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Anxiety And Erectile Dysfunction

Anxiety And Erectile Dysfunction

Anxiety and erectile dysfunction: a global approach to ED enhances results and quality of life

Anxiety plays a major role in the development of the problems associated with erectile dysfunction (ED). Psychological and behavioural responses to ED can lead to a vicious cycle of increased uneasiness, distance and conflicts. This in turn leads to a lower frequency of sexual encounters, less time spent together and lack of communication between partners in a relationship. In this review, methods to decrease sexual anxiety are discussed. Primary care psychosexual counselling including a detailed explanation of ED, reassurance to the patient and proposal of a solution for ED are outlined. A multidisciplinary approach to ED therapy is recommended using psychosexual counselling in conjuction with pharmacotherapy.

How do stress and anxiety cause erectile dysfunction?

You can experience three types of erections: reflexive (due to physical stimulation), psychogenic (due to visual or mental associations), and nocturnal (during sleep). These types of erections involve important bodily systems and processes. A disruption in any of these processes can cause ED.

These include:

  • nervous system
  • blood vessels
  • muscles
  • hormones
  • emotions

Mental health conditions like stress and anxiety can also affect how your brain signals your body’s physical response. In the case of an erection, stress and anxiety can interrupt how your brain sends messages to the penis to allow extra blood flow.

Psychological causes of ED

Psychological issues contributing to ED aren’t as easy to detect, diagnose, and treat. The most common psychological causes for ED include the following:


Psychological issues have real, physical effects. Anxiety, for example, is something that many people assume exists in your head. But anxiety can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure issues, and fatigue. This, in turn, can affect your sexual performance. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common psychological causes of ED.


Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. Sometimes, stress can serve as a powerful motivator. But even simple stress — a presentation at work tomorrow, for example — can affect your ability to achieve and maintain sexual performance. You don’t have to be carrying a large load of stress for it to affect your sexual health.


Depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can affect both sexual desire and sexual function. For men, however, depression isn’t always an easy diagnosis. Many men don’t recognize the symptoms of depression, and some are reluctant to seek help, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The good news is that most men will return to feeling normal, regain healthy sexual interest, and resolve their ED problem with proper treatment for depression.

Relationship problems

The silent treatment isn’t the only thing you’ll experience if you and your partner have been arguing. Troubles in your emotional relationship can affect your sexual relationship.

Arguments, poor communication, and anger can affect your sexual desire and sexual function. Working through these problems with your partner can help ease your symptoms of ED.

Fear of sexual dysfunction

The first time you experience ED, you may become worried that you’ll never regain normal sexual function. This can lead to fear or low self-esteem. These feelings may affect your ability to achieve or maintain an erection in your next sexual encounter.

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