Performance Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction: Understanding the Link

Apr 10, 2023
Performance anxiety can make erections difficult, and erection challenges can increase anxiety. Learn more about this link – and how to turn it all around.

If you struggle to achieve or maintain erections during sex, you’re far from alone. In fact, 52% of men experience some erectile dysfunction (ED) before age 40. Between ages 40 and 70, that number increases by another 15%. Numerous factors may contribute to those symptoms, including performance anxiety. 

At Kane Health, serving the Silicon Valley, Atherton, and the San Francisco Bay area of California, our expert team specializes in male sexual health, leveraging the latest medical advancements to optimize your overall health and well-being.

If you’re wondering if performance anxiety plays a role in your sexual function challenges, read on.

Erectile dysfunction basics

Occasional difficulties with erections are common and generally no cause for alarm. If you continually struggle to have or keep an erection, however, or if your symptoms are negatively impacting your life or relationships, you may be dealing with ED.

In addition to performance anxiety, conditions and habits that may fuel ED include:

  • Anxiety disorders and depression
  • Clogged arteries
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Tobacco use
  • Pelvic and spinal cord injuries
  • Peyronie's disease
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol
  • Sleep disorders
  • Prostate cancer treatments

Taking certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, may also play a role in ED symptoms. 

Performance anxiety and ED

When your penis is not functioning properly, it’s easy to feel self-conscious during sex. And the more often ED flares up, the more likely you are to feel anxious before sex even begins. That’s one reason erectile dysfunction can lead to low libido. 

Factors that may play a role in your performance anxiety include:

  • Feeling pressured to “perform” well for a partner
  • Anxiety or shame about your body or penis size
  • Feeling anxious or stressed about other life areas

Having an anxiety disorder also raises your risk for performance anxiety and ED. Anxiety disorders are also linked with more severe ED symptoms. So if you’re prone to anxiety and don’t have access to or stay on top of treatment, your bedroom life could also be impacted.

What to do about performance anxiety and ED

If your performance anxiety stems from your ED symptoms — meaning the physical symptoms appeared first, leading to anxiousness — getting treatment for the underlying cause is essential. Reversing a hormone imbalance through testosterone therapy, for example, could be all you need to improve your erections. 

In some cases, performance anxiety and ED have multiple contributing factors, so you may benefit from a combination of treatments, including medical care and counseling. Research shows that psychological support can enhance physical treatments for ED and vice versa.

Depending on your symptoms and goals, our team at Kane Health may recommend our Holistic Concierge program, which includes hormone therapy, a nutraceutical regimen, and dietary support — all aimed at optimizing physical health and delaying the aging process. 

We also offer acoustic wave therapy, a noninvasive procedure that treats ED related to blood flow problems.

To learn more about male sexual dysfunction or to get the support you need, call Kane Health or request an appointment through our website today.