According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, there are more than 18 million men above 20 who experienced erectile dysfunction – and the number is still increasing. Out of this number, approximately 15 percent of them are due to psychological causes, a condition called psychological impotence or psychological ED.
Here’s the question: what is psychological erectile dysfunction? Is there a way to treat and overcome psychological impotence and get your sex life back?
Read until the end to learn the 16 things this condition is all about, such as what causes it, and the various ways to get over it.
1. Arming Yourself With Knowledge: How We Define Psychological Impotence
You already know what erectile dysfunction is or the inability to achieve or difficulty in maintaining an erection. There are various reasons why it happens, although the most common culprit is the lack of sufficient blood flow down south.
Did you know that your state of mind could also affect whether you can get it up? This is what experts call psychological impotence.
What is the definition of psychological impotence?
Psychological or mental impotence is when your erection fails because thoughts and feelings are getting in the way rather than physical impossibility. This is not common among men and oftentimes, the psychological factors are secondary reaction to an underlying physical cause.
Still, there is a possibility that it could happen to you. In that case, there is help available, which you will learn more about later on.
2. Physical versus Psychological: Know Which Is Which
All of a sudden, you are having a hard time getting it up. You are sure that you are in your best shape and introduced healthy lifestyle habits. What went wrong? Perhaps, it could be stress, issues at work, or kids running around and crying causing you to lose your focus and concentration.
Here’s the thing: how to know if ED is physical or psychological? Is there a way to detect which is which? Here’s how:
- Try The Elimination of Factors. Evaluate your lifestyle, including what you eat, the medications you take, frequency of exercise, habits, and stress levels to help you identify if it is physical or psychological. If you are perfectly healthy, then there is a chance it’s all in your mind.
- Look into Your Erections at Night. If you are able to get an erection at night or first thing in the morning, then lack if erection is more likely psychological. Lack of erection during sleep is a sign of physical problem due to lack of blood supply or limited sensation to your penis. In case it is physical, your doctor will prescribe an overnight device to detect erections.
- Masturbate to Increase Your Awareness. If you get aroused and able to get an erection alone but not with a partner, then the issue might be psychological.
3. When It’s All in Your Mind: Diagnosing the Psychological Cause of Erectile Dysfunction
Whether it is physical or psychological, one thing is for sure: you need proper diagnosis. This means a trip to the is necessary to properly check the reason for lack of erection and find an appropriate solution for it.
During your doctor’s appointment, your doctor will conduct physical exam such as:
- Blood tests to check levels of testosterone.
- Blood pressure checks.
- Penis and testicle examinations.
- Rectal exam to check your prostate condition.
Aside from this, you need to disclose your medical and sexual history to your doctor so he could better understand your condition. At the same time, be ready to discuss your work ethic, the level of stress at home or in work, any issues troubling you, and worries in and out of the bed. If it is psychological, talking to a sex therapist could also help you get your sex life back on track.
It’s time to get to know the different players involved in mental ED. Keep reading to learn about the different causes of this type of impotence.
4. Relationship Problems: A Surefire Erection Killer Both In and Out of the Bedroom
How is your relationship with your partner? Do you always spend time together as a couple? Do you find time to sit down and talk about anything? If not, then this could be the reason why you can’t get it up.
Unfortunately, silent treatment is not the only thing you will experience when you have issues with your ladylove. Believe it or not, this could extend to your sexual relationship as well – and it is not good.
Think about this: if you are arguing most of the time or communicate less often, you can’t solve it without discussing about it. Before you indulge in makeup sex, make sure to sit down and talk to each other about what’s happening between you two. Then, come up with an amicable solution and work together towards solving these problems. Don’t forget to go regularly on date nights.
Once you identified the issues haunting your relationship and made baby steps to work on it, it will ease the symptoms of psychological ED.
5. Anxiety is Real: A Mental Condition Men Can Master
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of fear and apprehension, which is often marked by sweating, increased pulse, and tension. This also comes with self-doubt whether you can cope with it.
Fact: anxiety is one, if not the most common psychological causes of ED. There are various issues you can be anxious about. Apparently, this is not what’s taking a toll in your sex drive and erection. When you are anxious, your heart rate increases, blood pressure shoots up, and fatigue comes after. Cortisol and adrenaline levels rise too, causing a heightened state of alert instead of keeping you relaxed.
What happens next? If you are anxious, you have little energy left for some action. Even if you can do one round, your sexual performance will never be the same since you are tired or not in the mood.
But wait, this is only general anxiety. Read the next section to find out about a specific type of anxiety that is causing a buzz inside the bedroom.
6. Performance Anxiety: How Your Worries Are Getting in the Way
You often hear psychological impotence and performance anxiety together. This is because apart from stress, depression, and fear, which you will learn more about below, there is one specific psychological issue men face these days. It’s called performance anxiety – and it’s more than just freaking in the stage.
Performance anxiety is when worries and concerns get in the way inside the bedroom. Even if you know what to do, you always think and feel that you are not giving enough in making her happy in bed. This could result to guilt because you feel you are not satisfying your partner.
When this happens, it could lead to:
- Muscular and body tension
- Improper blood flow
- Difficult erections
- Premature or delayed ejaculations
In other words, instead of a state of calmness and just doing what you need to do, your worries eat you up and stops you from performing.
Is there a way to solve this? The answer is yes. Aside from the treatment option below, here are tips on how to overcome performance anxiety:
- Try deep breathing exercises few minutes before getting into action.
- Learn to manage the stressors and anxiety around you.
- Talk about your fears and concerns with your partner.
- The point of sex is pleasure so focus on it.
- Take your time inside the bedroom. After all, sex is not a race but a journey you should enjoy.
What are the other mental issues that could affect you down there? Read the succeeding sections to find out.
7. Depression: Yes, Even Men Can Get It
Admit it. Like most of us, you often associate depression with women. After all, they are more emotional and vulnerable, which is why they get easily affected with the things around them.
Here is something you should know about depression: you can have it too. In fact, it is a common cause of ED and shuts down your entire sexual program even if you are comfortable in the given situation.
The question is, why?
Depression is often caused by chemical imbalance in your brain, thereby affecting your sexual desire and function. This also causes you to lose interest in sex that may lead erectile dysfunction and other mental health conditions.
Can you remedy the situation? The answer is yes.
There are medications available to manage depression and help normalize the chemicals in your brain. However, too much prescription pills may lead to addiction if you are unable to manage it. To minimize the risk, here are some things you can do:
- Exercise regularly. It releases feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, thereby keeping you happy and positive.
- Eat balanced meals to boost both your mental and physical health.
- Get enough sleep every night, preferably six to eight hours.
- Make time for friends and don’t be afraid to meet new ones.
- Try alternative solutions, like acupuncture and relaxation techniques.
- Seek professional treatments from a licensed psychologist to help you deal with your depression.
Once you are able to manage depression, you will be able to get your erection in no time. Just be patient.
8. Stress: A Perennial Libido and Erection Killer for Your Man Down South
There are various reasons why you get stressed. It could be because of work, issues at home, financial difficulties, and even your in-laws or own parents. Whatever causes your stress levels to jump high, one thing is for sure: it can cause harm to your body, especially to your man down there.
Keep in mind that stress is your body’s way of response to life’s issues. Whether it is a presentation at work or looking for ways to pay the rent at the end of the month, stress releases cortisol, thereby suppressing your sex hormones and eventually your libido.
You can always go on a vacation or take a break every 30 minutes at work. You can even say no when you feel you’ve had enough work for the day. However, the best way to keep your stress levels under control is by identifying what your stressors are.
Once you identified your stressors, it will be easier to find a solution to your stress issues. Then, do something to manage them and keep them under control. You will be surprised to see that your libido and erection is back without even trying too hard.
9. Understanding How Poor Body Image Messes With Your Erections
You may not admit it. Still, you hated Brad Pitt’s thighs in Troy or Ryan Reynolds’ abs in The Proposal and wondered if you can ever achieve that look, too.
Here’s the thing: you may not admit it but the secret envy might lead to poor body image – and the effects are not good. You feel sluggish and bad about your physique that you refuse to take off your clothes out of embarrassment or judgment. The worst part is this could become a vicious cycle that will take a toll in your overall sexual function.
The truth is you don’t need to be a celebrity. When it comes to sex, everyone is in equal playing field. It’s just a matter of making the most out of your assets and establishing techniques that work. Don’t forget to experiment too since women love it.
If you want a fitter, more muscular and healthier you, then include regular exercise and healthy diet in your routine.
10. Fear: Another Issue You Need to Deal with for Better Sex
They say the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. Sounds easier said than done, don’t you think?
Here’s the thing: the first time you had trouble down south is excusable, although it may already cause an alarm. The second and succeeding times may cause panic. Because of this, you feel alarmed and worried that you will never be able to regain your normal sexual function. Slowly, fear is eating up your system, getting in the way inside the bedroom, and the next thing you know, you can’t get it up or sustain an erection.
Indeed, the struggle is real. However, you can’t say goodbye to fear and get your erections back unless you face it.
Don’t worry. Aside from the glimpse of what you can do to address mental ED, there are treatments available, which will be discussed further below.
11. Relax: Reasons Your High Expectations Can Lead to a Poor Performance in Bed
Who doesn’t want to please a woman in bed? You read every sex advice in men’s magazines, watched porn videos for inspiration, and even took some tips from guy friends to make sure that you do your best.
Despite ample preparation, there will be instances wherein things won’t go your way. Because of high expectations, you ended up getting disappointed because you felt you weren’t good enough.
Here’s the problem part: you refused to do it out of fear or failure. Apparently, that’s not how it works.
The next time you landed a sex session, take it easy and keep your expectations realistic. It’s okay if it didn’t work the first time. Try and try again until you are able to figure out the right groove inside the bedroom.
12. Getting Help: Tips in Finding the Right Sex Therapist
Now that you established that psychological issues are getting in the way, it’s time to meet another type of medical professional that will help you in this arena: the sex therapist.
A sex therapist will help you recognize the psychological issues taking over your body and at the same time, provide solutions to keep you relaxed and enjoy physical intimacy. However, it’s not just any sex therapist you could find in the phone book. Here are tips in choosing a sex therapist you can work with:
- Must be a member of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Has experience in dealing with issues like erectile dysfunction and relationship problems.
- Ask recommendations from your doctor, family, and colleagues who went through the same ordeal.
- Someone you can easily talk to anytime of the day.
- Charges a reasonable professional or consultation fee.
More importantly, choose a sex therapist that makes you feel comfortable to open up. Keep in mind that you will be working with her until psychological impotence is no longer an issue. Think long term when it comes to choosing your sex therapist.
Speaking of treatment, below are various and more precise psychological impotence treatment options available to you aside from speaking to a sex therapist.
13. Psychotherapy: Another Solution to Your Psychological Erectile Dysfunction
Admit it. You are tempted to request for Viagra prescription every time you can’t get it up. The problem is the little blue pill is designed to address physical causes of ED and what goes in your mind is beyond its power.
In that case, try psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is a treatment designed to help you build stronger and more communicative relationship. Once you start to feel better about intimacy and your partner, the less pressure you will experience inside the bedroom, thereby minimizing erection issues.
How Psychotherapy Works
- Talk about sexual needs and expectations and what hinders them.
- Teaches you to deal with anxiety both in and out of the bedroom.
- Encourages you to talk about your needs, wants, desires, and even fantasies inside the bedroom.
- Prioritizing different aspects of your life such as work and relationships.
You can attend on your own or as a couple, especially during the initial session. However, it is advisable that you do this together with your partner. This way, your therapist will have a better understanding of your needs and what needs to be addressed and help you come up with techniques to enjoy physical and emotional intimacy.
14. Medications and Sex Devices to Help Save Your Day
Psychotherapy is helpful in treating psychological impotence. However, there are instances when you need medical help such as prescription drugs and sex devices to ensure your man’s cooperation in bed. This includes:
- PDE5 inhibitors, although this is not safe and effective for all men.
- Vacuum devices, a temporary fix for men.
- Penis rings, but use with caution.
- Prescription drugs to balance chemicals and hormones inside your body.
- Anti-depressant drugs, although this is not recommended for long-term use.
This is why it is best to talk to your doctor to identify what is the best and most appropriate treatment for you.
15. Open the Communication Lines to Improve Your Sex Life
You already know that relationship issues are among the reasons why you are having trouble in the erection department. Since you can’t get it up, you also end up saying no and pushing her away to avoid frustration and embarrassment. This could make your overall sex life worse.
A sex therapist or couples therapy could help solve problems in and out of the bedroom. Before you consult anyone, consider this tip first: open the communication lines.
The best way to address this is to sit down and lay the honesty card down on the table. Aside from talking about your concerns and worries, take some time to discuss your sex life and how much you value it. By talking, you will be able to come up with solutions to your problems, strengthen the relationship, and encourage intimacy inside the bedroom.
16. When It Comes to ED, It’s All About Mind Over Matter
They say “it’s all in the mind.” In fact, how many times have you heard of the phrase?
Let me tell you something about psychological impotence: it is all in your mind. Apparently, your mental health has a tremendous effect on your sexual function. If you chose to be scared or embrace stress instead conquering psychological impotence, then it will stay that way.
The good news is you can do something about it and changing your mindset is a good way to start. Together with the treatment options mentioned, start training your mind to focus on the pleasure and feelings brought by arousal and sensation. After all, at the end of the day, the experience matters.
The bottom line: free your mind.
What You Should Remember
What’s causing your erection issues – physical problems or your mental health? If your mind is getting in the way, then take note of these 16 facts and tips about psychological impotence.
However, the most important reminder is this: be patient. Treatment and lifestyle changes will help in getting your groove back inside the bedroom. Nevertheless, it will take some time before you see noticeable results. In case the results are not apparent, don’t give up.