Erectile Dysfunction and Its Effects on the Male Psyche
It’s no secret that many men equate their erections with their self-worth. Any issue with being able to maintain an erection is a bit to that man’s masculinity and ‘manliness’, which means that suffering from erectile dysfunction can lead to them losing confidence in themselves and in their ability to please their partners. It is common for a man suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) to experience feelings of depression and anxiety, which can spill over from their sexual relationships into their social and work life as well.
Despite ED being embarrassing to talk about initially, it is important that these conversations happen. Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that affects millions of men. In fact, about 5 percent of 40-year-olds and nearly 25 percent of 65-year-olds experience ED on a long-term basis. But these men aren’t the only ones affected. As we mentioned before, erectile dysfunction impacts their partners, too.
Even if you have trouble talking about ED with your partner, experts claim that doing this is vital if you want to maintain a healthy relationship. In some cases, speaking with a therapist may be necessary to work past problems and improve a couple’s sexual and overall relationship.
The Emotional Impact of Erectile Dysfunction
Men who experience impotence struggle with more than just the physical condition; the psychological and emotional aspects of ED are also distressing. Impotence can trigger feelings of low self-esteem and depression. These feelings can, in turn, lead to something called anticipatory anxiety, whereby the man may play a spectator role, in which he steps outside of himself to view how he’s performing. This can lead to the man refusing to be intimate with his partner for fear of disappointing her, which in turn leads to the partner asking several questions like ‘What am I not doing right?’ or ‘Why isn’t he attracted to me?’
Dealing with ED Diagnosis and Treatment
When dealing with an ED diagnosis, it’s important to communicate with your partner. In many cases, men don’t want to talk about erectile dysfunction when it happens, but not talking about it can negatively impact their sexual relationships. Communicating enables both partners to confront their feelings about ED, and work together to solve the problem. A proactive attitude toward erectile dysfunction is crucial and can make a significant difference in how it’s handled.
The Emotional Benefits of Sex Therapy
The perception today is that ED is something that can be treated simply by taking a pill. But working with a licensed therapist who is trained in sex therapy can help couples resolve the underlying emotional and psychological problems that may be causing ED. Relationship counselling can also be beneficial because it helps guide couples as they deal with erectile dysfunction and the complicated issues associated with it.
Main Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
We’ve spoken at great length on how to deal with ED, but it might be helpful to know what sort of health issues or mental issues can cause the issue in the first place.
It is always worth consulting a physician about persistent erection problems, as it could be caused by a serious medical condition. Whether the cause is simple or serious, a proper diagnosis can help to address any underlying medical issues and help resolve sexual difficulties. Some physical issues that can cause erectile dysfunction include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, structural or anatomical disorder of the penis, such as Peyronie disease and smoking, alcoholism and substance abuse. There are also psychological factors that can contribute to your failure to maintain an erection, such as stress, anxiety, anger and low self-esteem.
It is important to note that there can be overlap between medical and psychosocial causes. For instance, if a man is obese, blood flow changes can affect his ability to maintain an erection, which is a physical cause. However, he may also have low self-esteem, which can impact erectile function and is a psychosocial cause.
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