Erectile dysfunction (also known as ED) is a medical condition where it is difficult for the penis to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED can be caused by a wide variety of issues, including other health conditions, alcohol, exhaustion, stress, mental health factors, medications, and poor blood flow to the penis. Signs & Symptoms The main symptom of ED is difficulty getting or keeping an erection for sexual intercourse. The severity of that symptom can vary. It’s normal for anyone to occasionally have difficulty with erections. While some people find ED embarrassing or difficult to talk about, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional if the condition persists, gets worse, or is generally interfering with your life. This is especially important because it might be a warning sign of a more serious condition such as coronary artery disease or diabetes. Beyond the physical symptom regarding erections, experiencing ED can also affect your mental health and your relationships.