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Is Erectile Dysfunction Mental Or Physical Causes?

What Erectile Dysfunction Is And Isn’t

Erectile dysfunction is the chronic or ongoing failure to get or sustain an erection. A man at any age can fail to achieve a desired erection or lose an erection during lovemaking. In youth, the situation is embarrassing and sometimes confusing.

Most men, however, know that the occasional erectile problem is typically linked to fatigue, over consumption of food or drink, or a relationship issue. At midlife, a man may read a lot more into a bout of ED. He may see his future in a single failed erection. How he and his partner handle this situation can determine how frequent they will be. As men get older they experience natural and common changes in their sexual response.

The following normal situations do not indicate ED

1) You need direct penile stimulation to have an erection, and you no longer get an erection just from thinking about sex or seeing your partner in an alluring pose. It takes you longer to achieve erection.
2) You require more time to achieve ejaculation. After a period of intercourse, your erection subsides, and after ejaculation, your erection subsides more quickly than when you were younger.
3) Your erection isn’t as hard as it was when you were a teenager.
4) You need more time to recover between ejaculations.

Such changes are gradual, and you shouldn’t be frightened by them. Changing response patterns enable a man to be a better lover than he was because he is now responding at a pace more similar to his partner’s. Lack of knowledge and refusal to accept the aging process as an erotic opportunity can prevent men from seizing the sexual moment. Anxiety also plays a major role in creating an ED dynamic. If a man misinterprets his responses and becomes anxious about his potency, he will be tense and fearful about lovemaking and may end up making an erectile dysfunction out of a normal occurrence.

Some men do experience erection difficulties that are more serious than the normal changes associated with aging. Psychological factors, ranging from performance and stress issues to intimacy conflicts, can contribute to erection disorders. Physical problems, such as diabetes, vascular disease, and urological and neurological conditions, can also cause ED. Heavy smokers and drinkers may suffer extensive damage to the small blood vessels including those in the penis which leads to ED.

For most men, ED stems from a combination of psychological factors that need to be addressed. The best approach is a comprehensive psych-based program like the one found at online. A simple prescription drug isn’t likely to solve the problem.

When ED is rooted in psychological issues, the cause is likely to be:


Unacknowledged and unexpressed anger can sit on the end of a penis and hold it down. As noted in previous chapters, repressed anger, whether at the partner or not, has a devastating effect on sexuality.

Intimacy conflicts

Maybe your penis is trying to tell you something about the relationship. Conflicts that have been ignored or papered over for years can cause sexual functioning problems now.


Libido is often a casualty of depression, even low-level depression, especially if prolonged. A bout of ED can increase a man’s feelings of discouragement. While antidepressants such as Prozac may lift the depression, they may fail to lift the penis.


At midlife a man has to learn stress management or face increasing bouts of ED. When he was young, he could get and maintain an erection in spite of stress. That’s less likely now.


Concerns about job security, personal finances, and family issues such as problems with teenage children and aging parents can also create a psychological climate for ED. If a man is feeling powerless in the world, he may convey that message to his penis. Generally, worry and stress are short-term situations. They may result in brief periods of ED that can be overcome in a good relationship.

Performance anxiety

One occurrence of ED can set up the cycle of failure, anxiety, failure. In fact, performance anxiety is probably the most common contributing, or secondary, psychological cause of ED

Andrew Faix

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