An erection can take place in as little as several seconds or it can occur gradually over a longer period of time. In the later years of a man's life, beginning in the 50's and increasingly in the 60's and 70's, it can sometimes take longer to achieve an erection even with direct stimulation and a man may notice that his erection is not as firm as when he was a teenager. This is a normal part of aging, but causes some men distress because they measure their maleness or ability to please a partner by the firmness and speed with which they become erect.
However, the older man has some advantages over the younger one because his ejaculatory control is usually greater, therefore he can maintain an erection for a considerably longer period of time without feeling the ejaculatory urgency common in younger men. This advantage may be lost in men who have prostate problems because they often experience leakage of the blood supply required to maintain an erection, and can have weaker ejaculations.