5 Psychological causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man is unable to get or keep an erection that allows sexual activity with penetration. It’s a common sexual problem and becomes more common as men age. There are many factors that can affect a man’s ability to get and keep an erection. Some major causes of erectile dysfunction are physical including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Lifestyle habits like alcoholism and smoking can also lead to erectile dysfunction. In some cases, psychological issues are the root of the problem. Statistics show that up to 20 per cent of erectile dysfunction cases are psychological in nature.
Some of the most common causes of this type of erectile dysfunction include the following:
- Stress: It is said to be the number one culprit in low sexual desire. Stress, not necessarily the big one, such as financial loses or losing a loved one but it’s also the regular stress of life like not eating right, presentation at work tomorrow, or not getting enough sleep due to small baby at home, all these stresses have the ability to affect your sexual function and can lead to ED. The key to remember is that you don’t have to be carrying a large load of stress for it to affect your sexual health.
- Anxiety: When men are nervous about their performance during sexual intercourse, it creates ‘performance anxiety’ leading to ED in some cases. Once a man experiences ED, he may become overly worried that the problem will happen again. Women get into this vicious cycle of failure and escalating anxiety by thinking that they are no longer attractive to their respective partners and they are getting too old for him to desire her. To break this cycle created within a relationship by ED, you may need to take help of a professional. A primary care counseling can also help in some cases.
- Depression: It is a very well known fact that depression affects your physical as well as your mental health and therefore it has the ability to affect both – sexual desire and sexual function. But the good news is that most men return to feeling normal after taking treatment for depression. They even regain their interest in sexual activities and cope up with ED effectively. However, you need to be very cautious while taking treatment for depression as few anti-depressants are known to cause side-effects such as loss of libido, premature ejaculation, and even erectile dysfunction.
- Poor body image: When you are stressed about your body image (e.g. your weight, penis size) or your ability to please your partner, you may face performance anxiety issues that can lead to ED. In fact, research shows that 10 to 20 per cent of erectile dysfunction cases are caused by psychological factors such as low self-esteem. Talking to your partner about your fears will make you feel less conscious and anxious. You can also take small steps like exercising and lowering your weight to feel confident about your own body image.
- Relationship problems: Relationship issues such as poor communication, anger, arguments can affect your sexual desire and sexual relationship with your partner. Men may find it difficult to get an erection with his partner and women may feel less desire to have intimacy. Once erectile difficulties begin, they can obviously elicit many feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Working through these problems with your partner can help ease your symptoms of ED and other sexual difficulties.
If you have trouble resolving the issues on your own, seek out a counselor or therapist who can help.