Impotence, sometimes referred to as erectile dysfunction (ED), is the inability to obtain and sustain an erection for long enough to engage in satisfying sexual activity. ED can affect up to 52% of men globally.1 However, ED typically strikes all males at some point in their lives.
Stress can impact sexual performance and lead to ED. The influence of stress on a person’s physical, mental, and sexual health is discussed in this article, along with methods for reducing stress to enhance quality of life.
The Relationship Between Stress and Sexuality
Our biological survival systems include coping with stress.
As is common knowledge, our reactions to actual or perceived dangers are known as the stress response.Adrenaline and cortisol are the two major hormones that contribute to the fight-or-flight response.
The adrenal glands create adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, which operates quickly to prepare us to respond to danger. Cortisol is released for several hours after the height of the adrenaline rush. Until the threat has passed, cortisol keeps us in a less acute but nonetheless stressed condition.
Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Causes
Anxiety can produce fast breathing, elevated blood pressure, and a stress response that can increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Up to 37% of men with ED have anxiety issues as well. Researchers believe that anxiety changes how the sympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of initiating and maintaining erections, operates.6
A lack of sexual confidence that might cause secondary sadness can exacerbate the chronic anxiety that causes ED.
Abuse, Sexual Trauma, or PTSD
Men who have a history of trauma, abuse, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to develop ED.7 This might make things more difficult since males who have been the targets of abuse may feel embarrassed or stigmatised about talking about their experiences with trauma and/or abuse.
While this makes getting the support you need challenging, it’s crucial to find a reputable healthcare provider or mental health expert to help you get over the abuse.
Work and Financial Stress
Significant psychological stress is also a result of work or financial issues. Financial hardship and unexpected job loss are important ED risk factors. It has been demonstrated that when a person loses their job or feels threatened in their employment, their sexual desire may decline.8
A chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in the brain is the cause of depression. Erectile dysfunction and increased levels of depression symptoms have been linked in several studies.8
males are four times more likely to die by suicide than women, suggesting that many males are suffering from untreated depression despite the fact that women are twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of depression.
Sexual Performance Anxiety\
After an ED episode, there may be a fear that it will recur again. This may lead to pressure to perform well and performance anxiety.10
ED could appear to the brain as a failure. The body and subconscious mind will both restrict a man’s arousal and prevent an erection when he tries to have another sexual experience, which starts an ED cycle.10
When they compare their performance to that of what is seen in adult films (pornography), many men have worry about their sexual performance. Performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction may result from trying to replicate what is depicted in adult films with heavy production values and enhancements.11
An essential component of treating ED is counselling or therapy, which has been demonstrated to be more beneficial when used in conjunction with medication than when taken alone.17
There are many other categories of mental health practitioners, including sex therapists and marriage and family therapists. Think about working with a pro, perhaps alongside your partner.
See this article for details on the causes of Men Health.