Does anxiety play a role in erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Anxiety can lead to problems having erections, in more ways than one. Feeling anxious now and then is part of life. However, chronic anxiety--exaggerated and persistent fear and worry--can be debilitating. Because anxiety is a form of stress, it can lower your libido, or desire to have sex. That's pretty much a guarantee that you will have problems achieving an erection. Chronic anxiety is a serious condition that warrants treatment from a mental health professional.

Many men, however, have had a bout with another kind of bedroom anxiety at one time or another. Performance anxiety is an informal term used to describe difficulty a man can have achieving an erection because he feels insecure about his attractiveness, the size of his penis, his skill as a lover, or all of the above. Performance anxiety is often a one-time problem. But if anxiety is preventing you and your partner from enjoying a fulfilling sex life, consider climbing out of bed and onto the sofa--in the office of a psychotherapist or couples counselor, who may be able to help.
Anxiety can lead to erectile dysfunction. When a man starts to worry, all the systems of the body go on alert. This changes the action of nerves, muscles and blood flow, all of which can affect the man's ability to get an erection. Anxiety about erectile dysfunction can create a kind of vicious cycle.

Always talk to your doctor if you are unable to get or maintain an erection more than 25 percent of the time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.