By Marc Braman, MD, MPH

MB (Marc Braman, MD, MPH):
Our brains and psyches are “command and control”. The state of being and the messages going out to the body are a huge factor in how things work or don’t work — including below the belt line.

With ED it can be frustrating to be thinking you want to have sex, but certain important aspects of one’s anatomy necessary to do this don’t seem to be listening. The problem may be that the rest of your nervous system has been constantly sending out tons of signals indicating you are in no condition to be having children. One small positive contradictory message in that sea of negative messages often isn’t able to change things quickly.

Mood problems in particular can have a very negative effect on erectile function — conditions like depression and anxiety, which are very common in today’s world. To make matters worse, medications like anti-depressants are some of the medications most likely to cause ED all by themselves.

Probably one of the first and best things a man with ED can do, is to recognize that mental and emotional conditions may be the real problem. Getting more depressed or anxious about ED when you are already depressed or anxious is only going to make things worse. Don’t go there.

One common trap our society seems to push men into, is to have our state of mind be determined by our sex life. Certainly, sex can be a major pleasure and joy of life. But to be in a place where we think happiness is primarily determined by certain expectations of sex being fulfilled, sets us up for failure. It is not how we are biologically wired to find real happiness.

Sometimes the best treatment for ED is to work to identify and correct the causes of the underlying mental and emotional conditions.

We need Mother Nature at “command and control” giving the “all systems go” signal.

Newly diagnosed panic disorder and the risk of erectile dysfunction: A population-based cohort study in Taiwan. Wang YT, Chen HH, Lin CH, Lee SH, Chan CH, Huang SS. Psychiatry Res. 2016 Oct 30;244:229-34. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.07.037. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Depressed affect and male sexual arousal. Meisler AW, Carey MP. Arch Sex Behav. 1991 Dec;20(6):541-54.

Difficulties in achieving vs maintaining erection: organic, psychogenic and relational determinants. Corona G, Petrone L, Mannucci E, Mansani R, Balercia G, Krausz C, Giommi R, Forti G, Maggi M. Int J Impot Res. 2005 May-Jun;17(3):252-8.

Marital sexual dysfunction: erectile dysfunction. Levine SB. Ann Intern Med. 1976 Sep;85(3):340-50.

Marc Braman, MD, MPH

Dr. Braman is board certified in preventive medicine/public health and occupational/environmental medicine. He is founding member, second President and first Executive Director of American College of Lifestyle Medicine and founder and current president of the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation which created He provides lifestyle medicine care in a wide variety of settings as well as initiating efforts to establish professional standards for the field of lifestyle medicine and planning and conducting national professional conferences in lifestyle medicine.

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your support counts!


We are a non-profit providing lifestyle medicine education to the public at no charge. Help us on our journey to change the world and millions of lives through lifestyle medicine!