The decision behind whether or not to pursue a vasectomy is one that requires a lot of thought and reflection. There are legitimate apprehensions including whether or not you and your partner are totally committed to the procedure, how you’ll pay for it, and what you need to be aware of during the time immediately following.
However, one of the concerns that has appeared and pervaded through popular culture over the years is whether a vasectomy can cause erectile dysfunction, impotence, or affect male stamina.
Thankfully, these concerns have no reason to cross your mind at all. Vasectomies are a thoroughly safe and effective form of male birth control provided by modern science.
They’re also incredibly popular—the Cleveland Clinic estimates that upwards of half a million men elect to undergo vasectomies every year. What they are not though, are harbingers of erectile dysfunction.
Though the idea behind a vasectomy is straightforward and easy for most to understand, questions about potential, unintended consequences still remain, regardless of their validity. Erectile dysfunction (ED), in particular, is a hot topic of conversation, and allusions to it appearing in the wake of a vasectomy have persisted for decades.
While it’s true that a wide range of factors contribute to bouts of erectile dysfunction, a vasectomy is not one of them. Men who did not face erectile dysfunction prior to going under the knife, so to speak, are highly unlikely to experience it afterward. Alternatively, those who struggled with ED beforehand, may actually see a positive impact on their sex lives after.
Once you understand the processes behind both arousal and a medical vasectomy, the reasons become rather obvious.
What Is a Vasectomy?
For such an imposing word with strong connotations, a vasectomy is a fairly simple undertaking. It’s quickly completed—between 20 and 30 minutes from start to finish—doesn’t require stitches of any sort, and is an outpatient procedure, which means there’s no hospital stay necessary.
In most cases, you can be back home in the same afternoon. As an extra bonus, you’ll likely get a few days off of work; and certainly, won’t be expected to perform any heavy lifting.
During a vasectomy, the internal tubes that transfer sperm to the ejaculatory pathways in your urethra are simply snipped, thus preventing the sperm from leaving your body.
Typically, there are two ways a qualified medical professional will perform a vasectomy:
- As a surgical procedure, in which the doctor makes the cuts necessary in your scrotum before tying off or severing the vas deferens.
- A less-invasive procedure, referred to as “no-scalpel,” which utilizes a tool called a hemostat.
After your vasectomy, you’ll still reach orgasm the same as before. You’ll still ejaculate in the same way as well—the only difference being the missing sperm, which is what makes this such an effective form of contraception.
Recovery will involve some swelling and soreness, as to be expected with any surgical procedure, but normal sexual activity can return within as little as one or two weeks’ time.
While pain and discomfort have been reported as short term side effects, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics less than 3% of men report chronic discomfort after their vasectomies. New cases of ED on the other hand are hardly, if ever, reported at all.
Why Vasectomies Don’t Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erections are the result of a closely-related psychological and biological process.
When men become aroused, our brains send specific signals to the nerves in and around our penis. Though it may sound counterintuitive, these signals order the arteries down there to relax. From here, biology takes control—blood rushes in to fill the arteries throughout the penis tissue, the associated membranes contract to trap it, and thus an erection is achieved.
You’ll notice that nowhere throughout this process are the vas deferens or scrotum involved; the two parts of male genitalia affected by a vasectomy. Vasectomies have no influence over our nervous, adrenal, or circulatory systems.
It’s true, things like our mental, emotional, and physical fitness, blood pressure, as well as prescribed medications and overall well-being can all potentially cause ED, a vasectomy is not one on this long list of negative influences on your sex life.
In reality, the opposite could end up being true. A 2005 study conducted in Brazil found that men who had vasectomies reported some positive impacts on their sexual function.
Why Do Men Associate Impotence with Vasectomies?
Recall that a significant contributor to our arousal is our state of mind. Despite all scientific evidence to the contrary—and make no mistake, vasectomies have been performed for well over 100 years—there still persists a cultural association between the procedure and becoming “less of a man.”
Should such insecurities arise in your conscious or subconscious, it’s highly likely that they’ll also have an effect on your ability to achieve an erection.
Negative thoughts can have very real physical consequences, and depression and stress have long been well-known causes of erectile dysfunction. Still, even this result is rarely ever noted in post-procedure follow ups.
To be as clear as possible, here are several things that a vasectomy will not cause:
- Any impact to the appearance or quantity of your semen
- Any impact to your masculinity, libido, or sexual orientation
- Any impact to your testosterone levels
- Any impact to your sexual organs
- Any ongoing acute pain
In addition, it should be noted that men who undergo a reversal of the procedure will also not encounter new spells of erectile dysfunction.
Consult With Our Men’s Health Experts About ED Issues
The qualified medical professionals at Paramount Men’s Medical Center in St. Louis are available to answer any and all of your questions regarding your sexual health.
Whether you are confronting premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, or are curious about Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) or acoustic wave therapy, contact us today to schedule an appointment and get ready to have great sex again.