Erectile dysfunction is a form of sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability of a man to develop or maintain an erection during sexual activity. It is also known as impotence, and it is perhaps the most severe kind of sexual dysfunction. There are two types of erectile dysfunction.
Physical ED – caused by underlying medical conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. It can be a result of age as well.
Psychological ED – caused by factors affecting the mental health of the sufferer. Research shows that psychological factors are strongly related to erectile dysfunction.
What are the roots of psychological ED?
Below are some of the most significant causes of psychological ED;
Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are very different things. However, they are closely related, especially with concerns like ED. Stress is usually the underlying factor that causes anxiety, but anxiety also triggers more stress. It, therefore, becomes a vicious cycle that doesn’t stop unless it is taken care of. There are three types of erections that men experience. They are reflexive, psychogenic, and nocturnal. Reflexive is caused by physical stimulation. Psychogenic is triggered by mental and physical images, while nocturnal occurs during sleep. When you are stressed, the brain’s capability to convey the necessary signals to prompt an erection is affected.
Depression tends to act as an anchor. It weighs down the body and its ability to trigger an erection. Symptoms of depression, like feelings of sadness, hopelessness and frustration, low self-esteem agitation, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, make it difficult for a man to take pleasure in sex.
Performance anxiety is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. It works in such a way that when you become tense about being capable of pleasing your partner, the nervousness causes sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction. Performance anxiety can be prompted by destructive self-talk, worries, and early ejaculation.
Low self-esteem and guilt
Another cause of psychological ED is low self-esteem and guilt. Men who feel guilty about not being able to satisfy their partners are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. When the guilt is coupled with low self-esteem, it makes the situation worse. These feelings sometimes arise as a result of a more significant underlying issue like depression.
Addiction to pornography
This is a cause of ED that most people do not consider, but is increasingly linked to the condition in scientific studies. Men who spend a lot of time watching pornography often develop unrealistic expectations about sex and their sexual partner. Failure of the partner to meet these unrealistic expectations could result in erectile dysfunction during sexual intercourse but not during masturbation.
How Would You Know if You are Suffering from Psychological ED?
By answering the following questions, you will be able to tell if you are experiencing physical or mental ED.
Do you have morning erections?
As mentioned earlier, morning erection is known as nocturnal erection. It occurs when you are asleep, and it does not require any form of physical stimulation. When you are sleeping, the body is not affected by mental conditions like stress than could hinder morning erection. However, if you are suffering from health-related ED, morning erection may not be in the books for you. Therefore, if you experience morning erections, you are most likely suffering from psychological erectile dysfunction.
Are you able to get an erection while alone?
If you can get an erection when alone, there is a high chance that you have psychological erectile dysfunction. While alone, you do not experience performance anxiety or guilt, among other causes of psychological ED.
Psychological ED may be more challenging to treat than physical erectile dysfunction. However, this does not mean that it is impossible to manage. Medicines are typically designed for physical ED, and consequently, may be less successful at treating psychological erectile dysfunction. Therefore, the best treatment would be to address the problem from its root. Treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may come in handy. The trick is to visit a therapist that will help you identify and change the patterns that may be contributing to the issue.