Does this situation sound like stress-induced erectile dysfunction?
April 30, 2011 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Does this situation sound like stress-induced erectile dysfunction? What can I do about it?

The only times in my life I've had trouble getting an erection have been when being with a new girlfriend sexually for the first time. In those instances, there is sometimes a "failure" due to nerves. I might be very turned on, but my stomach will be all butterflies and it affects erections.

Knowing that, here's this -

About a year ago my wife and I had some things happen that completely sucked the energy out of our relationship. We stopped having sex, also. During that year I became very attracted to a lot of women around me. I felt horny all the time and would masturbate twice a day when my wife wasn't around. It was at this time I knew our marriage was in trouble.

Right around Christmastime when we decided to separate, I woke up one morning with no morning erection. First time I could remember that in ages. I didn't think anything of it. Then I noticed a "tingle" in my penis, and a tightening feeling in the urethra. I also wasn't as horny during the day. I sometimes felt my penis was numb or "asleep" like when your muscle falls asleep.

Around the time we officially got separate apartments, my job stress was also off the charts. We launched a very large, visible product and I was at the center of it.

It has been 4 months, but I'm still noticing a lack of morning erections. The only time I get erect spontaneously is when walking down the street, thinking of having sex with my wife, who I miss a lot. Otherwise, I can masturbate to porn, but not nearly with the same sensation or ability to retain erections. I feel like I'm doing it out of habit than enjoyment.

I should mention since the separation I've been a wreck. New city, new situation, no sex, extreme guilt, bad appetite, started smoking, little sleep. Sometimes when I'm at work, I merely think about my situation and I can feel a "squeeze" of my urethra. I never get spontaneous erections at work or anywhere else anymore, whereas 6 months ago I got them whenever the wind would blow hard.

I did see a urologist who suggested this it might be stress-induced, but didn't have information outside of that. Hormonal tests were all normal. I asked him if past Propecia use might've been a factor, he said probably not.

So I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this, is it common, how long does it last, are there things I can do, and so on. Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)

Smoking is linked to impotence.

Have you had your heart checked? Sometimes circulation problems can affect erections.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:21 PM on April 30, 2011

SSRIs can do just what you are talking about. In fact, in a small portion of men, it can persist months or years after SSRI discontinuation.
posted by brownrd at 5:43 PM on April 30, 2011

Not to belabor the obvious but it sounds like your "symptoms" showed up exactly when things with your wife took a serious turn in the direction of a permanent break. On top of this (as if additional explanation was necessary), crazy work stress, other radical life shifts, bad diet, smoking and lack of sleep could certainly all kill libido - shit, I can verify all of those personally and I haven't led all that dramatic of a life.

Because it doesn't really sound like you have erectile dysfunction (I am definitely not a urologist) - you say you can get erections, you get spontaneous erections, you can ejaculate - you're just not very prone to and you don't much enjoy it when you do. Sounds like lack of libido, not lack of erectile function.

Seeing as how you refer to your wife as your wife rather than your ex- and you describe your situation as separated rather than divorced or divorcing, it doesn't seem like a real stretch to suggest that your major issue is settling things with your wife one way or the other. I doubt you will sort out your libido until you do. Of course doing anything you can to mitigate work stress, eating better, getting enough sleep and quitting smoking couldn't hurt in the meantime.
posted by nanojath at 11:12 PM on April 30, 2011

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