Mental blocks That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction

“Mental Blocks” That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction

A mental block is when emotions interfere with the subconscious thought processes in the mind. Mental blocks around sexual dysfunction are most often subconscious.

Photo of Mark Goldberg, Certified Sex Therapist
By: Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST

Erectile dysfunction is a very distressing experience. Men experiencing ED are generally locked in to finding a solution and will invest time and money to that end. 

There are many treatment options on the market with varying degrees of impact and success. Finding the right solution for you depends on a proper understanding of erections and erectile dysfunction. 

How Erections Work

Erections are a combination of a healthy body and mind. When both are working, erections will happen at a fairly consistent and reliable rate. When erections are not reliable, either the body or the mind (or both) are not functioning ideally and need to be addressed.

A medical doctor such as a primary care physician or urologist can assess, rule out, or identify physical factors contributing to E.D. 

When none are identified a mental block may be the cause. 

Defining a Mental Block

A man on a journey; curing ED is a journey.A mental block is generally thought of as an emotional disturbance, issue, or experience that prevents the ability to think or recall a memory.

This is most experienced when a person is trying to complete a task, write a paper, or read a book. Actions and thought processes that require intentionality can be blocked by emotional disturbance and distraction. 

Another form of a mental block is when emotions interfere with the subconscious thought processes in the mind. Mental blocks around sexual dysfunction are most often subconscious. 

The same way you cannot intentionally think your way to an erection, the mental blocks that get in the way of erections are subconscious. 

Common Mental Blocks


Stress is a form of anxiety that is usually driven by an overwhelming feeling about completing a task and responsibility. As stress increases people find it more challenging to focus and complete tasks. 

This leads to a compounding effect of stress, anxiety, and worry. Stress can also distract the mind from otherwise pleasurable thoughts, image, and other stimuli. Even intentional effort to focus on and engage with them can be ineffective. 


Depression comes in many forms and can be experienced in thoughts, feelings, and in the body. Depressive thinking is often comprised of hopelessness and lack of motivation. 

Most activities seem pointless if they take energy and do not lead to pleasure. This mental construct can be a significant mental block that negatively impacts sexual desire and leads to erectile dysfunction. For many depressed people, the experience of erectile dysfunction is further evidence that life is hopeless. 


Fatigue can be a symptom of depression and can also be a reality of life for many people. Fatigue can lead to a disruption of normal or natural thought processes and can make otherwise appealing or arousing thoughts seem lackluster.

A common mental block toward sexual arousal and interest is feeling “too tired” for sex. Without enough desire and interest, erections can be negatively impacted. 

Thought Fatigue 

Fatigue is not just a physical experience. Many people experience mental or thought fatigue.

When the brain spends hours musing or racing it can be exhausting and makes the thoughts that lead to sexual arousal very limited. Most people do not experience a noticeable mental block when fatigued but thoughts tend to not carry the same emotional and physiological impact as they usually would. 

Life Events

There are many life events that can be distressing leading to mental preoccupation and mental blocks. These include:

  • Marriage
  • Having a Kid
  • Job loss
  • Retirement 

Life events also include relationship challenges such as divorce, death of a partner, and general conflict. Unresolved issues can be mind-occupying and lead to mental blocks and sexual dysfunction. 

What Can Be Done?

There are two primary approaches to improving erections when erectile dysfunction is caused by a mental block. The first approach is the address the mental block whether it is depression, anxiety, or other issues.

The second approach is to work through the mental block with specific cognitive interventions targeted at eliciting more arousal and desire. Both can be pursued at the same time leading to more optimal results. 

While this sounds simple the path to overcoming mental blocks is generally more challenging. Working with a sex therapist professional can help get you there a lot quicker. 

–Article Updated March 2022–

Want to Make a Change?


Erection IQ founder Mark Goldberg helps men resolve erectile dysfunction and issues of sexual dysfunction, like problematic masturbation habits. His team offers individual, one-on-one services to men throughout the world through a secure, telehealth platform. It’s 100% confidential. You can visit the Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change website toSchedule A Consultationwith Mark’s team.

Looking for Erectile Dysfunction Help?

Learn to think differently about erections to resolve your ED struggles with our “Beyond the Little Blue Pill” eCourse