anonymous on September 9, 2011

What techniques can I try to get over my anxiety-related erectile dysfunction?

My wife and I are in our 20s and we’ve been married for 9 weeks. She was the first person I ever had sex with, and we had great sex up until a couple weeks ago. I will be in the mood, and get an erection. We start having sex, she gets on top...and then all of a sudden, I lose my erection. When it happened once, I started worrying about it happening all the time. I know it’s psychological, not physical...are there some techniques we can try?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on September 9, 2011

Thanks or sharing your question with us. I’ll do my best to offer you some helpful information.

First, consider that the fastest way to lose an erection is to worry about it. That said, I understand how even a single incidence of not being able to get or keep an erection can be embarrassing and undermine your confidence…even when your partner is someone whom you know and trust.

But worrying about itcan become a cycle that’s hard to break…so I would first encourage you to share your concern with you doctor. Together, you can get to the bottom of what’s causing your erectile dysfunction (ED) and figure out the best solution for your individual circumstances.

Your doctor will be able to confirm whether the cause of your erection is psychological or physical or a mixture of the two. While worry and anxiety may be contributing to your ED, your doctor can do some simple tests to rule out any possible physical factors that may be part of the problem.

If it turns out that you’re physically healthy, taking an ED medication for a short time may help. In fact, using a medication like Viagra, Levitra or Cialis just once or twice is often enough for men to restore their confidence, stop worrying and resume normal sexual activity.

Another thing to consider is sexual positions. For example, if you’re lying on your back, the blood flow that’s causing an erection can go backward. So you and your wife may want to try different sexual positions, and perhaps introduce masturbation and more foreplay into the mix of your sexual activities.

One more thing…stress can also contribute to ED. From losing a job to family conflicts or financial problems, circumstances that cause stress can also affect your ability to perform sexually. So be sure to find ways to relax, and try to reduce your level of stress as much as possible.

And if none of these things work, and your doctor has confirmed that your problem isn’t physical, I would encourage you to seek professional counseling.

I hope this information provides you a good starting point, and I wish you the best of luck in resolving the cause of your ED.

Related Info:
  • Mayo Clinic: Erectile Dysfunction

David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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