Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Causes
We all know what stress feels like and some of us experience it more often than others. Maybe its your job or a difficult life event maybe its conflict at home or financial concerns. Whether you experience chronic stress, occasional worries or even a full-blown anxiety disorder, this is likely to result in psychological impotence. Why?
When your brain and body are concerned about danger, they cant necessarily be concerned about sex. Like we mentioned earlier, stress hormones are released to the bloodstream when were stressed. These stress hormones prevent our bodies from achieving an erection.
Depression can impact all aspects of your existence like sexual function for example. It can feel like an anchor that weighs you down and makes life that much harder to live. Research shows that 75% of people with depression also have problems in the bedroom.
Depression is linked to changes in your brain chemistry and nervous system. Some of these areas also affect your sex drive or sexual desire and ability or inability to have an erection.
It may be difficult to have an erection if you are at odds with your partner. This can bleed over into your sex life. Disagreements are a part of any normal relationship, how you communicate effectively and is an important part of intimacy. Satisfying sex requires you to both feel safe and intimate with one another.
Low Self Esteem
What Can Cause Ed
Sorting out the cause of erectile dysfunction can be a difficult task given the prevalence of myths and stereotypes about male sexuality. In reality, the etiology of erectile dysfunction can be broken down into both physiological and psychological explanations.
Common physiological causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Vascular, neurological, or hormonal conditions
- Medication side effects
- Health habits
There are several psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
- Sexual abuse or repression
- Unrealistic expectations about sex
Among these psychological causes, sexual performance anxiety is the most prevalent complaint. While many men can recognize when their erectile difficulties are emotional or psychological in nature, few can explain the role of anxiety.
If youre experiencing performance anxiety, a clear understanding of the effects of anxiety on the body, including sexual functioning, can help move you towards a more satisfying sex life. Plus, anxiety & erectile dysfunction are both treatable.
Increase Nitric Oxide Levels
This vital molecule is produced in your body and helps blood vessels promote proper blood flow. As you get older, its production decreases.
To increase nitric oxide levels, you want to eat foods rich in nitric oxide. The best options are green leafy veggies, dark chocolate, and beetroot.
Dr. Amy Killen explains that you need two processes intact for keeping its levels high healthy bacteria in your mouth and stomach acid. Mouthwash kills healthy bacteria, so you want to avoid it as much as possible and any medications that decrease your stomach acid.
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Talk To A Therapist About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
If your sexual performance anxiety is persistent after trying calming techniques and talking with your partner, you might consider talking to a therapist. Therapists often use cognitive behavioral therapy to help reframe certain behaviors. CBT has been proven effective with phobias, anxiety disorders, and stress. CBT practitioners can help you identify beliefs or thought patterns that are contributing to distress during intimacy. Then they can work with you to develop skills to alter the emotional responses to these stressful thought patterns.
In the case of performance anxiety, you might have a belief like âI canât satisfy my partner, I bet they donât even enjoy having sex with meâ. A CBT practitioner would help identify that belief, challenge the thought, and help replace that belief with a new one.
Worrying That Your Penis Wont Work The Way It Should
Guys judge themselves pretty harshly when their penises dont work the way the want them to.
Will it get hard enough? Will I climax too early? And will I be able to reach orgasm at all?
These are all questions that many guys grapple with going into a sexual encounter, especially if theyve experienced sexual difficulties in the past.
These uncertainties can weigh heavily on your mind and contribute to sexual performance anxiety, leading to more severe issues over time, especially if you find yourself preoccupied with them during sex itself.
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Learn About The Different Types Of Touch You Can Share During Physical Intimacy And Practice Communicating Openly About What You Need To Stay Relaxed And Present In The Moment
Barry McCarthy, a well-known sex therapist and researcher, crafted my favorite description of the different types of touch you can share with your partner. He uses the analogy of gears to describe five different dimensions of touch. Im going to describe it briefly, but for more tips from Barry check out his book for couples by .
The Five Gears of Touch
Inevitably These Seeds Of Self
- Whats wrong with you?
- Youre so unattractive.
- Real men can keep erections, why cant you?
- Im never going to be able to orgasm because Im broken.
- I hate myself.
See what I mean about sexual performance anxiety being the silent killer?
These thoughts sneak in and destroy our ability to have good sex. We dont tell our partners that were feeling performance anxiety, shame, and self-criticism, because who wants to talk about how shitty they feel? But when we dont communicate about where were getting stuck and what is not working for us, we get stuck in a self-perpetuating loop of bad sex.
Now that youve named your sexual problem as performance anxiety, lets understand why this is happening to you and what you can do to get out of this negative cycle.
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Performance Anxiety Vs Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Performance anxiety isnt a formal diagnosis. It can be a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder , but you dont need to live with GAD to experience it. In other instances, it could be a form of situational anxiety.
You could experience performance anxiety whenever you feel you need to meet a certain standard. It could be the result of internal or external pressure real or perceived. For example, when youre expected to do well on a test.
Generalized anxiety disorder, on the other hand, may mean you experience symptoms during different situations, not only performance-related, and sometimes without any apparent cause.
Become A Master Of Foreplay
Focus on your partner and think about how you can give them as much pleasure as possible. That means getting good with your hands and mouth. It can really take the pressure off.
If you get them screaming your name before you get down to sex, theyll be a lot more relaxed about what happens after. If your partner is female, the reality is that a lot of women dont orgasm from penetrative sex anyway, and if you make her climax before youve even entered her, shell likely be happy whatever else happens.
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Try Erectile Dysfunction Treatments
Sildenafil is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction and is generally safe to use in moderation. It works by relaxing the walls of blood vessels, inside the muscles of certain areas of the body, and has helped many men get their confidence back.
If you dont have underlying medical problems, you shouldnt see Viagra as a permanent solution to erectile dysfunction caused by performance anxiety. But it certainly can help as a temporary solution.
If youre with a new partner, or its been a while, or you just feel you need to get your mojo back, Viagra can help to guarantee an erection and can take your mind off your anxiety. You need to make sure you dont use Viagra as a crutch though. You still need to address the causes of your performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety might feel overwhelming at times. But its a common problem and one that you can work to resolve. You can soon get back to your old self.
Before You Think That Performance Anxiety And Erectile Dysfunctions Are One And The Same Read This
Written by Editorial Team | Updated : November 2, 2018 9:16 PM IST
Men, we know that going to bed with your partner with a desire to get some action but failing to perform and rolling over to sleep isn’t the ideal way you want your night to end. But if this is happening to you often then know that you are not alone, inability to climax or losing an erection mid-way is quite common in men, especially those who are living a stressful life having a demanding job, financial crunches, etc. This could lead to sexual performance anxiety where you fail to climax or lose an erection mid-way. Yes, it can be embarrassing and this could make your relationship go for a toss. But before you think about the worst let us assure you that performance anxiety is not the same as erectile dysfunction where you fail to get an erection despite a stimulus. Instead, in performance anxiety, you might get an erection and lose it during the course of action. This makes it difficult for you and your partner to get enough action. The reasons for performance anxiety could be any stress, anxiety, depression, low testosterone, nerve damage, alcohol abuse and smoking, etc. Here we are talking about ways to beat performance anxiety and how to make sex pleasurable:
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Thats How To Overcome Performance Anxiety In Bed
Learning how to overcome performance anxiety in bed isnt easy. Its a process, and there are going to be bumps in the road along the way. With these tips and methods, youre sure to find something that helps ease your mind.
Remember, its likely that your anxiety is unfounded. Talk to your partner about your performance anxiety in bed and work on it together.
For more helpful articles about relationships and more, visit the rest of our site.
Try Taking Penetrative Sex Off The Table
Take the pressure off yourself and try taking penetrative sex off the table. Try other means of intimate sex instead. This might elevate the pressure to âperformâ. Focusing more so on the sensual part of sex could be a much-needed reprieve. If penetrative sex is off the table, try other ways of enjoying your partner. Try focusing on more sensual things like:
- Mega make out kissing
- Cuddle on the couch
- Dance with each other
This could help you, in the long run, to become more comfortable with your partner and yourself.
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Sexual Performance Anxiety Therapy
SPA therapy can be made up of loads of different elements. If you decide to see a therapist, theyâll probably ask you how youâre feeling, and this kind of talking therapy can be very effective to help tackle the problem.
Theyâll then give you a plan of action to help you overcome the issue. This will likely include practical meditations and sexual mindfulness techniques.
One-on-one therapy sessions arenât for everyone. If youâd like to stay anonymous, want to keep your therapy costs down, or youâre on a waiting list, you can work your way through Mojoâs sexual performance anxiety online therapy course. Itâs led by our experts, and you can do it in the privacy of your bedroom.
Causes Of Sexual Performance Anxiety
Sex is more than just a physical response. Your emotions have something to do with it, too. When your mind is too stressed out to focus on sex, your body can’t get excited either.
Lots of different worries can lead to the problem:
- Fear that you won’t perform well in bed and satisfy your partner sexually
- Poor body image, including concern over your weight
- Problems in your relationship
- Worry that your penis won’t “measure up”
- Concern about ejaculating too early or taking too long to reach orgasm
- Anxiety about not being able to have an orgasm or enjoy the sexual experience
These things may lead your body to release stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine.
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How Common Is Sexual Performance Anxiety
The short answer is: SPA is very common.
Another study shows that up to 1 in every 4 men experience performance anxiety sexually.
Because the topic is taboo and â unfortunately â associated with a sense of shame, we wouldnât be surprised if the number of people suffering was even higher than the figures suggest.
Both men and women can be impacted by SPA â but weâll be focusing on male sexual performance anxiety here.
Be Aware Of Your Overall Health
In some cases, recurrent sexual dysfunction like frequent ED can be an early warning sign of more serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or depression. If youre experiencing PE, ED, or other sexual issues, its a good idea to get medical advice from your healthcare provider.
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Approaches I Tried To Beat Performance Anxiety
Before we go into detail, here is a list of the options I pursued:
When To Seek Help
If performance anxiety is negatively impacting important areas of your life, you may benefit from professional support.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been supported by scientific research, says Tholen. CBT works because it is the most efficient method of challenging the dysfunctional thoughts that underlie performance anxiety, and the most efficient form of CBT is focused positivity strategy.
Focused positivity is a solution-based therapeutic approach that encourages you to focus on flourishing and achieving goals rather than fixating on weakness and the obstacles they create.
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Do The Moves You Enjoy
Dealing with performance anxiety during sex starts with getting in bed. The more you enjoy yourself when you’re naked, the less you’ll worry about your performance. A 2010 study in PLoS ONE found having sex every day for two weeks led to growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates stress levels. Getting into a routine, and having sex with your partner more frequently, will help you become comfortable with your body, and theirs.
Try A Meditation Practice
This might sound like some new-age hippie idea, but mindfulness meditation practices have been proven to improve anxiety and reduce stress and improve situational erectile dysfunction. In a 2018 study, researchers found great promise in the use of mindfulness meditation for the treatment of situational erectile dysfunction. This suggests meditation may provide tools to deal with the performance anxiety response in a brand new way.
The most useful takeaways from using a mediation practice for sexual performance anxiety is the learned ability to take yourself out of your worried mind and into your physical body.
To become more aware of what you are feeling physically and less aware of future-based worries. When you learn to do this, the anxious thoughts donât have the chance to build up into an anxious frenzy. This is because youâve had the thought, but instead of operating from that thought, youâve anchored your mind elsewhere. Anxiety is future-oriented. A perfect match for meditation, which can work the muscle that encourages us to step out of the perceived future and into the present moment.
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Remember To Privilege Emotional Closeness Over Sexual Performance
Again, the goal of physical intimacy isnt to reach orgasm or to progress through all five dimensions of touch. The goal is to maintain your emotional connection while sharing physical pleasure .
We all want to orgasm , but sometimes its not going to happen! We can have a wonderfully satisfying and pleasurable experience without engaging in erotic touch or intercourse. If we allow ourselves to privilege emotional connection over sexual performance and orgasm, we end up feeling less anxiety and more pleasure. Its literally a win-win scenario!
Heres the recap:
- Identify if you suffer from sexual performance anxiety
- Understand why you might be struggling with performance anxiety
- Practice strategies to help you and your partner develop a physical relationship that creates emotional closeness and physical pleasure a win-win solution!
Causes Of Performance Anxiety
Having sex isnt just a purely physical act, and sometimes your emotions can get in the way of having a good time. There are many worries that may run through your head if you are experiencing performance anxiety, including:
- Thinking that your penis isnt big enough for your partner
- Worrying that you wont be able to last as long as they want
- Fear that you dont like to do the kind of things they do, or that youre not good enough at them
- Poor body image, such as worrying that youre overweight, not muscular enough, or generally that you dont like how you look naked
- Fear that youre not masculine or dominant enough for your partner
- More general worries and stress from your life, be it work, finances, or problems in your relationship
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