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Home / Erectile Dysfunction / The Psychological Aspects of Erectile Dysfunction

The Psychological Aspects of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction isn't always caused by physical problems; sometimes the causes are psychological in nature. It's estimated that psychological reasons cause 10 to 20% of all erectile dysfunction cases. If your erectile dysfunction is caused because of psychological reasons, a prescription treatment might not help to cure your condition.

Erectile dysfunction can be caused because of the following reasons:


You may suffer from erectile dysfunction if you are too stressed. Stress related erectile dysfunction is commonly caused by work, money worries or relationship troubles, for example.

Erectile dysfunction may lead to stressAnxiety

Anxiety can be caused by many different factors. Men who are nervous about sleeping with a new partner can often suffer from performance anxiety, leading to erectile dysfunction. Anxiety can be a self perpetuating problem. If you have experienced erectile dysfunction once, it could cause you to fear that it may happen to you again, leading to repeated erectile problems.


Guilt too can be a self perpetuating problem. Guilt can be experienced by men who feel bad about committing infidelity or beginning a new relationship if one has just ended.


If you suffer from clinical depression, it's likely that you will suffer from erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, this may be the only physical indication of your depression. If you suffer from depression you may experience erectile dysfunction even if you feel confident in sexual situations. Men are more likely to try and suppress or mask their depression than women and might be reluctant to discuss their psychological well being.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, it's extremely important to seek professional medical help and advice. Unless you are able to alleviate your feelings of depression, any erectile dysfunction treatment you seek will be unsuccessful.

Low self esteem

You may be suffering from erectile dysfunction if you have low self esteem, which can be caused by a number of external factors such as losing your job or a close relationship break up. If you feel negative about yourself, this may have a detrimental effect on your sexual performance. Erectile dysfunction can also cause low self esteem, which can prevent you from enjoying a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

Treating psychologically induced erectile dysfunction

Many psychological causes of erectile dysfunction cannot be treated with prescription medication alone, because these treatments will not 'fix' the problem. It is important that you seek professional medical advice and guidance to help treat your problem properly. In most cases, counselling and/or sex therapy is recommended.

The availability of relationship counselling is very limited on the NHS and may require you to seek private treatment. Speaking to a counsellor can help you and your partner to rectify the issues that have caused your erectile dysfunction. A counsellor can help you to communicate openly with your partner to help you solve your issues and erectile dysfunction problem.

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