What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain sufficient hardness of penis to allow intercourse, despite explicit desire and sexual stimulation. There are three degrees of disturbance: complete (there is no erection whatsoever), moderate and mild (erection is achievable, but not fully). The causes can be both biological and psychological, so it is important to determine this in the diagnostic process. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common male sexual dysfunction. It is assumed that in Poland the number of people suffering from this reaches 10% of the general male population. Much more often erectile dysfunction is diagnosed in people over 50 because of various diseases affecting this segment of male population, but the number of people aged 20-30 and suffering from ED is constantly increasing, mainly due to psychological factors. Despite the fact, that problem is widespread, not every person is looking for help from a specialist. This is often caused by a feeling of shame.
Read more: Problems with erection
The occurrence of the disorder can be observed in various situations. Their reason can be stress, fatigue, pressure from the partner, sleeplessness, bad habits. In such cases it is usually sufficient to eliminate the trigger factor for the disorder. However, if the symptoms persist much longer, it may indicate the existence of medical problems or the consolidation of adverse psychological mechanisms. Therefore, it is important not to underestimate the symptoms and visit a specialist for help.
Psychosexual therapy is intended to improve the situation of men complaining about the described problem. The first stage is the diagnostic process. It is important to find the causes that trigger the disorder. They may be: excessive concentration on physiological reactions during intercourse, fear of sexual intercourse, unpleasant or traumatic sexual experiences from the past, lack of sexual education, task-oriented attitude towards sexual contacts. Often men treat sex as an opportunity to prove themselves and that makes any failure a cause of frustration. Negative feelings – especially repetitive ones – can make decisions about sexual contact less frequent. In this situation it is possible for the so-called “vicious circle” to occur.
Read more: Causes of erectile dysfunction
Men quite often experience the difficulty of talking about problems with sex. They can be ambitious, do not want to admit defeat, are ashamed of what they are going through. While talking to sexologist, it’s important to be able to free from that shame. After all there is nothing wrong with talking about your difficulties. This is a common problem that many men face. Openness in speaking about it may depend on the therapist-patient relationship. It is much easier to talk about your difficulties to someone you trust, which is why some people may need time to open up. It is also not a problem that can be solved in one meeting. The therapy itself is not based only on removing the symptom, but also on its cause. There are many techniques used to treat sexual disorders. These include behavioral training, sexual skills training, and modifying thinking. Often there are false beliefs about one’s own, partner, sexual intercourse, sexual performance. They may result from improper sex education, its absence, existing myths and stereotypes, information from unreliable sources such as, for example, internet forums. Transforming the wrong way of thinking during therapy allows you to change your behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is not the only way to treat sexual disorders, but one of the better-researched, whose effectiveness is confirmed by clinical studies. The main assumption is a change in thinking (cognitive sphere) and a change in behavior (behavioral sphere). The presence of factors that can create a disorder is also emphasized, which includes distorted thinking about sex and the predominance of negative emotional states over positive ones.
Factors that make treatment more effective
People who come to the sexologist may have different expectations about the therapy itself. It is worth talking about these expectations because it allows the sexologist to verify at an early stage whether they are feasible. It is also important to realize the problem. Sometimes it happens that men blame their partners or their other relatives for having problems at home, not assuming that the reason may lie elsewhere. It is also important to “watch” your thoughts and catch defense mechanisms. The most common are rationalization, i.e. seeking an explanation for what you are experiencing, aggression, i.e. reacting with unjustified anger, for example towards your partner, giving up sex life, or even escaping into workaholism. Being aware of existing defense mechanisms allows you to modify them. A focus on improving the situation can also be a helpful factor in treating disorders. Much depends on the motivation and approach, so it is important to remember what therapeutic work is for.
Read more: Treatment of erectile dysfunction
Author: Kamila Jakubiak-Leńczuk