Clinical hypnosis and the erectile dysfunction-al male
Clinical hypnosis works on the conscious and unconscious mind, removing negative thoughts and images that cause the problem.
By Sheila Menon
It is almost every man’s nightmare that he may one day find it impossible to achieve an erection. Should the unthinkable happen anyway, rather than falling to pieces in utter despair, it is best to see a doctor first to rule out heart disease, diabetes or even low testosterone levels.
Erectile dysfunction is hard on most men. They react in different ways to cover up their frustration – many are easily angered, reject their partners, become moody or get depressed. Many more turn to porn in wanting to try new ways of expressing themselves sexually, and some stay out late, delaying coming home to their partners.
Common psychological causes
Psychological issues can have a real physical effect on a man’s sexuality. Anxiety does not live in one’s head alone, but causes an increased heart rate, blood pressure issues, fatigue and counterproductive thoughts. In fact, psychological issues are the most common cause of erectile dysfunction.
21st century living is stressful and sometimes, even a little stress can affect sexual health in drastic ways. In fact worrying about the kids, bills to pay, the economy, and one’s job can wreak havoc on one’s sexual health.
The other common cause is depression. Men often lack the skills to recognise when they are depressed. But it is a real illness and can cause biochemical changes which affect sexual interest or libido.
But although psychological problems are distressing, they are generally caused by our emotional responses to things. This means that psychotherapy or clinical hypnotherapy can very often provide effective solutions.
The first step – be kind
Many men worry they will never be the same after experiencing erectile dysfunction for the first time. This can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, doubt about their ability to perform, even feelings of unmanliness. This in turn increases stress responses and can lead to performance anxiety.
Bedtime routines often become stressful. Instead of slipping naturally into the mood for a sexual encounter, someone suffering from erectile dysfunction is probably anxious about how his body will respond. In fact, he is probably trying to will himself into a state of arousal and when that doesn’t work, his mind frantically finds way on how he can fake exhaustion.
Clinical hypnotherapy can help
All clinical hypnotherapists know that when you “try” to do something consciously, it becomes harder to do. Anyone who has ever tried to go to sleep will know that the harder you try, the more and more awake you become.
There is a reason for this. You might be willing yourself asleep but the picture at the back of your mind (the one you might even be trying to ignore) is the image of lying in bed restless and awake – with all the frustrations associated with it. The harder you try to sleep, the more intense the image of lying awake, and eventually the greater the anxiety.
How clinical hypnosis works
Most psychosexual problems are about performance anxiety. The first step is to rebuild self-esteem. Clinical hypnosis works on the conscious and unconscious mind removing the negative thoughts and images causing the problem. The patient is then shown how to reconnect with his sense of sexual confidence, to remember successful sexual outcomes and to stop the anxiety thinking.
The advantage of clinical hypnotherapy is that it can work with unconscious fears and deep seated blockages, quickly and effectively.
Of course for the therapy to work, the patient needs opportunities to put his new found confidence into action. This is where the man’s partner comes in and the therapist will explain the mechanical aspects of what caused the problem, how male sexuality works and what role the partner plays in the recovery process.
Variety is the spice of life and having a “bedroom difficulty” provides an opportunity to get out of routine sexual interactions and try something new. A therapist will make suggestions to this effect but it takes two to make the journey of discovery fun.
Silent expectation can place pressure on a man’s fragile ego making it more difficult to summon up the courage and confidence to believe in himself again. Being a sympathetic and curious partner can make a huge difference for the success of any treatment.
Tips for success
Psychological issues require time, therapy and patience, so it really helps to make the process of reengaging, fun and meaningful.
In Asia, children often find their way into their parent’s bedrooms, even after the age of 10. Now may be the ideal opportunity to teach your child to sleep alone.
Couples often get caught up in daily routines so scheduling a date night, weekend away and time for intimacy can help rekindle sexual desire.
Remove all taboos, and learn how both partners’ sexual bodies work. People today live longer and stress, which is increasingly part of 21st century life, has an impact on sexual behaviour. This may be the time to discover new ways of sexual behaviour for the different stages of our lives.
Making sex about intimacy and pleasure, and not solely about performance, helps.
Sheila Menon is Principal of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH Asia).
End of erectile dysfunction