Organic vs. Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction

erectile dysfunction

These are the common descriptions of ED and if you want another way to think about ED please see my blog post: It’s NOT Erectile Dysfunction.

It is important to note that psychogenic erectile dysfunction should be ruled out first before adopting a “label” of erectile dysfunction.

Organic Erectile Dysfunction, also known as Organic Impotence, refers to the inability to obtain an erection firm enough for vaginal penetration, or the inability to sustain the erection until completion of intercourse.

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual performance owing predominantly or exclusively to psychological or interpersonal factors.

Organic impotence is a disorder that persists for several months to several years and does not change due to partners or sexual activities including masturbation or desire for sex.  Men lose their morning erections and partial erections and over time are unable get an erection at all.  Vascular disease is the most common cause of organic impotence and Leriche’s syndrome of aortoiliac occlusion will result in loss of muscle mass and impotence.  Laboratory tests and a thorough evaluation needs to happen to determine if it is organic impotence over psychogenic erectile dysfunction to rule out the possibility of psychological or interpersonal factors.

It is important that men with erectile dysfunction see a doctor or urologist before seeking treatment in sex therapy or counseling to determine whether or not the origins are organic or psychogenic as the treatments for organic impotence will differ. Psychogenic impotence implies that there is a psychological connection which is affecting the body.  With this type of erectile dysfunction men benefit from clinical sexology and sex therapy  to talk about what is happening, discuss any trauma that may have occurred and gain tools to reconnect with healthy and pleasurable sexual desire.  Organic impotence may need medical treatment and may not respond to therapy but rather, must be dealt with as part of a larger medical issue.  

 

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