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Can psychological counseling help erectile dysfunction caused by stress?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Psychological counseling can help, especially if you and your partner go into therapy together. It’s called psychosexual therapy, and your good doc can connect you with a professional who can help, after he’s checked you out to make sure nothing physical is causing your erectile dysfunction (ED).

Your therapist can help you break the cycle of stress and worry that can bring on the very problem you’re worried about. (That vicious cycle is called performance anxiety, and it’s not theater we’re talking about!) When you find yourself focusing on sexual performance rather than the good sexual feelings you and your partner are feeling, it’s called spectatoring. Your therapist can work with you, and ideally with your partner, to help you focus on your sensations instead. You can explore ways to feel good together, but not actually have sex. This helps to reduce performance anxiety.

Bringing your partner into the conversation may be scary, but it can be liberating. It can lower your stress level, enhance intimacy, and help both of you talk about sex. You can also talk about any issues and conflicts in your relationship that might be getting in the way of a good sex life together. Sex is not only one of life’s pleasures, but it has real health benefits. That gives you another reason to work together with a therapist so you can express your love for each other.

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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.