anonymous on September 9, 2011

Do undescended testicles make it more difficult to get an erection?

I am a 30-year-old who was born with an undescended right testicle. Can this issue make it more difficult for me to get an erection? Sometimes I don’t get aroused enough for sexual activity, unless I'm really comfortable with the woman and in a long-term relationship. What’s wrong with me?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on September 9, 2011

Thanks so much for your question.

First, an undescended testicle typically doesn’t affect the ability to get an erection. That said, erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur when testosterone levels are low…and patients with an undescended testicle may have low testosterone.

But if things check out physically, it sounds like you might associate sex with greater emotional intimacy than most men do. And while many people would admire that quality, the flip side is that you may have a certain degree of anxiety about more casual sex. And when you don’t necessarily have a close emotional connection with your partner, it might be that your anxiety or unease get in the way of getting and keeping an erection.

Bottom line: because an undescended testicle may not function normally, there’s a small risk of low hormones levels…and hormone levels play a role in arousal. So I would encourage you to first speak with your doctor and get your hormone levels checked, just to make sure there isn’t some other issue that needs to be addressed.

From there, a counselor or sex therapist may help you work through any possible emotional barriers to your getting aroused enough for sexual activity.

Thanks again for sharing your concern, and I wish you good health.

Related info:

David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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