Six in 10 hide erectile dysfunction from their partner

Sexual issues can have a huge impact on our mental well-being. New research released has shown that 34% of men who have experienced erectile dysfunction have also experienced feelings of depression and anxiety. A further 36% say erectile dysfunction has also negatively impacted their overall confidence and self-esteem. 

Whether it’s stress, anxiety, or self-acceptance, your mental health can affect your sex life. Research has revealed that six in 10 who experience erectile dysfunction will keep it a secret from their partner. 

While over half (58%) of men experience erectile dysfunction, 24% experience performance issues regularly. Despite this, just one in four (24%) will actually seek help. A further six in 10 (61%) will not share their experience with their partner. 

The numbers make it pretty clear: erectile dysfunction is a more common issue than many of us may realise. Then why aren’t more of us seeking help and support? As hypnotherapist Jon Creffield explains, our perception of sexual performance and masculinity could be having an impact.

For some men, sexual ability equates with masculinity and when ED affects them they feel as if their whole identity is suddenly at risk. Many men find approaching their GP to discuss erection issues embarrassing. However, GPs regularly discuss these matters and will not be surprised. For your doctor, it’s just a routine medical problem.

When to get help

According to the latest figures from Asda Pharmacy, 47% of men experiencing erectile dysfunction won’t tell anyone due to embarrassment. 31% feel the issue is too personal to talk about. For many, it’s the thought of having to speak about sexual issues in person that is holding them back. When asked, 61% of men said they would be more likely to seek treatment if they didn’t have to see anyone in person. 

It’s perfectly natural to experience a fluctuation within your libido at one time or another. We all have differing sex drives, be that due to personal circumstances, environmental factors, or how we’re feeling. However, after experiencing an initial period of erectile dysfunction, further incidents may be caused due to anxiety around prior experiences.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

A common problem (particularly for men in their 40s and older), erectile dysfunction can be caused by stress, anxiety, alcohol consumption, or tiredness. For persistent issues, there may be underlying physical health or emotional issues. It’s always worth checking with your GP if any issues persist, as this can help to rule out any underlying health conditions sooner rather than later. 

How to treat erectile dysfunction

There are many small lifestyle changes you can make that may help with this issue. Losing weight if you are overweight, stopping smoking, improving your diet, increasing your daily exercise, and reducing your stress and anxiety levels are all recommended by the NHS. Ensuring you stick to 14 units or less of alcohol is also highly recommended. Sexual aids, such as vacuum pumps work for most men, while over-the-counter medications can be effective, though these options are not always available on the NHS. 

If your sexual performance is being impacted by emotional or psychological problems such as anxiety or depression, talking therapies such as CBT or sex therapy may be recommended. Hypnotherapy is another option that can help you to regain control and overcome sexual dysfunction.

Four ways hypnotherapy can help with erectile dysfunction

Hypnotherapy can help in a wide number of different ways. These include helping you to:

  1. Decrease your embarrassment or nerves – through talking about your sexual issues with a hypnotherapist, you can begin to decrease your worries and sense of embarrassment. By keeping these feelings bottled up, you can unknowingly feed into them, causing you to feel more stressed, uncomfortable, and under pressure, which may exacerbate the issue at hand.
  2. Reframe your thoughts – hypnotherapy can not only help you to open up and better understand the problems that may be affecting your libido, but it can also help you discover new ways you can reframe your thoughts around sex. Together with a qualified, experienced hypnotherapist, regression techniques can be used to help heal past traumas and sex-related anxieties.
  3. Learn stress-reduction techniques – stress can have a huge physical and psychological impact on us. From increasing your sense of anxiety and overwhelm to decreasing your focus or even making you quicker to anger, stress can affect us in ways we don’t even realise. Working with a hypnotherapist can help you to uncover any hidden sources of stress, revealing ways you may be consciously or subconsciously responding to these stressors. A hypnotherapist can then help introduce you to new ways in which you can handle these feelings, as well as relaxation techniques to help you stay present in the moment.
  4. Increase your confidence and self-esteem – when we experience sexual problems, it’s natural for our confidence to take a hit. Worrying about how others may perceive you is natural. Hypnotherapy can help you to recognise and challenge any negative thoughts or feelings that may have arisen due to erectile dysfunction. Through accessing the unconscious part of your mind, a hypnotherapist can use the power of suggestion to help facilitate positive change.

Get started today by using our tool to find a hypnotherapist and learn more about how they could help you.

Article updated 29 March 2023

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Written by Bonnie Gifford
Bonnie Evie Gifford is a Senior Writer at Happiful.
Written by Bonnie Gifford
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