly. This causes every bit the level of
panic as not being able to get an erection in the first place. It also
causes complete confusion. "How can I get an erection and then lose it so
Look at these desperate forum posts where the men involved express complete
bewilderment and despair at the situation:
"I began noticing, in the last couple of years, that even with Cialis I couldn't
always maintain an erection. In the beginning I noticed that fast, vigorous sex
with my 20-something wife, would sometimes have a desensitizing effect on my
"For the past few years I have had difficulty maintaining Erections. It has
gotten worse over the past year. I was taking mild doses of Viagra with some
success and after time it did nothing. I would get hard, and then lose it." 
"Every morning I get up I can get an erection no problem…and actually feel horny
after the certain herbs I have been taking..I do think the standing up thing
helps…now I can maintain the erection with no limit on time with very light
stimulation. But if I leave him he will lose partially fairly quickly..not
immediate tho…" 
"Then the next thing I noticed was ED. I was having some 'special time' with my
lady, and I lost my erection. It was really crushing, but still I tried to
forget it." 
I could list other examples from the forum, but you get the idea: this is
a very common men's issue. So what causes a rapid loss of erection?
Of course, there can be more than one reason, but we list some of the most
common reasons below:
1. Venous Leakage. This refers to any vascular (blood vessel-related) condition
that accelerates the loss of of blood from the penis during an erection. This
creates a state where blood flows out of the penis as fast as it flows into the
penis and is the equivalent of a boat taking on water more quickly it can be pumped out.
Venous leakage can occur due to many causes, a subject we will discuss a bit
more below. You can also read about it in my link on
However, the key concept is that as blood flows into the penis, there are veins
that handle outflow that are supposed to get "pinched off." If this
pinching off does not occur, then blood literally flows in and right back out.
NOTE: Always get check out by a doctor if you have erectile
dyfunction as there are often medical conditions that underlie the condition.
2. Low Testosterone. So what is the leading cause of #1? It is
something you might not guess: low testosterone. It turns out that
testosterone is absolutely critical for the internal tissues of the penis.
When the penis loses proper testosterone levels, nerves and connective tissue
literally begin to "wither" and "atrophy". It is similar to a garden that loses
its water supply. For details on what testosterone levels typically lead
to venous leakage, see my book
Low Testosterone by the Numbers.
3. Loss of Morning Erections. Anything that negatively affects morning
erections can the chances for venous leak. As I outline in my link on
Basics of Morning Erections, this has to do with oxygenation. Morning
erections give a proper oxygen and nutrient supply to the internals of the penis
and, without them, the penis literally begins to die off internally.
4. Smooth Muscle Issues. Smooth muscle relaxation and tone is critical
for for erectile maintenance and anything effecting this musculature can
potentially lead to venous leakage. 
5. Low Nitric Oxide Levels.
Now I don't have a study to prove this one, but anecdotally many men have noted that they lose erections quickly and, once they went on
Viagra or Cialis (the classic PDE5 Inhibitors), the problem of losing their
erections seemed to disappear. This definitely does not really fit in with
definition of venous leakage or classic erection loss issues, but it does seem
to work in some cases. In this case, efforts to improve endothelial function and restore more youthful
nitric levels, something I dissuss at length on this site - see
here - should
Loss of Erection Solutions
1. Increasing Baseline Testosterone Levels. As mentioned above, the
inside of your penis literally "rots" without enough testosterone. And so
strategy that may help many men that lose their erections too quickly is to
simply raise baseline testosterone levels up to allow for self-healing. There are many lifestyle factors that I outline
on my site, such as
Losing Weight Too Fast,
Being Overweight, Depression,
that, if corrected, can potentially lead to significant increases in baseline testosterone.
Still other men will likely end up on
Hormone Replacement Therapy or
raise their testosterone. (Talk to your doctor for advice on the latter of course.)
But the important thing to note is that a number of studies have shown that
increasing testosterone (significantly) will lead to greatly improved venous
leakage. Increasing testosterone will also boost nitric oxide levels and
help with many other male health-related issues.
2. Increasing Morning Erections. There are many things that you can
do to increase the number and hardness factor of your morning erections. Many
great examples of things that can increase your morning erection counts
are give on the Peak Testosterone Forum, including HRT of course.
3. Kegels. One thing that can really help some men are "doing Kegels."
These exercises, often associated with female urinary incontinence, can actually really
help men by restoring smooth muscle tone to the all-important pelvic floor
muscles. See my link on Kegel Exercise for Men for more details.
4. Urological Visit for Venous Leakage.
Venous leakage is the realm of urologists and is usually diagnosed by the same.
There can be somewhat uncommon causes of venous leakage, such as Peyronie's
Disease, that a urologist can help identify. Peyronie's Disease is scar
tissue, or a kind of plaque, along the spongy "storage containers" (corpus
cavernosum) within the penis. This scarring can make it where the penis can no
longer traps blood as efficiently. But the important point is that one should get checked out by a doctor if you are
experiencing an unusually rapid loss of erections.
Again, I would highly recomment discussing your situation with your urologist,
as this is their "bread and butter". Again, there can be a variety of reasons
that one can lose an erection quickly and a urologist can do the real testing
that needs to occur. Furthermore, he can directly test for venous leakage
using certain standard procedures, which were outline rather humorously by one
Forum posters here.
http://www.gyneflex.com/kegel_article.html (A reproduction of the original
article by Kegel).