Sexually speaking: Lack of adequate erection. It is a very common condition, even in young males. Stress, alcohol, depression, and exhaustion are commonly indicted. The postage stamp test can help to discern physiological ("organic") causes such as diabetic neuropathy from psychological causes. Viagra and Yohimbe are helpful in the former category, by increasing blood flow to the extremities.

impotence: a hypophilic condition or syndrome, of variable etiology, in which erection of the penis is lacking or defective under normally conducive conditions; recurrent premature loss of erection of the penis, or its failure to become erect, during the acceptive phase of and erotic/sexual episode. The term has, as in frigidity for the female condition, fallen into disuse. Erectile failure, erectile insufficiency, or erectile difficulty are synonyms.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

Im"po*tence (?), Im"po*ten*cy (?), n. [L. impotenia inability, poverty, want of moderation. See Impotent.]


The quality or condition of being impotent; want of strength or power, animal, intellectual, or moral; weakness; feebleness; inability; imbecility.

Some were poor by impotency of nature; as young fatherless children, old decrepit persons, idiots, and cripples. Hayward.

O, impotence of mind in body strong! Milton.


Want of self-restraint or self-control.



3. Law& Med.

Want of procreative power; inability to copulate, or beget children; also, sometimes, sterility; barrenness.


© Webster 1913.

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