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Impotence is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection whilst being impotent is the state of being sterile and therefore unable to conceive.

There are seven kinds of impotence described in Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary:

  • anatomical impotence: impotence caused by a genital defect
  • atonic impotence: impotence resulting from the paralysis of nerves controlling the penis
  • functional impotence: impotence not due to an anatomical defect, but usually of psychogenic origin; the man may be able to achieve an erection with some sexual partners but not with others
  • neurogenic impotence: impotence due to problems with the central nervous system
  • pharmacological impotence: impotence due to the side effects of certain drugs and medications
  • psychic or psychogenic impotence: impotence caused by emotional factors
  • vasculogenic impotence: impotence due to an inadequate supply of blood to the penis

See also Erectile dysfunction

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