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PART II: ED Problems in Young Men Today

In PART I of this series, we discussed a few of the causes behind young men experiencing Erectile Disfunction (ED) problems today, including false narratives and images in porn and movies, and lack of education about healthy sex.

Sexual abuse: Another cause we’ve found includes sexual abuse. Studies calculate that as many as one in six boys have been sexually abused. If a previously abused man gets triggered by an earlier memory in bed, loss of his erection can happen out of the blue. Therapy is then required to work through this before he is able to fully engage in sex.

Psychological problems: About 1 per 100 children have some degree of Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD), boys at about the same rate as girls. Having OCD likely means that you may focus laser-like on your lack of ability to get or maintain an erection, making ED problems even worse. ED is the symptom, not the root of the problem, and the person likely will need therapy to work through the problem.

Pressure to procreate: When young couples are trying to make a baby, the joy and romance of sex can fly out the window. For the man, inseminating his wife becomes a job rather than an adventure, and ED often follows.

Medications: Many young men today are on anti-depressants, ADHD drugs, and the like, and have been since their early teens. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that five percent of American 12-to-19-year-olds use antidepressants, and another six percent use ADHD drugs — in total, about 4 million teenagers. These drugs often interfere with one’s ability to get and keep an erection, as well as the ability to feel deeply the sensations and emotions that make for powerful sex.

Shame and fear: If a man experiences ED even once, and if his partner takes it personally (“You don’t find me attractive anymore,” etc.), he may begin to fear that the partner will leave him, increasing the anxiety that will surely lead to more ED problems. Sometimes men get anxious after one or two times of losing or not being able to keep an erection. This creates worry that it will happen again and now they overly focus on whether or not they will get an erection. This is not erectile disorder, it is anxiety.

Physical problems: Finally, there may be an actual physical problem lurking beneath someone’s ED. Anyone experiencing ED should see their doctor to rule this out. If ED meds are needed, there is no shame in this. When you break a leg, you don’t protest, “I don’t need these crutches. I will tough this out and it will heal on its own.” You may only need to use ED drugs such as Viagra or Cialis for a short time until you learn how to maintain your erotic focus.

There are numerous ways we at Modern Sex Therapy Institutes have found to be helpful for young men to overcome the ED problem, and we will address these in the final PART III of this ED Problems in Young Men Today series: 10 Techniques to Address Erectile Disfunction.

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6 Possible Causes for Erectile Disfunction was originally published in Modern Sex Therapy Institutes on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.