How to Know if Erectile Dysfunction is Physical or Psychological?

Problems related to erectile dysfunction and the causes may not be clear. However, there are some general ways to get a better knowledge about what the patient might be going through. For this, a male can think of how his body gives various responses in different sexual encounters.

How to Know if Erectile Dysfunction is Physical or Psychological
How to Know if Erectile Dysfunction is Physical or Psychological

The physician starts by checking what treatment and medicines the patient is taking that can intervene with their sexual functioning.

Secondly, if the patient has a normal erection during sleep or in the morning (known as the nocturnal penile tumescence) then there might be no problems with the penile erection to start with.

Self Test: If a man is not sure, he can surround a very thin and narrow piece of tissue paper around the flaccid penis, and secure it with a little piece of scotch tape. It is likely that if one has an erection during sleep the paper will break to some extent.

If he gets an erection during sleep, but not during any other circumstance this indicates that the cause of dysfunction may be psychological.

The third thing a man needs to consider is his experience with masturbation. If a man is getting aroused when he is alone and not when he is with his partner, the cause must be psychological.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to keep an erection firm enough for a sexual purpose. It’s a very common sexual problem that is affecting around 30 million men in the US.

Most cases of ED have a biological reason, such as heart disorder, diabetes, and heftiness. Lifestyle preferences like smoking and drinking undue quantities of alcohol may also lead to ED. However, for some men, psychological problems are the origin of the issue.


Psychological cases have actual, biological effects. Anxiety, for instance, is something that several people infer exists in your skull. But tension can result in raised heart rate, blood pressure problems, and exhaustion. This, in turn, can influence your sexual execution. In fact, anxiety is one of the most widespread psychological reasons for ED.


Every person goes through stress and anxiety at some level in their life. Occasionally, stress can help as an influential motivator. But actually serious stress can influence your capacity to attain and retain sexual achievement. You don’t have to be holding up a large burden of stress for it to influence your sexual health.


Depression can be frequently caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can influence both sexual intention and sexual function.

Several men don’t acknowledge the signs of depression, and some are hesitant to pursue aid as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The big information is that most men will return to feeling regular, regain healthful sexual attention, and fix their ED problem with reasonable treatment for depression.

Relationship crisis

The quiet therapy isn’t the only thing you’ll encounter if you and your spouse have been pleading. Difficulties in your sentimental relationship can influence your sexual relationship.

Assertions, bad communication, and anger can influence your sexual intention and sexual process. Struggling through these difficulties with your spouse can worsen your signs of ED.

If you have problems fixing relationship problems on your own, seek out an adviser or therapist who can help.

The stress of sexual dysfunction

The first time you encounter ED you may become nervous if you’ll ever recover to natural sexual function. This can lead to worry or terrible self-esteem. These emotions may influence your ability to attain or retain an erection in your following sexual encounter.

This process can persist until you see your doctor and find the proper treatment which can help your fight the fear of sexual dysfunction.

Performance Anxiety

In several ways, execution tension becomes a self-fulfilling vision in which you become worried about being able to fulfill your partner. That anxiety can pursue you into the room and may lead to erectile dysfunction.

​​In some cases, execution anxiety is accelerated by adverse self-talk- worries about being able to attain an erection, please your spouse or avoid ejaculating too fast.

If you’ve found it hard to get an erection in the past, these events may also stick in your intellect and affect your capacity to relieve in the bedroom.

Guilt and Low Self-Esteem

Several men who undergo erectile dysfunction feel bad about not being able to satisfy their spouses. If the crisis prevails, the stigma becomes more than barely an insignificant issue- it can frequently contribute to the continuous cycle of ED as well.

Guilt and embarrassment are popular emotions that are frequently correlated to mental fitness issues, involving major depression. In fact, emotions of sorrow and guilt are common indications of depression.

Low self-esteem may moreover contribute to psychological ED. If you feel underconfident about your sexual execution, or you are bothered that you’re not impressive enough for your spouse, this can influence your danger of suffering sexual performance issues.

Like with several other aspects of psychological erectile dysfunction, low self-esteem and sexual execution problems frequently make each other worse.

In a scientific study, investigators found that erectile dysfunction can result in severe discomfort to men and that this distress can have an actual influence on self-esteem and the integrity of relationships.

The relationship between erectile dysfunction and depression, tension, and self-esteem no matter how complicated, exists, which is justified by many studies around the globe.

Medication Options for Psychological ED

Just like erectile dysfunction that’s induced by health issues, psychological ED is nearly ever treatable.

However, you should understand that dealing with psychological ED isn’t invariably quite as easy as taking a pill of sildenafil (the effective element in Viagra) before intercourse. 1

Most ED drugs are PDE5 inhibitors that function by rising blood flow to the soft tissue in your penis. These medications are formulated to avoid the physiological reasons of ED, such as bad blood flow or harm to your nerves.                 

Although these treatments are beneficial in dealing with ED for various men, they aren’t formulated to have any effect on your attitude, emotions, or thoughts. As such, they may not assist you to handle problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression.

The promising strategy to treat psychological erectile dysfunction is to communicate the root of the crisis, whether it’s a cognitive illness or just feelings of guilt about sex.

Cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) is a widespread treatment for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. The study also demonstrates that it’s helpful as a form of therapy for men with ED.

This type of therapy helps to specify and alter harmful habits of intuition and behavior that may be contributing to your erectile dysfunction and sexual health problems.

This sort of therapy is established on the notion that the problem itself (in this case, your incapacity to attain or retain an erection) isn’t the core problem — rather, your response to it is.

If you can learn to better understand your thinking habits, you may be able to remake them in a suitable way to solve your problems.

The second option is psychosexual treatment or sex medication. This is a specialized pattern of counseling that’s constructed to assist you (and, in several cases, your partner) overcome sexual dysfunction cases such as erectile dysfunction.

If you aren’t totally willing to speak to a therapist about your psychological ED, there are several alternative treatments you can attempt at home. These include:

  1. Medication Although there’s no immediate study on the consequences of meditation on erectile dysfunction, researchers have found that some kinds of meditation may rectify depression and anxiety.
  1. Leisure techniques Other methods for promoting relaxation and lessening stress, such as harmonious breathing and steered imagery, may assist you to resist psychogenic ED and improve your sexual motive.

If you are suffering from psychological ED, you possibly have a lot on your psyche. It is significant to realize, however, that communicating about ED with your healthcare provider and spouse is a crucial part of the recovery procedure.

Treatments for psychological factors of ED

Psychological reasons for ED aren’t normally shared within the treatment. However, therapies can assist in cases where a chemical imbalance is arising in a case. For instance, men who have depression may find solace in their indications, as well as ED, when they start antidepressant therapy.

Many of the psychological difficulties above compel therapy, tolerance, and time. Your physician can work with you to discover the best course of therapy.

Discussing your problems with your physician is most important to get rid of all the health abnormalities before they can worsen.

About the author

Deepanshu has a Master's in chemistry. He has worked extensively on research subjects regarding cancer and radio nuclear science and has continually reviewed nutrition science.

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