Erectile dysfunction may seem like a modern problem, but it's been a topic of concern and consideration since ancient times. Modern science has contributed a great deal to how we know think about and live with ED but when you read early accounts, in some ways, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
Take Shakespeare's description of alcohol's effect on erections, from Macbeth:
"it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance; therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him."
Or have a look at the first recorded patent for a pump to treat erectile dysfunction, submitted May 8, 1917. It doesn't look that different from modern devices.
Still, modern medicine has contributed to a much more detailed understanding of the ways erections work, and the reasons why they sometimes stop working. And psychology and sex therapy have given us a better sensitivity to the connections between our bodies, our minds, and our erections.
Read more about erectile dysfunction causes and treatments from the past and present:
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