While it is currently believed that most cases of erectile dysfunction have a physical source, for some men, the cause is psychological. And even men whose difficulties are caused by a physical problem – nerve injury or circulatory issues, for example – may find that their condition is exacerbated by psychological factors. This means that attending to the mind may be as crucial as physical approaches to managing sexual dysfunction. Since a vibrant sex life is imperative both to penis health and overall quality of life, it’s important for men to get a handle on performance issues. The following are three psychological causes of erectile dysfunction that a psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist can help men manage.
Some people lead extraordinarily stressful lives – demanding or dangerous jobs, family problems, relationship calamities, for example. Others may have a fairly normal amount of stress, but have not cultivated the coping skills necessary to deal well. All men with chronic stress could use some help developing those skills, and a mental health professional is a fantastic resource.
What’s stress got to do with erectile dysfunction? When a person is stressed, his or her body pumps out the hormone cortisol. In men, chronically high amounts of cortisol impede the production of testosterone, which is needed in plentiful supply to maintain sex drive and erectile ability. Managing stress, then, could manage cortisol levels and, in turn, testosterone levels.
Anxiety is a form of stress that may be general in nature or sex- or relationship-specific. People with general anxiety tend to feel disproportionate anxiety in response to situations that are not dangerous or necessarily worrisome. Some men experience anxiety specifically concerning sex, sometimes due to feelings of inadequacy. Still other men may have anxiety concerning aspects of their relationships with their partners.
Anxiety sparks the body’s fight or flight response, part of which is cortisol release. It’s also worth noting, in connection with erectile ability, that this response involves the constriction of blood vessels throughout the body; this can prevent the in-rush of blood needed in order to achieve an erection. Therapy can help men deal with all forms of anxiety, whether general or specific.
Depression has many physical symptoms, one of which is reduced sex drive and poor erectile health. The exact cause of depression is unknown; for some people, it’s situational. Other times, it’s a more general and nebulous phenomenon. While some think imbalances in brain chemicals cause the condition, it could be that chemical imbalances are a symptom rather than the cause.
Either way, it is believed that the imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain is behind the sexual symptoms associated with depression. The process of becoming erect is rather complex, involving the nervous system and circulatory system. It is thought that the chemical messengers within the brain of a person with depression aren’t sufficient to spark blood flow to the penis, thereby inhibiting erections. Talk therapy can be immensely beneficial to people with depression, whether general or situational.
One thing men can do for themselves is take a step to gain confidence in what they’re packing. Feeling good about one’s equipment can alleviate worries about penis appearance; also, being proactive is itself a move to feel good about. Men should consider investing in a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil), especially if they have poor skin condition that causes embarrassment or anxiety. A quality cream will contain Shea butter, a natural plant-based emollient that promotes smooth, supple skin. Vitamin C may help reduce wrinkles as well as improve circulation within the member. Finally, look for vitamin A on the ingredient list; its natural antibacterial properties can keep penile odors at bay.
Erectile Dysfunction – Causes a Psychologist can Help With