Psychological Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Quiz

How Changing the Way You Think Can Help with ED

5 Ways to get out of your head. Getty Images/Peter Cade

If you or your partner suffers from occasional or situation-related Erectile Dysfunction (ED) with no medical explanation, it can be really helpful to understand in more depth what may be going on. The good news is that it is entirely possible that a non-medical option will work for your ED from this list of possible solutions (if the source of your issues is indeed psychological). As Sex and Relationship coaches, we help men deal with psychological ED all the time. The answer to these 5 questions might help you get in touch with a stronger, more lasting erection.

Are You in Your Head?

Over-thinking can contribute to ED. Getty Images/Image Source

One of the leading causes of psychological ED is having one incident of ED or a few incidents and then getting really worried and anxious so that you end up in a vicious mental cycle of doom. Each time a sexual interaction starts to head toward intercourse, you start worrying that you will not get hard. This stress puts your body into more of a fear mode than an aroused mode and your eventual ED becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

To get out of your head, you need to start focusing on the delicious sensations (touch, smells, sounds) that you are experiencing in the present moment and stop the “what ifs” from bringing you down. One really helpful approach to getting out of your head is deep breathing which helps lower anxiety. Next, you can imagine that each breath you take is connecting you with the pleasurable touch you are giving to and receiving from your partner. This should help to get you more engrossed in the experience and less anxious or distracted. 

Are You Holding Back?

Don't ignore your impulses. Getty Images/Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline

Many men who suffer from ED worry so much about their partner and what their partner thinks of them that they ignore all of their natural impulses of desire. This denial of your natural impulses can cause a constant interruption to your arousal curve making it very difficult to get or keep an erection. If you want your body to respond as it naturally should, follow your impulses of desire. Your partner will thank you because what she really wants from you is to feel desired!

Are You Having the Kind of Sex That Turns You On?

Make things more interesting. Getty Images/Vincent Besnault

So many couples have sex the way they think it is supposed to be or they think their partner wants it to be without ever exploring and sharing their fantasies with each other. In order for sex to be hot enough for you to get hard, some of what is in your fantasy life needs to show up in your bedroom. Instead of living one life where you put exactly what you want into your porn searches and then have sex that doesn’t do it for you with your partner, it’s time to start bringing those naughty ideas to your partner so you can play them out or fantasize about them together!

Are You Attracted to Your Partner?

Find a way to reconnect. Getty Images/FHM

Some men try to talk themselves into attraction; they think, “She’s hot” instead of asking themselves “Am I attracted to her?” External beauty does not equal internal erotic energy and is rarely enough to create real chemistry or sexual desire. If you are trying to have sex with someone who you are not really feeling the chemistry with, it is time to confront the issue directly.

If you are out in the dating world, you will need to pay attention to how your body is naturally responding to a potential partner as opposed to trying to decide with your head. If you are with a long-term partner, you will need to talk about what initially turned you on about her or talk about what might turn you on more. By being honest and learning some new ways to interact sexually, you may be able to get the fires burning or bring the chemistry back!

Is Your Partner Nice to You?

Work on your communication. Getty Images/Glow Images, Inc.

We always tell men; “sometimes your penis is smarter than you are”. If you are trying to have sex with someone who is critical towards you, shuts you out, gives you ultimatums or gets angry any time you aren’t erect, it is no surprise you are having trouble getting an erection. Medical experts cite poor communication as one cause of ED. It’s time to read some books or get some professional help as a couple to better communicate your feelings. As much as you might like to be immune to cruelty or criticism and just get it up anyway, it’s time to pay attention to your penis and make sure you are being treated with kindness and empathy!


Sex Experts Celeste Hirschman, MA & Danielle Harel, PhD ( have worked with thousands of clients helping them realize their full sexual and emotional potential. They are the authors of Cockfidence and have just released a new book for couples, Making Love Real as well as numerous articles for publications ranging from Men's Health to The Huffington Post. Over the last decade they have incorporated their educational backgrounds in Psychology, and Sexology with their hands on experience to create the experiential Somatica® Method of sex therapy and relationship coaching and are training professionals in the field.

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