14 Ways to Get Harder Erections

Published 7/15/2023
Updated 2/22/2024

Each year, millions of men in the U.S. face erectile dysfunction (ED), impacting their sex lives. Even those who don't experience ED might seek ways to enhance their erection quality.

The challenge of maintaining a harder erection grows with age. Despite about 70% of men facing ED by 70, an alarming 40% encounter it by 40.

If you're looking for tips to achieve and maintain a stronger erection during sex, you're not alone.

We're here to explore proven methods to achieve quicker, better erections for an improved sex life.

How to Get Harder Erections

Getting harder erections boils down to caring for your mind, body, and sexual health. For stronger erections, focus on making these changes a priority:

  • Reduce stress
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat (and drink) healthy
  • Try caffeine
  • Kegels
  • Amino acids (L-citruline and L-arginine)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Get better sleep
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Check your testosterone levels
  • Stop watching porn
  • Communicate with your partner
  • Try new things in the bedroom

Improving erection quality can involve various strategies, often without needing significant medical intervention. Before considering medications, assess your lifestyle habits against general health guidelines for men.

Your diet, physical activity, and exercise routines significantly affect your erectile function and bedroom performance.

Let's explore these lifestyle adjustments for better erectile function and sexual performance.

Reduce Stress

Stress impacts nearly every facet of your health, from mental clarity to physical condition. The toll it takes on erection quality might be more significant than you think.

Under stress, your body alters hormonally, increasing cortisol production. High cortisol levels over time can lead to anxiety and depression, which in turn can impair sexual function. This is particularly true for those struggling with performance anxiety and related erectile issues.

Though direct research on stress and erection quality is limited, numerous studies connect stress with lower sexual satisfaction.

Effective stress management techniques include:

  • Go outside
  • Get active to de-stress
  • Engage in a hobby or activity
  • Socialize with friends and family
  • Don't do things you know you shouldn't do
  • Do the things you say you'll do
  • Get enough sleep

Exercise Regularily

How to get stronger erections may be a question you answer in the gym. Erection quality hinges on blood flow; without it, erections don't occur. Blood flow is essential not just for erections but for life itself. When aroused, your penis fills with blood to become erect and ready for sex. A healthy cardiovascular system simplifies the process of achieving and maintaining an erection.

The key to a robust cardiovascular system? Exercise.

Regular physical activity is crucial for heart health. A study in Sexual Medicine shows that 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise four times weekly can diminish erectile dysfunction, particularly in men with ED from physical issues like obesity or heart disease.

The general guideline suggests 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, or just over 20 minutes daily.

Try Kegels

An exercise you can add to your routine doesn’t have to be done at the gym. These exercises strengthen and control your pelvic floor muscles, warding off issues like urinary incontinence.

They’re also great practice for controlling your climaxes, and for pushing out large volume if you're taking the Holy Grail of Volume. Regular kegel exercises have been reported to increase the force of ejacualtion, so they could be a part of a plan to increase your overall performance, and possibly boosting your erection quality.

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Eat (and Drink) Healthy

What you eat daily can impact your bedroom performance, making a balanced diet crucial for sexual health.

Erectile dysfunction often correlates with high blood pressure, exacerbated by diets high in sodium—think deli meats, canned goods, fast food, and other salty items.

Conversely, a diet abundant in fish, nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and unsaturated fats can maintain healthy blood pressure levels. The Mediterranean diet serves as an excellent model for this.

Get Amino Acids into your Diet

Certain dietary elements, like amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine, can enhance erection quality. These natural vasodilators might not rival medications in effectiveness, according to some studies, but incorporating them through foods such as melon, cucumbers, fish, meat, grains, and dairy can boost your body's efficiency when part of a well-rounded diet.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Beyond diet, alcohol intake can adversely affect your erectile function and sexual performance.

Occasional wine or beer might not damage your erections, but research indicates a strong connection between regular, heavy alcohol consumption and sexual dysfunction.

Moderate drinking is generally fine, but limiting alcohol on nights you anticipate intimacy can be a smart move, akin to having breath mints on hand.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is harmful, a fact well-known. Yet, its impact on erectile health is often underestimated.

Cigarette nicotine constricts blood vessels, limiting blood flow to the penis during arousal, leading to weaker erections and an increased risk of losing an erection due to poor circulation.

Moreover, smoking accelerates atherosclerosis, plaque buildup in arteries, further impairing cardiovascular health and blood flow, heightening the risk of heart disease and erectile dysfunction.

For smokers experiencing ED, quitting is a crucial step towards enhancing overall health and sexual performance.

Sleep More

Around 35 percent of American adults don't get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Insufficient sleep is linked to higher stress levels, which in turn can diminish sex drive and performance. Although it was once believed that lack of sleep led to reduced testosterone levels in men, recent research on sleep restriction found no significant impact on testosterone in healthy young men.

This suggests more investigation is needed for definitive conclusions.

Still, inadequate sleep can impair circulation and negatively affect sexual health. Consulting a medical professional for persistent or severe sleep issues can be beneficial.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

A study from Poland revealed that obese men, as indicated by their body mass index (BMI), were three times more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction compared to men of average weight. Weight issues can indeed lead to erectile problems.

Moreover, merely being overweight (not obese) also raised the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Men in the overweight BMI category were found to be 1.5 times more likely to encounter ED.

Keeping a healthy body weight is a verified method to enhance erectile function and sexual performance, while also lowering the risk of various health issues, including type 2 diabetes.

Check Testosterone Levels

Low testosterone in men can cause issues like decreased libido, trouble sleeping, and erectile dysfunction.

If you notice symptoms of low testosterone, consulting a healthcare professional and getting a testosterone level test is advisable. This straightforward blood test can provide essential insights.For those with a deficiency, hormone therapy may boost testosterone levels, potentially reversing symptoms in four to six weeks.

Stop Watching Porn

Masturbation is safe and healthy (and very natural).

Porn not so much. If you only watch in moderation, then maybe. But if you get to a point where you’re watching too much of it (like maybe if you say things like "porn is safe and healthy"), research indicates that it may start interfering with the pleasure receptors in your brain. Yes, really.

Excessive viewing can potentially disrupt your brain's pleasure receptors, leading to what's often called "porn-induced erectile dysfunction." This condition arises when porn habits negatively impact brain regions tied to reward sensitivity, potentially diminishing sexual performance and responsiveness to sexual stimulation.

A study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior linked frequent porn use (and other online sexual activities) to decreased sexual satisfaction and erectile function.

Reducing or eliminating porn consumption could help improve or maintain erectile function. For further insight, researching "Death Grip Syndrome" is also recommended.

Communicate with Your Partner

Discussing erectile issues can be awkward, but remember, ED's impacts extend to both you and your partner. Open dialogue about what's happening is crucial.

Everyone has unique preferences, and being able to express and discuss your needs is key to achieving the best sexual experience.

Try New Things in the Bedroom

Exploration with your partner is essential in communication. Erectile difficulties aren't exclusive to older men; younger individuals can encounter them too.

Often, these challenges can be addressed by discovering what stimulates you.

Some ideas to mix things up in the bedroom include:

  • Trying new positions
  • Trying new locations
  • Sharing your fantasies with each other

The Summary: 14 Ways to Get Harder Erections

Improving your sexual performance and getting an erection—whether that means getting hard quickly, lasting longer, or simply enjoying sex more—depends on several aspects:

  • Physical: Boost your heart health and overall physical condition.
  • Mental: Focus on your mental well-being by tackling any stress, sadness, low self-esteem, or mental health issues.
  • Lifestyle: Develop healthy habits with a balanced diet, increased exercise, and less alcohol, smoking, and drug use.
  • Medical: Consider medical treatments for ED. A healthcare provider can offer various safe and effective options.

Everyone's journey to better sexual performance and erections is unique, possibly requiring adjustments in one or more of these areas.

If you're looking to address ED, our selection of erectile dysfunction treatments is available online.

For more information on managing ED, check out our guide, which covers causes, risk factors, and treatments for ED.

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