Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/29/2022
The magical, simple erectile dysfunction cure has probably been the true topic of many a bold mission to uncharted territories over the years. If the internet is any indication (and it is), guys will waste any amount of time, money and common sense in the pursuit of something to make their penis perform like it’s in a Vegas show.
We have a feeling you’re here hoping for precisely that kind of solution to the sexual function problem. You’re not alone in the search.
What’s behind the simple ED trick quest? Well, there are a few things, most likely: convenience, avoidance and shame. Wouldn’t it solve all the problems if you never had to consult a healthcare provider, fill a prescription or talk to your partner about these kinds of problems?
If you think you might have ED, there is sadly no magic bullet — no simple trick to cure ED. Unfortunately, ED is a more complicated sexual health problem than one “life hack” will ever solve. The good news is there are plenty of effective treatments that can provide ED solutions.
But let’s talk about why there’s no magic fix.
In order to combat ED, you need to do something to restart or regulate the process of getting hard. So as you can expect, there have been a lot of gimmicks over the years. People are always looking for or marketing new simple solutions.
Some of them have even been investigated through limited research, which is insufficient to provide much proof.
For instance, a study once looked at menthol (think Vicks VapoRub®) as a possible medicine cabinet tool for ED quick fixes.
Menthol has been seen in limited studies to be a “vasodilator” — something that promotes vascular dilation.
A study published in 2016 in the journal, Microvascular Research, focused on a small group of men saw positive results, but the study was flawed: menthol works on skin-level (cutaneous) blood vessels, but it wouldn’t affect the blood flow inside your penis.
The trial was performed on an arm, too — and while we can all wish otherwise, arms and penises have very little in common.
There’s also herbal Viagra® — the stuff you buy in gas stations. It’s an unregulated supplement peddling the same stuff prescription ED medications like Viagra, but through “natural” compounds.
We’ve written about these products before, but to keep it short, these “medications” are unsafe.
In 2013 the Pharmacognosy Review concluded, “The available drugs and treatments have limited efficacy, unpleasant side effects, and contraindications in certain disease conditions. Due to unavailability of the safety data, unclear mechanisms, and lack of knowledge to support the extensive use of these substances, uses of these products may be risky to the human being.”
There are some gadgets that might seem like the solution, but while they may offer more science than horny goat weed, it’s no more simple.
Penis sleeves, for one, work great when they work, but there are numerous complications associated with finding the right one, as problems can be caused with effectiveness by incorrect fit, shape and thickness, according to an article published in the journal, Translational Andrology and Urology.
Regardless, a 2019 scientific review published in the journal, F1000Research, said they have “been slow to gain acceptance in the scientific community.”
Cock rings also present some promise in treating this form of sexual dysfunction, as they’re effectively designed devices for keeping the blood in. The only problem? They don’t do anything about getting the blood in there in the first place.
Male vibrators have particular uses as well. They can help men with spinal cord injuries ejaculate and can be enjoyable additions to your sex life. But as for making you get hard and promoting erectile function? Nothing conclusive.
As you might suspect, the most effective ED treatment options are actually the most scientifically sound ones: prescription medications taken orally on a regular basis, lifestyle changes to improve vascular and other health issues and therapy.
The fact is that your ED is more than likely caused either by something a pill can treat, by an unhealthy lifestyle, or by psychological issues (performance anxiety, low self-esteem) that require more involved treatment than you can pick up alongside lottery tickets or off of Amazon.
The next step is seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional, who can better help you in the diagnosis of your particular course of ED, and make recommendations for treatments that will be effective.
If lifestyle is an issue for you, your healthcare provider may recommend changes like more exercise, better diet, weight loss, stress reduction, or even just drinking more water and less booze.
For the psychological causes of ED, a healthcare professional may refer you for therapy, which will help you address whatever mental health issues are preventing you from enjoying yourself and your partner in the bedroom, kitchen, hallway, etc.
Both tadalafil and sildenafil (generic Viagra) are phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. They work to prolong the dilation of blood vessels in your penis by blocking the breakdown of certain substances in your body, according to an article published in the journal, Nature Reviews Disease Primers.
Depending on your needs, you may prefer a different prescription because of the length of their effects (sildenafil is best taken before activity, while tadalafil can be taken once daily or as needed).
Because these medications can be used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), it’s important to tell your healthcare provider if you are taking anything for blood pressure or hypertension, or if you’re taking nitrates — the side effects from taking both can be problematic.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.
If you’re looking for a simple trick to cure ED, making changes to your lifestyle and habits could be beneficial to treat erectile dysfunction and men’s health in general.
Even if you already struggle with erectile dysfunction, making healthy lifestyle changes could help resolve your condition without the use of medication.
Here are some lifestyle habits you could try to prevent ED:
Follow a healthy diet that supports healthy body weight as well as normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Engage in regular physical activity to keep your heart healthy and to promote proper circulation.
Moderate your alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of alcohol-induced ED episodes.
Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking, especially those that might affect circulation and erectile function, such as antidepressants.
Take steps to reduce and control your stress levels — including relationship stress.
Stop smoking and avoid using tobacco products, which can affect circulation and trigger or worsen ED.
Talk to your healthcare provider about any health conditions that can affect sexual performance, such as heart disease, history of heart attack, kidney disease or prostate cancer.
We’re sorry for the disappointment. Men are always looking for simple, easy fixes to make this problem go away. We get it: it’s hard to talk about this stuff, and it’s hard to accept it may be a lifelong problem in some cases.
But the important thing to take away from this is that there is no simple cure for erection problems, and unfortunately, it is essential to get yourself in front of a healthcare professional for help, guidance, and advice.
Treating this problem alone isn’t treating it. It’s not going away, and it’s potentially getting worse.
If you’re just learning about ED, we can help. Hims has resources to help you determine if either tadalafil (Cialis) or sildenafil (Viagra) are right for you.