Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/12/2020
Are you noticing a bit of a slump in the bedroom lately? Wondering what you can do for a stronger erection that won't quit? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Studies show that erectile dysfunction, commonly known as "ED," is alarmingly common, especially in men aged 40 and under.
ED can occur because of a variety of factors. Sometimes, it’s psychological. Other times, it’s the result of physical conditions like high blood pressure or low hormone levels. Luckily, treading ED and improving your erection quality is completely achievable, often using natural methods.
Below, we’ve shared 11 science-based tips for stronger, more reliable erections. Whether you’re a younger guy suffering from performance anxiety or an older man looking to learn how to get hard and stay hard, implementing these 11 tips can help you see noticeable results.
Excessive body weight is closely correlated with erectile dysfunction. In fact, a study from 2014 showed that men with a BMI of 25-30 (considered “overweight” by the NHI) have a 1.5x higher risk for erectile dysfunction.
The study also showed that a BMI into the 30+ range will put you at a three times greater risk of suffering from ED than a man with a normal bodyweight.
Simply put, being overweight or obese can have a serious negative impact on your erections. In fact, obesity is even more closely correlated with ED than aging. For optimal erection quality, it’s best to maintain a healthy, normal body weight through responsible dieting and exercise.
High blood pressure isn’t just a health risk—it can also be a major threat to your erections. Men with high blood pressure are more likely to experience blood flow issues that result in decreased sexual performance and weaker, less reliable erections. If how to stay hard is your question, normalizing your blood pressure may very well be your answer.
Although high blood pressure is linked to obesity, it’s possible to have higher-than-normal blood pressure even if you’re not overweight. If your diet is overly rich in sodium or you don’t exercise often, there’s a risk that you could have hypertension or prehypertension.
Luckily, this one is easy to check. A quick visit to your primary physician will give you an idea of where your blood pressure sits for most of the day, while simple lifestyle changes like exercising more and eating less salt can help you get your blood pressure under control.
From a cold beer to a glass of wine, drinking too much alcohol can have a major negative effect on your sexual performance. The effect is also proportionate. Studies show that the more liquor you drink, the more likely you are to develop sexual dysfunction.
Alcohol can affect your erections from multiple angles. In the short term, it dampens your mood and cause temporary impotence. In the long term, it can lower your testosterone levels and give you a weaker sex drive and recurring sexual performance problems.
The solution is simple: Only consume alcohol in moderation, or not at all. Lowering your alcohol consumption is a great way to fight ED in both the short and long term, as well as a good way to avoid waking up on the weekend with a nasty hangover.
Unfortunately, not all cases of ED can be treated using natural tactics and treatments. For many men, the most effective way to treat erectile dysfunction and get stronger, betters erections is by intelligently, responsibly using medication like sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil.
These medications work by increasing blood flow to the soft tissue of the penis, making it easier to develop and maintain an erection. For people with performance anxiety, they make sex much easier. For men with physical ED, they’re often essential for maintaining a healthy sex life.
Most ED medication requires a prescription, meaning you’ll need to talk to your doctor about this step. However, the results offered by ED medications can be big, boosting everything from your sexual performance to your general self confidence.
Although study data is limited, some doctors believe that watching excessive amounts of porn—a habit that’s become more common with the rise of porn streaming websites—could lead to an increased risk of psychological ED in young men.
One of these doctors is Matthew Christman, MD, a urologist at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. Dr Christman and other professionals have called the condition “pornography-induced erectile dysfunction” and link it to increasing levels of ED in younger males.
Right now, study of porn-induced ED is limited, meaning there are no definite conclusions that can be drawn. However, if you’re a frequent porn consumer, reducing your porn intake could potentially be a good way to improve your real-life sexual performance.
Along with obesity, smoking is one of the biggest causes of erectile dysfunction for men age 40 and below. Luckily, it’s a reversible one. Studies show that quitting smoking leads to noticeable improvements in erection quality and a reduction in the symptoms of ED.
Add the cardiovascular benefits of quitting into the equation and cutting back on cigarettes (or preferably, quitting smoking entirely) is one of the best ways to improve your erections and get better results in bed.
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for everything from preventing urinary incontinence to helping you perform sexually, making them just as worth training as your other, more common, muscle groups.
Our guide to ED exercises explains the role your pelvic floor muscles play in preventing erectile dysfunction, with a simple exercise routine you can use to strengthen yours in just a few minutes per day.
Sleep disorders are closely linked to erection problems, ranging from a reduced interest in sex to full-on erectile dysfunction.
In a 2015 study, researchers learned that patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSAS) were more likely to score lower on the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire (IIEF) test than patients with healthy, normal sleep habits.
When the sleep apnea was treated using a CPAP machine, the patients’ IIEF scores improved by a statistically significant amount, suggesting that sleep quality can play a role in male sexual performance.
As the primary male sex hormone, testosterone is responsible for everything from sexual desire to some aspects of male sexual performance. Although low testosterone (or “Low T”) is a fairly rare cause of ED, it is linked to reduced male sexual performance in some studies.
Low testosterone is also linked to reduced physical performance, lower-than-normal mood and a variety of other symptoms, making it important to monitor your testosterone levels as you get older.
If yours is a little on the low side, your doctor will be able to recommend the best approach to bringing it up to baseline, from diet and lifestyle changes to medication or supplements.
Feel like you just can’t perform in bed? Not all sexual performance issues are physical. In fact, for many men, work or life-induced stress and performance anxiety can make enjoying sex far more difficult than it normally would be.
Several erectile dysfunction studies show a link between stress reduction and improved sexual performance, including a recent study from 2014, which surveyed that men who took part in a course to reduce stress, and showed a noticeable improvement in erectile function scores.
If your work is wearing you down and affecting your sexual performance, taking a break to relax could be all it takes to help you get your confidence—and your physical performance—back in the bedroom.
Finally, one of the best ways to get stronger erections and enjoy better sexual performance is to live an active, healthy life.
Numerous studies show an improvement in sexual performance among men who exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle compared to those who live a sedentary, inactive life.
In one 2013 study, men who lifted weights and did interval training on an ergometer achieved a statistically significant increase in erection quality after six months. Other studies have shown a rise in perception of sexual performance in men who exercise, which equates to heightened sexual self confidence.
Simply put, exercising regularly won’t just improve your general health and quality of life; it might also improve your sexual performance, confidence and erection quality.
Insider tips, early access and more.