Physiological vs. Psychological Erectile Dysfunction

There are many common factors that can cause physiological and psychological erectile dysfunction in men.

Did you know that 20% of men over the age of 40 will experience erectile dysfunction in their lifetime?

Did you know that 67% of men over 70 will experience ED?

What does all of this mean?

It means that a good portion of men, at some point, will run into this issue in their lifetime. That’s why you should not only be prepared but also know that, like many problems, there is a solution.

For some men, ED will occur once in a blue moon, but for others, it will occur enough times for them to be concerned about their sexual health.  

When men have ED, just about 80% of the time there is a physiological cause. That means that for about 20% of men, the cause of their ED is psychological.


Psychological Origins

The psychological origins of erectile dysfunction can be pretty varied. Some of the most common psychological origins are relationship issues, depression, stress, as well as negative sexual experiences.

But no matter the cause (psychological or physiological) there’s always an underlying psychological impact. There is good news, though! The good news is that ED is treatable! The sooner men seek out help from a medical practitioner and expert, the sooner ED can be resolved. 


Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Causes

erectile dysfunction

Psychological erectile dysfunction is a condition caused by, you guessed it, psychological factors; these factors include struggles to maintain or get an erection.

There are a number of factors that cause ED:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Low body image
  • Relationship issues
  • Anxiety
  • Performance anxiety

The most common psychological causes of impotence is performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is dangerous because it’s self-perpetuating. The more anxious a man gets about performance, the less able he is to perform; the less able he is to perform, the more anxious he is about whether he can perform… and so on. This can lead to a continuous loop that perpetually feeds itself.

Sometimes, issues at work, financial strain, or stress related to just about any area of life can have a dramatic effect on sexual performance. Loss of self-esteem, overall tiredness and poor eating habits are well-known signs of depression – and ED is commonly caused by depression.

A pattern that you may be noticing with psychological causes of ED is that they are self-perpetuating.


Physical Impotence Causes

Unlike psychological impotence, physical impotence can naturally happen due to both medical concerns or aging that both can affect genital blood flow.

For example, these medical issues that can affect ED include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Pulmonary problems

Erectile problems are most common in elderly men – though this may not be the whole story. Two of the most common causes are lower levels of testosterone, as well as reduced blood flow to the penis.

A recent study showed that 25% of patients seeking first medical help for ED were younger than 40 years old. What does this mean? This isn’t just an issue for older men.


Erectile Dysfunction and Medication

psychological erectile dysfunction

A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine concluded that ED medications can cause dependence; subsequently, the medication user may come to feel that erections are unachievable without such medication.

Common erectile dysfunction drug use can make it difficult to overcome ED and thus cause issues with restoring much-needed confidence. Also, such medications can take away from sexual activity’s spontaneity.


Treatments are Available

The great news is that there are many treatments available to help males both in terms of physiological erectile dysfunction and psychological erectile dysfunction.

Things like weight loss programs and HRT can help you restore your confidence, sex drive and self-esteem.

There are also many treatments for physiological ED:

These treatments can help restore your sexual performance without having to rely on medication.

If you have questions or concerns about ED, then be sure to contact us at Tampa Rejuvenation or give us a call at 813-558-9500.  We offer erectile dysfunction therapy to our clients to help them restore their confidence again.



Adam Wiggins, Peter N. Tsambarlis, George Abdelsayed and Laurence A. Levine, A treatment algorithm for healthy young men with erectile dysfunction, BJU International, (2018).

Cook R. Erectile dysfunction often has a psychological basis. The Conversation. Published September 30, 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018.

Gila Bronner and Itzhak Z. Ben‐Zion, Unusual Masturbatory Practice as an Etiological Factor in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction in Young Men, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11, 7, (1798-1806), (2014).

Yan‐Ping Huang, Bin Chen, Feng‐Juan Yao, Sheng‐Fu Chen, Bin Ouyang, Chun‐Hua Deng and Yi‐Ran Huang, Weaker Masturbatory Erection May Be a Sign of Early Cardiovascular Risk Associated with Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men Without Sexual Intercourse, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11, 6, (1519-1526), (2014).