In mature men, erectile dysfunction (ED) is frequently associated with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. But what are the reasons for a perfectly healthy 35-year-old male to develop erectile dysfunction? You may not realize that psychological factors contribute up to 20% of all sexual problems in men.
Common Psychological Causes of ED
Men who went through a sexual trauma in their childhood may develop erectile problems in adult age. If you were a victim of a sexual trauma as a kid, you must seriously ponder getting professional help. In this article, we are going to look at the psychological causes of ED that occur later in life.
When sexual impotence is triggered by psychological causes, it is called psychological ED. The most common causes of psychological erectile dysfunction include but are not limited to the following:
- Stress and depression
- Failure to manage panic attacks or performance anxiety
- Low self-regard
- Pornography addiction
- Relationship issues
How to Determine Whether Your ED is Psychological
It may take a bit of trial and error to determine whether your ED has psychological roots. Since most ED cases are instigated by physiological factors, your priority must be talking to your physician about your health concerns, if there are any. After reviewing your medical history and completing a few lab tests, your physician will ask you some questions to eliminate medical causes for your sexual problems.
Some of the medical causes of ED include hypertension, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, low levels of testosterone, metabolic syndrome and alcoholism. To rule out these conditions, your physician will administer tests such as complete blood count (CBC), fasting blood glucose, serum creatinine test, lipid profile, prolactin level test and some others.
In addition to lab tests, expect to complete a self-report to assess your sexual function. You will be asked whether you are able to achieve and maintain an erection and reach orgasm, whether you experienced decreased sex drive lately, as well as whether you have been satisfied with your intercourse in general.
Whether you have spoken to your physician or not, there are a few indications which may suggest that your ED is of psychological nature. Ask yourself whether:
- You are having morning erections
- You are attracted to your partner and interested in sex but have difficulty performing
- You feel nervous about not pleasing your partner
- You are experiencing abnormal level of anxiety
If you answer with “yes” to one or more questions above, your ED may well be caused by psychological reasons.
Treatment Options for Psychological ED
Although psychological causes of ED tend to be more complex than the medical ones, they are treatable. The optimal treatment for psychological ED addresses the psychological problems at their roots.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular and effective treatment for psychological ED. Facilitated by a trained therapist, this treatment option enables to identify unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior contributing to ED and eliminate them.
If you are not yet ready to discuss your psychological ED with a therapist, there are some options you can try at home. Relaxation practices, such as meditation, rhythmic breathing and guided imagery can be helpful for many causes of psychological impotence including depression, anxiety and stress.
It is vital to realize that discussing your sexual problem with your partner is a key ingredient of your healing process.