ISD AND THE MIND: IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF ISD

You do not necessarily have to delve deeply into your subconscious mind or analyze your entire life history in order to find some of the psychological forces that have an adverse effect on sexual desire. Sometimes you lose interest in sex because of. events and conditions you are consciously aware of and currently experiencing. Al, for instance, knew right off the bat that his sexual avoidance was the direct result of his recent problems in attaining an erection and his concern that future sexual encounters would lead to more humiliating performance failures. And Paul, bemoaning the state of his sex life, could explain that "I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. I want to get ahead at work, train for a marathon, fix up our house, have a social life, and have terrific sex with Andrea. I even know that it isn't humanly possible to do all those things. But that doesn't stop me from trying. It's like a treadmill I can't get off of. But it burns me out. I feel tired and anxious all the time—too tired for sex and too anxious to enjoy it when we do have it." Consciously recognized, troublesome, here-and-now issues represent some of the immediate connections between ISD and the mind, including:

  • lack of information and/or communication, which keeps you from knowing what to do to create sexual desire and excitement
  • making sex a goal-oriented performance focused on erection, lubrication, and orgasms rather than pleasure
  • negative reactions to events immediately preceding sexual opportunities (like arguments, a disturbing phone call from your mother, or trouble at work)
  • depression
  • guilt
  • feeling uncomfortable with your own or your partner's body or natural sexual responses
  • stress
  • "spectatoring"—either trying to keep tight control over your sexual responses or stepping outside yourself to observe what is happening to you critically, often judging yourself harshly
  • unresolved relationship conflicts or anger
  • physical problems that directly affect the brain or change the balance of hormones

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Men's Health-Erectile Dysfunction