Bank Holiday

Keep up to date with delivery, collection and our customer service hours. Find out more.

On this page

    How to get better erections

    On this page
    1. What is erectile dysfunction?
    2. How long can the average man stay erect?
    3. How many erections per day is normal?
    4. How to get better erections
    5. Treatment for erectile dysfunction
    6. Conclusion

    Reviewed by Dr Neel Patel​​​​​​​

    Is your erection thrusting forth to a proud 5.16 inches – like that of the average man? Is your penis hard enough for sex? Do you still get morning glory? Do you even find it easy to get an erection in the first place? What is a normal erection anyway?

    If the answer to any of the above is ‘not really’, you’re not alone. If you fall into the 40 to 70-year-old section of the male UK population, 50% of your peers will have experienced some kinds of erectile problem. But whatever your age, most men will experience some kind of erectile dysfunction (ED) in their lifetime.

    In this article, we’re going to take a look at the main things that can affect your erections and the steps you can take to get better erections. 

    How to get better erections

    What is erectile dysfunction?

    Erectile dysfunction is simply the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have penetrative sex. It can be caused by physical and psychological factors. And since physical causes account for 8 out of 10 of all erectile dysfunction cases, it’s worth understanding you erection’s health.

    Is erectile dysfunction permanent?

    If you experience erectile dysfunction occasionally, it might be something like stress, anxiety or even alcohol that’s causing it. But if it happens more often, there could be an underlying physical or mental health problem that’s the cause.

    The good thing is often erectile problems aren’t permanent and can be easily treated. 

    How long can the average man stay erect?

    The duration of an erection can depend on a variety of factors. It is often very hard to properly measure the length of time it takes to get to ejaculation for 2 reasons – often men tend to err on the side of overestimating time and it is rare that a couple time the start and finish of sex.

    However a research paper has shown that the average (median technically) length of sex is 5.4 minutes, so this is likely to be the closest figure we have to average length of erection. In the survey it was found that times ranged for 33 seconds to 44 minutes!

    Erections that occur overnight are estimated to last 25-35 minutes. 

    How many erections per day is normal?

    The average man has 11 erections each day, as well as many more when they are asleep. On average, a healthy man has three to five erections during a full night’s sleep.

    How is your penis performing? Find out with our erection check. Plus, read more about normal erectile behaviour in this article.

    How to get better erections

    There are lots of potential causes of ED as we’ve discussed already. TIn this section we’ll take a quick look at the main causes and what you could do to help reduce your risks of experiencing ED. 

    1. Stop smoking

    As several clinical studies have found – men who smoke increase their likelihood of developing erectile problems.

    Smoking can contribute to the build-up of fat stores in the arteries (atherosclerosis) which can limit the flow of blood to the penis. The arteries surrounding the penis are particularly small, so it is essential they remain clear in order to achieve a healthy, strong erection.

    Find out more about smoking and ED here and whether vaping can affect your erections here.

    Help your erection: Stop smoking.

    2. Maintain a healthy diet

    What you eat and whether you’re overweight has a direct impact on your erectile health.

    Consuming a load of high-salt foods and saturated fats in great measure can lead to a whole host of health problems, from high blood pressure, to high cholesterol and weight gain. All of these risk factors increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems which will directly affect the blood flow reaching your penis.

    Weight gain itself can trigger psychological problems, such as poor body image and low self-esteem, which themselves can contribute towards erectile problems.

    Help your erection: Eat mindfully – balance your meals and your portion sizes.

    3. Reduce alcohol intake

    Drinking alcohol can lead to temporary bouts of erectile dysfunction, although chronic abuse of alcohol could make this a more long-term problem.

    Alcohol can make it difficult for the tissue surrounding your penis to relax, meaning your erection will receive a decreased blood flow.

    Help your erection: Cut back on the alcohol.

    4. Diabetes and ED

    Long-term uncontrolled blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves linked to erectile function. Men with diabetes commonly also experience chronic conditions linked to erectile dysfunction – namely high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

    Whilst Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For good penile health, men who already have diabetes should try to keep good control over blood sugar levels. Failing this, diabetics are still able to safely use erectile dysfunction medication, such as Levitra.

    Help your erection: get a blood glucose test (OR monitor your blood glucose levels) and eat mindfully.

    5. Exercise and ED

    If you don’t already, you should seriously consider working some cardiovascular exercise into your weekly routine – for the sake of your penis if nothing else.

    Cardiovascular exercise allows you to maintain good circulation and will reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions which can lead to erection issues, such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

    Help your erection: go for a regular run, swim, or long walk.

    6. Reduce stress

    Not all causes of erectile problems are physical.

    Stress, depression and performance anxiety all have an effect on the health of your erection. Psychological causes tend to be more common in younger men and account for between 10-20% of all incidences of erectile dysfunction.

    You can find out more about stress and erections here

    Help your erection: Adopt strategies promoting good mental health and seek professional support.

    7. Certain medications/drugs

    Several medications can have the adverse side effect of erectile dysfunction.

    Those using diuretics and high blood pressure medications to treat heart conditions may experience some erectile problems. The same is true for some antidepressants and painkillers.

    Recreational drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and cannabis can also interfere with your erections by restricting blood flow and damaging blood vessels.

    Help your erection: Talk to your GP to see if medication you’re on affects your erections and drop the illicit drug use.

    8. Heart health and ED

    As the centre of the cardiovascular system, your heart’s health should be your main priority.

    Putting stress on your heart and the network of arteries it uses to send blood to your penis has a clear correlation with the health of your penis. Ignoring all of the above points on improving your lifestyle could seriously put you at risk of developing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease – all of which spell disaster for your erection.

    Help your erection: Check your blood pressure regularly and address all of the above points.

    Treatment for erectile dysfunction

    If you do need treatment for ED, you can speak to your GP about this. Or you can use an online service like ours to get the treatment you need.

    Our service is all online - we’re all about convenience and discretion. For any of our ED treatments you can go through our simple consultation online, and our clinicians will prescribe the most suitable treatment for you (if needed). We offer a wide range of treatments, some of which are available as a subscription


    The well-known ED brand, Viagra gets to work in one hour and the effects can last for up to 5 hours. It contains the active ingredient sildenafil and works by increasing the blood flow to the penis. 


    Containing the same active ingredient as Viagra, sildenafil enables a firmer and longer-lasting erection if you’re sexually aroused. Its effects can last for up to six hours. 


    Cialis can be taken with food, the effects start in 30 minutes and can last for 36 hours. It increases blood flow to the penis for longer-lasting firmer erections.

    Cialis Daily enables spontaneous erections when you want them, and you’re sexually aroused. One tablet is taken daily. It’s ideal if you’re having sex at least 2-3 times a week.


    Vitaros cream is applied to the opening at the top of the penis. The cream works in 5-30 minutes and the effects can last up to 2 hours. The cream can be a good option if you’re not able to take other ED medication.  


    Looking after your health and taking care of your penis can help you to get better erections. Whether it’s eating your five a day, joining a gym or keeping on top of any health conditions. Making yourself and your penis health a priority can help you have a satisfying sex life. 


    Find the right erectile dysfunction treatment for you
    View treatment options
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the United Kingdom only

    Visit IE Online Doctor Continue with UK service
    LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor

    This service operates in the Republic of Ireland only

    Continue with Irish Service Continue with UK Service