Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that can affect men of all ages resulting in the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. In addition, ED affects a man’s ability to perform in bed and can cause a host of other issues. There are two types of the condition: physical ED, which is caused by physical causes like medical conditions and aging; and psychological ED, which is caused by mental factors.

Psychological causes of ED

Psychological erectile dysfunction is perhaps the most prevalent type of the condition, and it continues to grow more common by the day. Below are some of the primary causes of psychological ED.

Past sexual trauma

Research shows that a significant number of men who suffer from psychological erectile dysfunction may have experienced sexual trauma at a young age or at one point in their life. Sexual trauma can affect a man’s ability to hold and maintain an erection because they associate sex or sexual encounters with negative feelings. Memories from their traumatic experience may also be a significant reason for ED.

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are also some of the most common triggers of psychological ED. Stress can stem from work, financial strain, relationships, and life changes, among other causes. When someone is stressed, the brain releases various stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, into the bloodstream. The primary role of these hormones is to prepare the body for imminent danger. During a state of fight or flight, the brain cannot send signals to create an erection or maintain it. This is because the priority is preparing for the imminent danger, and everything else is not essential.

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On the other hand, anxiety can also significantly influence how your body operates. The body reacts to anxiety by becoming hyper-reactive. This feeling can inhibit your sex drive and cause you to become less responsive to intimate situations and emotions. Anxiety can stem from an event or a sudden circumstance that is far from ordinary. However, it is also worth mentioning that the causes can vary from one person to the next.

Guilt and performance anxiety

Some men experience psychological ED because of the guilt that they may not perform as their partners expect. The guilt may also stem from feelings that they will not or have not been able to satisfy their partners. On the other hand, performance anxiety is usually a result of fear of sexual failure. These two factors can play a significant role in the occurrence of psychological erectile dysfunction.


Studies also show that one of the most common causes of psychological ED is depression. Depression affects a person physically as well as mentally. One of the common effects of depression is the inability to hold and maintain an erection. What happens is that depression causes a lot of stress and anxiety, which may hinder testosterone production. This is a hormone that helps relax the blood vessels in the penis and trigger an erection. It is also worth noting that one of the common side effects of medications used to treat depression is ED.

Low self-esteem

A lot of men with erectile dysfunction also suffer from low self-esteem. This causes a feeling of inadequacy that causes anxiety, hindering the body’s ability to form and maintain an erection. Unfortunately, low self-esteem can also cause a host of other sexual performance issues.

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Relationship issues

Challenges and indifferences within a relationship can also cause psychological ED. These issues can result in loss of interest or sexual attraction to your partner, which may cause erectile dysfunction.


There are two primary indications of psychological ED. The first one is if you have morning erections. Getting morning erections is an indication that there is nothing physically wrong with you. The other sign of psychological ED is if you can achieve an erection when you are alone but not with your partner. If you notice either of these signs, then it’s best to contact a medical professional who can advise on possible treatments, including medication and therapy.