Erectile dysfunction

Most people have a misconception that “erectile dysfunction” and “performance anxiety” are the same. But these two terms have some clear differences. Read the complete article and know the similarities and differences between erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety.

Erectile dysfunction Vs. Performance Anxiety - What’s The Link?

Both these terms are different, although performance anxiety could be a precursor for erectile dysfunction. It is not unusual for a man to have some sort of anxiety or tension before or during a sexual activity, which could lead to sexual performance anxiety. It may occur in men of all ages and causes certain problems, including premature ejaculation, loss of erection, and erectile dysfunction.


What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is one of the very common sexual problems in men. It is also called impotence and refers to a medical condition in which men are unable to achieve or maintain erections. Either they don't get erections at all, or their erections are not firm enough or last long to have a pleasant sexual activity.

What is performance anxiety?

As the name suggests, it refers to the anxiety that occurs before sexual performance. Sex needs to be pleasurable, but it's challenging to have fun when you are continually thinking about how well you’re performing or will perform in the future. Get the spark back in your love life by determining the underlying cause of the problem and get some tips to get rid of your anxiety.


What causes erectile dysfunction?

The common causes of erectile dysfunction are broadly categorized into the following five categories:

  • Endocrine diseases - type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid cancer, etc.
  • Neurological disorders - Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain or spinal tumors, temporal lobe epilepsy, etc. 
  • Taking medications - alpha-adrenergic blockers, beta-blockers, cancer medications, antidepressants, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, etc.
  • Cardiac-related disorders - hypertension, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, etc.
  • Lifestyle factors and emotional disorders - depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, etc.

What causes performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety generally results from a person’s negative thoughts about their ability to perform well during sexual activity. A person may be concerned about sexual insufficiency or the inability to satisfy a partner.

The following factors may induce these feelings:

  • body image
  • penis size
  • relationship issues
  • ideas about gender roles
  • perceptions of masculinity
  • the use of internet porn

Dealing with family issues, stress at work or financial concerns can also impact a person’s mental state and aid performance anxiety.   

Also read: Ways To Improve Sex Drive In Old Age


What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Following are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction:

  • Trouble achieving an erection
  • Trouble maintaining an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire (low libido)

What are the symptoms of performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety affects men in many different ways. Apart from ED, it may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Blocked or delayed ejaculation
  • Loss of sexual interest 


How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Erectile dysfunction treatment starts with improving heart and cardiovascular health. Your healthcare specialist may indicate certain risk factors that can be improved or changed. He may also ask you to make specific lifestyle changes like stop smoking, eat the right foods, increase workouts, lose weight, etc.

The doctor may also recommend treating emotional problems. These could arise out of life's stressors, relationship issues, anxiety, or depression from past difficulties with ED (performance anxiety). 

Medical treatments for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Oral drugs or medicines - called PDE-5 inhibitors (including Cenforce, Viagra, Vidalista, etc.)
  • Testosterone therapy (when low levels of testosterone are identified in blood testing)
  • Intraurethral medication (IU, Alprostadil)
  • Penile injections (ICI, intracavernosal Alprostadil)
  • Penile implants
  • Vacuum erection devices
  • Surgery 

How is performance anxiety treated?

Following are some of the alternatives to manage the symptoms of performance anxiety:

  • education about sex and sexual behaviors
  • couples counseling to help fix relationship issues
  • sex therapy to work through intimacy and performance issues
  • talk therapy to alleviate stress, depression, and other life concerns
  • meditation
  • eradicating stressful factors from your life
  • being open about your worries and anxiety with your partner
  • clearing your head of negative thoughts
  • change in lifestyle, like eating healthily and exercising regularly
  • not rushing sex
  • Concentrating on what you can do, not what you think you should do
  • Guided imagery (a therapeutic technique to reduce anxiety)


Erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety are not the same. Yes, the two conditions are closely related, and that’s the reason why most people misinterpret them. Consider the symptoms, causes, and treatment to comprehend the primary differences between the two.