Sometimes it’s All (or Somewhat) in Your Head
It feels a bit like betrayal. Your mind is in the mood. Your body won’t get with the program. Sex is just not going to happen because you can’t get or maintain an erection.
Think again if you thought your only alternative at this point is to turn to those little blue pills. The problem may not be “physical,” per say, though everything is basically a physical response. Depending on a diagnosis by a physician, it may be psychological – and you may be directed to try sex therapy.
Alternatives to Pills
The first thing to understand is that problems with erections, commonly known as erectile dysfunction (ED), are quite common. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 52% of men in the United States experience some form of ED and about 40% experience problems with ED at age 40.
A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine notes that if ED is caused by a physical problem, it’s usually because of a cardiovascular issue. But if it’s a result of stress, depression, hang-ups about sexual performance, or other psychological factors, sex therapy may be a treatment. This is a type of counseling that helps to reduce psychological issues or feelings that can cause or worsen ED.
If it works for you, there could be no need for other treatment. Men who have undergone sex therapy report that it also can increase intimacy and strengthen the relationship they have with their spouse or partner.
A common approach is a type of psychotherapy based on the idea that how you think has a direct impact on your actions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) seeks to help you turn negative thoughts and behaviors into positive ones.
In the case of ED, your therapist may ask you to consider the thoughts going through your mind prior to sex. He or she will work with you in exploring ways to substitute negative thoughts with those that are helpful. One of the most beneficial elements of CBT is that it can teach you to relax and move past anxious feelings that can be a major cause of ED.
Talk it out – that’s the foundation of this form of sex therapy. In this case, though, your partner or spouse is a necessary part of the equation. You’ll meet together with a counselor to discuss the emotions and expectations of your sex life.
You might not have considered these questions before. Your therapist will help you look at what you think makes a good sex life. Does your sexual partner have the same outlook? You’ll build better trust and communication skills as you discuss this with your partner.
The process helps you learn to express what you want or don’t want during sex. This can be a first for many people, and talking about these intimate feelings helps to reduce nervous thoughts that have physical consequences – and sometimes lead to ED.
Psychosexual therapy is a gradual process, as opposed to popping a little blue pill. The upside is that it can be a true solution instead of a temporary fix.
What if the Problem is Physical?
Of course, many forms of ED are caused by non-psychological factors, and one of the main causes involves cardiovascular issues. Simply put, not enough blood is flowing to the penis to get or maintain an erection. While many popular medications spur this blood flow temporarily, there are other ways to address ED on a longer-lasting basis.
GAINSWave® therapy uses low-intensity sound waves to address ED. For individuals who have issues related to blood flow, no drugs or surgery may be necessary. Numerous studies show that this noninvasive and drug-free therapy can increase blood flow throughout the tissue in the penis. The soundwaves generate new blood vessels and remove plaque that clogs up existing vessels.
The therapy usually consists of 6 or 12 sessions, which last no longer than half an hour. Once the protocol is complete, some men report no ED problems for up to 24 months. Learn more by watching a short video:
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