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Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast
Today’s episode of the Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast explores the psychological concept of repression and how it can impact a man’s erection.
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 Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST. Mark is a certified sex therapist.
Transcript of Episode 47 – How Repression Impacts Erections and Erectile Dysfunction
Casey: And we’re back on the ED Radio Podcast. I am the producer here, and my name is Casey. I will be joining Mark for today’s episode.
So let’s jump into it. The title of today’s podcast is, it’s okay to like what you like, how repression impacts erections. First of all, I just want to know, what is repression? How do you define it?
Mark: Repression is a psychological concept where on a sub-conscious, or even unconscious level, our minds will block out things that we don’t want to remember, things that we don’t want to think about, uncomfortable feelings, and it does this in a way that we’re not even aware a lot of the time that it is somewhere in our mind, that it exists within us.
So we repress it down to the point that it is not in our conscious memory or in our conscious awareness. The other part of oppression is that this is an automated process within us, in other words, this is not… people should not think of this, that you’re actively trying to stuff something away, that’s not repression.
Repression is an automated process happening at the subconscious level where it feels as if the thoughts don’t even come up, and if they do at times, it’s fleeting. That’s not me. That’s not part of me. And then it gets repackaged and put away somewhere.
Casey: What impact does repression have on people outside of sexual health?
Mark: So repression can play a role in psychological distress. When people are holding things inside of themselves on a subconscious level, it can create conflict, it can create discomfort and as much as our brains are trying to help alleviate the conscious discomfort, if these are parts of ourselves, and they get activated, it can be very conflictual, very uncomfortable when those things happen.
And because we’re not thinking about them, because they’re on a subconscious level, we don’t really have a relationship with those parts of ourselves, we only relate to what we have on a conscious level to what we have as front of mind.
A way to think about this is we all carry a self-identity. We have a way that we think about ourselves and parts that we don’t really consider part of us, if they are however, repressed parts of ourselves, when they do emerge, when something external to us may get those parts activated, we don’t really know what to do with them, we don’t know how to relate to them.
And that can create a tremendous amount of internal conflict, internal distress, anxiety, depression, as well as having a multitude of impacts on our relationships.
Casey: What are some of the reasons why a man may engage in sexual repression?
Mark: So the most clear reason from my perspective is conformity and social acceptance. When a person wants something, when they like something, when they’re into something that doesn’t really relate to how they define themselves, it’s very uncomfortable.
And our brains work really hard to get that out, to get that away from us, because that’s not how we identify, that’s not part of our identities. We want to fit in, we want to identify with groups of people with friends, with social circles, cultural circles, religious circles, and that puts us in a bind, puts us in a position where if I am part of this group, this other piece cannot be a part of me.
So if I like engaging in certain sexual behaviors, or if I like certain people, or I like to do things that are outside of those norms, that would not be accepted that is where sexual repression would kick in.
Let me also make mention that this can happen in a relationship where one partner feels judged by the other partner, and oftentimes in longer term relationships, pieces and parts of a person’s sexuality can become repressed because they feel that their partner has a moral high ground.
They feel that their partner is judging them and they themselves may be uncomfortable with those parts, and that’s something that can lead to repression.
Casey: Where is a good starting point for getting help, if a man believes repression is impacting his erections or perhaps any other aspect of his life?
Mark: I think the best place for a man to get help for this is with a therapist, a therapist who he could be comfortable with, preferably somebody who can respect both the social, cultural, religious aspects, the importance these have in the man’s life, and also be able to affirm and to help support and validate the things that a man may be sexually interested in or may desire.
It’s difficult to raise these conversations with friends, family, even with your partner, it can be really, really difficult, and it could be a process to identify what’s being repressed but beyond that, to really establish a healthy relationship with those parts of yourself.
And I think a well-trained therapist can really help men step out of this cycle of repression and be able to unpack some of that, form healthier relationships with themselves and ultimately have better erections.
Casey: Do you have any other final thoughts you’d like to add to today’s podcast about repression?
Mark: So I just want to go back to the title and emphasize that it’s okay to like what you like, it may not have a particular expression or manifestation in your particular life circumstances, it may be something that you choose to not engage in, but you’ve have to be okay that you’re human, everybody’s human.
Most people like something, most people have interests that they would be uncomfortable sharing in a public setting, it seems like most people are comfortable to say they like sex, but any of the details beyond that are difficult to share, men need to feel like it is okay to be human
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