Coronary artery disease (CAD) and erectile dysfunction (ED) are both highly prevalent conditions that frequently coexist. Additionally, they share mutual vascular risk factors, suggesting that they are both manifestations of systemic vascular disease. The role of endothelial dysfunction in CAD is well established. Normal erectile function is primarily a vascular event that relies heavily on endothelially derived, nitric oxide-induced vasodilation. Accordingly, endothelial dysfunction appears to be a common pathological etiology and mechanism of disease progression between CAD and ED. The risk factors of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity and tobacco abuse contribute to endothelial dysfunction. This article reviews the role of vascular endothelium in health, the abnormalities resulting from vascular risk factors, and clinical trials evaluating the role of endothelial dysfunction in ED.