Sexual Performance Anxiety

Some individuals experiencing sexual performance anxiety have a fear of failure concerning performance in the bedroom and satisfying the partners' needs during sexual intercourse.

When an individual experiences stress or a high anxiety level, the brain releases hormones (stress) such as adrenaline and cortisol, which affects the muscles to become tense and increase the heart rate. This further impacts the blood flow level to blood vessels in the penis which impairs the ability to achieve an erection.

Thus these hormonal levels of the individual trigger the "flight or fight" response. Our brain and body prepare us to avoid/deal with the danger (physically or mentally). But, when your brain and body are absorbed in persisting a threat, getting an erection is not the sort of physical response that is a priority!


How can one tell if their Erectile Dysfunction is Psychological?

For effective treatment of sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction one needs to identify the underlying psychological causes.

Medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, hormonal disorder, high cholesterol, obesity, and alcoholism can lead to erectile dysfunction. One needs to conduct proper medical testing for the same.

A few signs that one could look out for (psychological) can be as follow:

-          Does one experience erections only in the morning?

-          While masturbating can one achieve an erection?

-          Is one able to function properly under a high level of anxiety and stress?

-          Are you worried about pleasing your partner?

Causes of Psychological Erectile Dysfunction

Stress Anxiety

When an individual experiences high levels of stress, it becomes difficult to cope with their daily chores, job or, find it hard to maintain a relationship with others. Whenever such instances occur, they might experience chronic levels of stress, occasional worries, or a high level of anxiety. This might lead to psychological distress.

This occurs as the individual's brain and body are concerned about danger, they are not concerned about sex. As mentioned above, stress hormones are released in the bloodstream when an individual is stressed and it difficult to get an erection.


Depression affects various aspects of an individual's life, sexual function can be also one of them. The latest research indicates that 75% of individuals who have depression might also face problems in bed. This can be linked to changes in the brain chemistry and nervous system.

Relationship Issues

When one is having relationship difficulties, it may be very difficult to feel attracted to one’s partner, this can have a negative impact on one's sexual life. Disagreements are a part of any normal healthy relationship, but how one communicates effectively is very important. Fulfilling each other sexual needs make both partners feel safe and intimate with one another in a relationship.

Pornography Dependency/Addiction

While masturbating, sometimes an individual might watch porn and only then get an erection. This occurs due to a neurochemical level of the brain being "trained" to expect and need pornography for arousal to occur.

Regardless while watching porn, can lead one to develop unrealistic expectations about their body and sexual abilities. This further can cause performance anxiety and psychological ED.


The signals between one's brain and body can be interrupted by guilt, which can prevent one from getting an erection. Sometimes it feels like our unconscious mind is punishing our mind or denying them pleasure in response to guilt that one might be experiencing.

Sometimes guilt can be one of the psychological causes of ED, which can also cause stress in men who view sex as being shameful for religious/cultural reasons.

Low Self Esteem

Erectile dysfunction and low self-esteem are correlated with one another. Most recent researches point out that individuals suffering from ED have poor self-esteem. Sexual dysfunction or erectile dysfunction can cause low self-esteem, which can also be true the other way around.

Men who start with low self-esteem sometimes experience themselves as inadequate. These lead to erectile problems in the bedroom. Individuals with low self-esteem can be experiencing guilt, fear of rejection, depression, and anxiety.