Psychotherapy for erection problems

For many men, psychological issues play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Careful attention to these issues and attempts to relieve sexual anxieties should be a part of therapy for all men with these problems.

The type of therapy and how long it lasts depends on what type of problem (depression, anxiety disorder, or another mental disorder) you have.

Group or individual therapy may be indicated. Involving your partner in counseling is often helpful.

Psychological treatment is most likely to be helpful for men who:

  • Have an erect penis when they wake up in the morning.
  • Can get a firm erection when masturbating.
  • Have gone through a stressful major life event, such as divorce, separation, death of a loved one, change in job, or moving.
  • Grew up in an environment where sex and sexuality were considered negative, wrong, or "bad," or who were sexually or physically abused as a child.
  • Lost their mother or father during early childhood.
  • Have a history of serious relationship problems.
  • Have a history of anxiety disorders or physical problems that have a psychological component (such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, asthma, or nervous bladder).

Evidence shows that group therapy helps with erection problems in some men. Adding group therapy to treatment with sildenafil (Viagra) helped more than Viagra alone. Men who took part in group therapy also were more likely to keep taking their medicine.1

Citations

  1. Melnik T, et al. (2007). Psychosocial interventions for erectile dysfunction. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).

Last Updated: May 21, 2008

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