Discussions about erectile dysfunction typically center around the physical aspect of the condition with sexual performance at the forefront. However, there is another side of ED, one that isn’t so openly discussed. That how it affects the man’s mental wellbeing and quality of life.
As healthcare professionals are beginning to shine more light on how ED affects a man psychologically, doors are opening for those issues to be addressed.
An unrealistic bill of goods
The psychological impact of ED can be significant. For many, if not most, men their identity and self-esteem is connected, to some degree, to their ability to perform sexually. The virile male is portrayed as the hero in movies and other media. He gets all the girls and there is tremendous emphasis on his “maleness” or sexual prowess. They are sold this unrealistic bill of goods and told they must model after the fantasy in order to attain an impossible standard.
So, when a man is not able to meet that standard, he can become depressed, anxious, stressed, and even guilty. His self-esteem may decline, causing him to withdraw socially which only serves to heighten the emotional and psychological issues that he is experiencing.
ED and depression: A vicious cycle
It is well-known that depression can be a causative factor in erectile dysfunction, as can stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and guilt. However, a patient can experience any or all of these issues as a result of ED. So, the more depressed their ED makes them, the worse the ED gets. What’s more, the medication administered to treat depression can also cause ED.
It is a never-ending, vicious cycle.
As ED continues to impact the man’s life from a physical standpoint, he may begin to feel depressed or anxious. If depression or anxiety are the cause of the condition, the Ed is likely to exacerbate the mental health issues.
Talking to your partner
ED is obviously difficult for the man who is experiencing it, but it can be equally difficult for his partner as well. The person may feel rejected or believe that they have done something wrong or have failed in some way.
What both the man and his partner need to understand is that almost all men experience ED at some point. They also need to realize that there is more to the man than his sexual performance. By taking time to enjoy each other and focus on the pleasure they are receiving and giving, both people may feel that the pressure has been removed and they can relax.
By bringing his partner into the conversation, the man can begin to set up his support system. A frank, open discussion about the problem can clear the air and allow both of them to relax. This could actually help resolve the issue. It may also be a good idea for the partner to talk to the doctor so they can get a better understanding of the condition.
Combating the psychological impact of ED
If you suffer from ED and are depressed as a result, there are things you can do to feel better.
- Reach out to friends and family; do not withdraw socially.
- Remember that your identity is not tied to your erection.
- List your “selling points” – the good things about you that have nothing to do with sexual performance or ED.
- Exercise three to five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes and get your heart rate up.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet and don’t skip meals.
- Get plenty of good, restful sleep.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
- Smile at a stranger
- Help someone in need
- Learn to love yourself
At ARC Men’s Health, we understand the frustration and other confusing, upsetting emotions that can accompany erectile dysfunction. We offer a drug free, noninvasive, side effect free treatment for ED. Contact us today to learn more about this groundbreaking treatment. Help is out there, let us show you.