Psychological Impotence or  Psychological Erectile Dysfunction is a condition in which men struggle to get or hold penile erection due to psychological factors such as depression, stress, etc.

It is not a topic discussed commonly, not even among friends; however, men around the world are struggling with erectile dysfunction.

While physical erectile dysfunction can happen due to physical conditions such as ageing or medicines that affect blood flow in your penis, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, etc., can be the reason behind them. On the contrary, factors such as relationship issues, guilt, anxiety, body image issues, etc., pave the way for psychological impotence.

The Cambridge Well-Being Institute suggests that up to 20% or even more men have faced issues of erectile dysfunction due to psychological factors in their lives. It is common but rarely discussed.


It can suddenly happen to anyone. A man who has been all happy with his performance but abruptly one day during the act it happens. Such a situation traps him into his own thoughts and worries revolving around the embarrassment he had to face due to something which never happened before but has now knocked him off without any reason.

Why? What is it that went wrong? Why are you facing psychological impotence in your life? What triggered it? If you are physically fit, don’t lack any nutrition in your body or are not on any medication that is altering your ability to hold an erection, below are some obvious reasons that experts conclude on for psychological ED:

Performance Anxiety

Men who continuously fear their performance or stamina in bed are most likely to suffer from performance anxiety. It is a fear of failure that simply may arise due to your daunting thoughts about yourself and your body like the size of your penis. This fear of failure can be so overwhelming on you that it directly paralyzes your sexual ability at that moment when you are experiencing it.

Would you be able to satisfy your partner, would you be able to hold it for that long, would you stay hard enough and many other thoughts plague your mind to put you into the situation of anxiety. It can get worse as you dip more into such thoughts. Your body releases adrenaline and cortisol referred to as stress hormones when you have performance anxiety. You will have tensed muscles and will experience rapid heartbeats leading to ED. Ironically when it happens once, the second time you fear the same and fail again to get an erection. This becomes a cycle, and it continues to build up more adding on to the stress.

Stress & Anxiety

Life in the 21st century is filled with reasons to be stressed about either due to your work, financial issues, unfavourable life events, or conflict in the family. Mental stress is actually body hormones released into your bloodstream, and in the event of this, you will have problems with erection. It doesn’t matter whether you are occasionally stressed, mildly stressed or suffering from chronic stress; they act on your body to kill your erection ability. Anxiety disorder is no different, either. It also acts as a culprit.


Gravity starts pulling you down more when you are experiencing depression in life with all the weight on your heart and mind. Research claims that as many as 75% of people with depression experience terrible sex life. As a matter of fact, how would you perform when you are not happy, and something is bothering you inside? Depression changes the way your mind works by fiddling into the chemistry and nervous system of your brain. It just leads the way for a potential erectile dysfunction.

Relationship Issues

Troubling times in your relationships can wound the sex-life and often you don’t even look at it as a cause. It needs to be addressed because only then you as a couple can have satisfying sex. Conflicts make couples bring distance, and the feeling of safe heaven among each other’s embrace is lost. You won’t be able to get an erection as it severely impacts your intimacy, desire of sex, and how you feel about each other.

Pornography dependency/addiction

When you rely on porn for fun to satisfy your occasional quench, it turns into an addiction or habit. Likely, you wouldn’t even realize when this happens. You have trained your brain to get arousal only when a certain level of neurochemical activity happens in your brain as a perk of watching porn. In the absence of porn, when you are actually with a partner, it would be hard for you to get an erection. On the other hand, you may have developed the desire for unrealistic sexual expectations either from yourself or from your partner just because you have been watching all sorts of pornographic content.


Guilt about anything, in general, disconnects your performance ability from your brain. It is almost like a feeling of being trapped inside where you are being punished. The reason for guilt or let’s say that punishment can be anything, and it is most evident in the case of illicit affair where the man feels guilty due to being unfaithful. Guilt stops you from getting the hardness for the erection. Guilt can straightaway be the cause of ED in cases, and culture where sex is seen as a taboo or something to be shameful about.

Low Self-Esteem

A study conducted in Brazil claims that 75% of men with ED had low self-esteem. If you see your self as less sexy, less desired by your partner or feel inadequate for her, you are blowing up your ability of erection. A person with low self-esteem fear, have depression, anxiety and get the feeling of rejection. All of these together interrupt your sexual health and wellbeing.

Sexual Indifference

If you are bored with sex, maybe because you see it as a routine and a mundane thing to do. Your brain releases dopamine when you think of sex which further helps you gain an erection. Dopamine is also called the pleasure hormone, and the chances are it is no more surprising you enough to get an erection.

Treatment options for Psychological Impotence

At the beginning of the article, we said that it happens to more than 20% of men, on the top of it, many cases go unreported. Thankfully men who take the courage to act on it, have been able to help themselves and even the researchers to advance their study further. The common solution to treat erectile dysfunction caused by psychological factors are as below:

Talking to a therapist

ED either caused by psychological or physical factors both have the same embarrassing experience to offer because of which men don’t open up to speak. If you have pulled yourself up together to get help, approach an expert and with the therapy, you should be able to reframe your sexual life.

Talking with your partner

If you have already built up the courage to act on the symptoms of psychological impotence, now is the time that you should discuss it with your partner. Remember, communication is the key to a happy relationship. When you educate her and make her aware of the problem you are facing, most likely, you will get the help and support from her to fight it together. It will give you the chance to overcome it quickly and help you get rid of your performance anxiety and stress.

Cut off your unrealistic expectations, Re-educate and re-train your body

When you know the cause, and you have a persistent mind to battle it, you can re-educate and re-train your body to overcome any obstacle or dependency factors like porn. There are numerous wrong information available on the internet which makes an unrealistic claim. Therefore you must know that: penis size doesn’t actually matter much, and you can give orgasm to your partner through other ways too than just penetration.


If you are thinking of pills, stop right there because self-medication can harm you and it is always good to take medicines only when you are prescribed. Popping a pill is never a solution, and in fact, it can be the cause of your psychological impotence. Act on the solutions offered above because both types of ED can be treated with the right therapy.

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP