Effects of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, regardless of cause, leads both sexual partners to experi- ence a range of feelings and intense emotions, including a sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem. These feelings can reinforce a man’s performance anxiety and create a cycle of repeated failures and increasingly negative feelings. To overcome these feelings, both partners have to acknowledge the problem and communicate openly and honestly with each other. Because sexual performance is linked so strongly to a man’s self-esteem, erectile dysfunction can be devas- tating not only to his sex life but also to his sense of self. Men with erectile dys-function often develop feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, or guilt, and may consider themselves unattractive to their partner. These feelings might cause a man to avoid intimate situations, isolate himself from the relationship, or with- draw from his partner, which can increase tension in the relationship.
The psychological effects of erectile dysfunction can invade other areas of a man’s life as well, such as social interactions and job performance. It is impor- tant for a man with erectile dysfunction to overcome the reluctance to talk with his partner and physician to determine effective treatment strategies.