Erectile dysfunction and hypnotherapy: A story 

A client I had been seeing for a while, let’s call her Ann, one day opened up about the intimacy problems she was having with her new boyfriend.


Ann had been on the dating scene for years and was struggling to find ‘the one’. Frustrated, she had given up trying to find someone for nearly a year when a friend convinced her to try a new dating app. Ann reluctantly started putting herself out there again and after months of boring, no-chemistry dates, she met Harry.

She was not expecting much from this younger man (early 30s) when she went to meet him but was pleasantly surprised. Harry was tall, charming, funny, had a life and friends and most of all he was really smart. They instantly hit it off. However, after a few weeks of dating, she realised that there was something wrong.

Whilst they were really attracted to each other and things were good to a point in the bedroom, Harry was unable to get an erection on most occasions. This was a deal breaker for Ann, especially given that she had not been intimate with anyone for a long time.  

One day Harry opened up about it himself and said that this was something he had been struggling with since his girlfriend of eight years had broken up with him a year ago. It had really affected his self-confidence. He said he was really attracted to Ann which made things even more difficult as he worried about making her happy and her physical pleasure. The anxiety about performance and being good enough for Ann was what was probably causing problems.

Not having met Harry, but listening to the fact that at times things worked well for them, my guess was that he could be suffering from psychological impotence.

Impotence or erectile dysfunction can be caused by a range of reasons and only a medical professional can assess if the reason is psychological. If Harry had come to me for help, I would have asked him to get assessed by a doctor to rule out any medical condition. That said, a good percentage of men suffer from psychological impotence where factors such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, guilt, sleep disorders, work stress or relationship concerns make it difficult for them to achieve or maintain an erection during sex.

Ann and I had been working on some completely unrelated issues so far, but she understood the mind-body connection, the manifestations of stress in our body and mind, mindfulness and the impact of mental imagery in maintaining positive thoughts. We discussed this for a while and here is what Ann reported back in our next session.

The next time Ann and Harry were intimate and she realised that he was struggling despite the intense level of passion between them, she tried something new. She asked him if he liked beaches. Slightly surprised, he responded with a yes. She then asked him if he would like to take her for a beach holiday, away from cold, wet London. She then went on to ask him things like what he would like to do there. All it took was him telling her what he would like to do (with her) for things to start working again. She had taken him away from the stress of performance to a lovely, stress-free holiday where he could be what he wanted to be, and do what he wanted to do.

This was not a one-off. She took him to this 'safe place' two more times in the following weeks when she was sure that it was either her stories or nothing. Ann and my work finished soon after, so this is all I know. 

So is this the cure for psychological erectile dysfunction i.e. a partner distracting a man? No. But given that Harry was so receptive to this storytelling, he would surely be able to train his mind to not get carried away with stressful thoughts during sex. Apart from CBT and hypnotherapy, some other techniques that help with relaxation are pranayama breathing and meditation.

As you can see this was a one-off story of one client but I thought it was a story worth telling.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Richmond TW9
Written by Chinmai Gupta, BA, MSc, Dip Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
Richmond TW9

Chinmai is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. Her approach is deeply empathic and practical and she can help you to:

• Manage and overcome problems related to stress, anxiety, confidence and self-image
• Perform better
• Find your voice
• Improve your relationships
• Find happiness
• Manage fears and phobias

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