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Psychological impact of erectile dysfunction

Psychological impact of erectile dysfunction
3 minute read

Understand and manage the effect that ED can have on your mental health.  


Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to get, or maintain, an erection long enough to have sex. 

It affects many men, especially as they get older. According to research from the Irish Heart Foundation, almost 20% of men in their 50s suffer from ED, climbing to 38% of men in their 60s, and 57% of men over 70. 


It’s not just a physical problem. Probably the most upsetting aspect of erectile dysfunction is the effect it can have on your mental health too. Here are the most common psychological impacts of erectile dysfunction, and easy ways you can tackle them.


Buy erectile dysfunction medication online 



Erectile dysfunction problems can make you feel guilty. You might feel bad that you can’t satisfy your partner, that their own sex life is suffering. You might start to believe your erectile dysfunction means you’re letting your partner down. You might feel selfish spending money on treatments, or bad about how preoccupied you’ve become with sex. Over time, feelings of guilt can turn into resentment, and you may begin to see your partner’s comments and suggestions as veiled complaints.


How to overcome guilt


Remember, even if you can’t perform sexually at the moment, you can still be a valuable, loving, lovable partner. There are many different ways you can satisfy your partner sexually that don’t involve full sex. Talk to your partner about their feelings. Allow yourself to be reassured. 


And investing money in your sex life isn’t selfish, it’s actually smart. Sex has many health benefits. Orgasms help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve cardiovascular functioning and boost your immune system. So the more you can improve your sex life, the healthier you’ll be, for longer. 




Many men suffering from erectile dysfunction become depressed. It can start as a mild feeling of sadness, but quickly slide into despair, fear and hopelessness. The most debilitating part of depression is that it can stop you taking action that would make you feel better. For example, you might not speak to your GP about erectile problems, or try any of the treatments.  



How to overcome depression 


Medication for depression is effective, but bear in mind that some antidepressants can make erectile dysfunction worse (link to natural remedies blog section on medication) so always speak to a GP about possible side effects first.  


Try adopting a healthy lifestyle, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, increasing your exercise, and eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and healthy fats. Get out for a walk (ideally in nature) every day for 20 minutes, come what may. Living healthier will improve your mood, and it has been shown to have a positive effect on erectile dysfunction. Win, win!


Speak to a GP online here. Fast appointments, in confidence.


Low Self-Esteem 


Low self-esteem is very common among men with erectile dysfunction. With so much of your identity tied into your ability to fulfil your partner, you might start to feel useless and inadequate in all areas of your life. You could find yourself pulling away from your partner emotionally or seeking out different people to boost your self-worth. Your performance at work might suffer, too.  


How to overcome low self-esteem  


Setting and achieving goals – even really small ones -- is an effective way to boost your self-esteem. Try this tip. There are many different treatments for erectile dysfunction, so make a list of different treatments you’d be happy to try, then talk to a GP about getting started. 


Talk to a GP online now 




Very few men accept erectile dysfunction with a stoic shrug. It’s much more likely to cause you to feel negative emotions like anger, envy and even bitterness. 


How to overcome anger 


Don’t self-medicate your rage with alcohol, drugs or nicotine as they can all make erectile dysfunction worse. Also, remember that stress, tension and lack of sleep can also affect your erections. Talking to a counsellor is a good way to offload feelings of anger and discover helpful ways to manage negative thoughts. You could also try calming activities like meditation, exercise and yoga. (Don’t laugh! Yoga has been shown to increase blood flow, which can strengthen your erections.) 


This blog was written by Kate Taylor, a Sex Expert, Sex and Dating Features Writer, columnist and author of five books, for