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Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast
Today, we’re talking about erectile dysfunction and mental health. We’re going to cover the connection between mental health, the erection process and how it can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
The Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast is dedicated to educating and empowering men to address erectile dysfunction, improve confidence, and enhance the satisfaction in their relationships. This podcast is hosted by certified sex therapist, Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST.
Transcript of Episode 3 – Mental Health and Erectile Dysfunction
Today, we’re talking about erectile dysfunction and mental health. We’re going to try to understand a little bit about what mental health has to do with the erection process and how it can contribute to erectile dysfunction. The first thing we need to do though is understand what mental health is because mental health can be a very daunting term. It can be intimidating.
A lot of people assume they don’t have mental health issues. So I want to clear the air as we talk about this topic and differentiate between mental health and mental illness, because they are not the same thing.
Mental illness is when somebody meets very specific criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis that can include severe depression, various forms of anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, among many other diagnoses that are out there. Mental illness does not apply to everybody.
You may have a mental illness. You may have a family member has a mental illness, but many people do not. Mental health, however, is something that impacts all of us. Mental health is not a diagnosis.
The way I think of mental health is more in the range of stress and stress management. If you’re taking care of yourself, your general mood and things of that nature. All of us, myself included, are somewhere on the mental health spectrum.
Having good mental health is important to having good erections. I want to also be clear about something: you can have a mental illness and have good mental health, and you cannot have a mental illness and have very poor mental health.
These are really not one in the same. Somebody with severe depression or anxiety can exercise very good mental health and somebody without that can exercise very poor mental health.
What are we going to include in this category of mental health in particular, in terms of how it impacts erections?
Some of the areas that I include in general mental health are feelings of sadness, feelings of depression, stress, anxiety, that also includes performance anxiety, and managing day-to-day life circumstances, life transitions, and other events that can impact the way we think and the way that we feel.
How does mental health impact erections? Erections need a starting point. They need a trigger, something that evokes desire, something that can get you aroused. Erections are not really going to happen without that.
If your mental health is not in balance, if you have feelings that are overwhelming you, generally, we’re talking about negative feelings, sadness, loneliness, depression, anger, rage. If these feelings are occupying your headspace, it is going to be very difficult and challenging to be able to experience, desire, to be receptive to the things that potentially could arouse you, to be open to things that could excite you or potentially be of interest.
If your mental health is good, if it is well-balanced, if you’ve developed the skills and the tools to be able to manage negative feelings, manage the stress in your life, when the opportunities present themselves for sexual arousal, for desire, your capacity to engage, your capacity to be receptive is going to be much higher.
Now, I want to clarify, not all men are going to respond to stress by experiencing a lower libido or by experiencing erection problems. This is a component that can contribute to erections. In no way do I mean to imply that if you’re experiencing stress, the next stop on that train is going to be erection problems.
In fact, some men will respond to that stress with an increased libido, and they may even use desire, arousal and an erection as a way to manage the feelings of stress or even avoid those feelings of stress.
I want to be clear, what we are talking about is not a linear, simple equation that any of the factors that we discussed on this podcast, including mental health should not be taken as a simple cause and effect type of model.
However, if you are somebody who is experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress, overwhelming feelings of sadness, loneliness, if you find that your head is ruminating– there is a good chance that that is playing a role in your erection process.
It may also be preventing you from being able to reach some of the solutions that can really help get you much closer towards your goal of gaining and maintaining an erection.
Mental health can impact your process leading up to an erection, and it can also impact your process while you are gaining and maintaining that erection. Having the skills to be balanced about your mental health is another way to boost the efficacy, the effectiveness of your erections.
If you think that an area of your mental health may be impacting your erections, I would strongly encourage you to spend some time better defining for yourself what areas are distressing to you.
Think about what areas are keeping you down or holding you back and strongly consider addressing them either with yourself or with a professional, and to see what the impact is on your erection process.
You may be very surprised with just how powerful addressing some of those components can be.
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