Can Stress and Anxiety Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Why Anxiety is so linked to ED

To be honest, nowadays mental health problems have started affecting our daily life and routine activities, and especially for men, this might mean their sexual performance and ability to have erections. Some studies have found that almost a quarter percentage of men dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) can also suffer from depression, anxiety, or both, though we don’t know for sure how widespread the issue really is.

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According to a study, Erectile dysfunction (ED) or Impotence affects nearly 20% of men in the whole U.S., but the link between stress, depression, anxiety, and sexual health isn’t often discussed. The psychological inputs allow the body to achieve erections at the desired time—mental distractions affect the sexual ability. A 2005 study shows that performance anxiety disorder could cause and maintain the sexual dysfunction between both men and women. A more recent study trusted Source from 2015 found a connection between depression and performance anxiety & noted that there might be a link between performance anxiety and ED (Erectile Disorder). 

Considering a recent report, Erectile Disorder/Dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects about 18 million American men over the age of 20. Needless to say that, feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed can make it hard to feel or sustain sexual pleasure. 

According to a professional expert, "There is also an association between depression, anxiety, and erectile dysfunction—likely due to general life dissatisfaction, reduction in sexual desire, or medication side effects".

How Close Performance-Anxiety & ED Are

There’re two types of stress, good stress, and bad stress; When it comes to doing the sexual performance on bed, and stress, depression, and anxiety fall under the latter. When our brain starts experiencing healthy stress — for instance, from a workout, being into a new relationship, or promotion/appraisal at work, etc. — our body tends to release the testosterone. When you’re sexually stimulated, that extra testosterone helps to relax the blood vessels in your penis and cause an erection.

In recent years, we’ve been getting more and more questions about pornography-induced erectile dysfunction. While watching these kinds of videos isn’t a mental health disease, it does have to do with the mind having an effect on sexual health.

However, when your brain is under unhealthy stress like traumatic events, recent breakup, or work stress, etc. — your body can release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol constricts the blood vessels in your penis. When blood won't be flowing properly to your penis, that’s when you may have difficulty achieving an erection.

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