Disorder Information Sheet Mental Health Information from PsychNet-UK
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Male Erectile Disorder

Is the recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an adequate erection until completion of sexual activity. It is not considered male erectile disorder if it is merely an occasional problem or if it does not create distress and interpersonal difficulty.

Chronically or repeatedly, the patient cannot get or keep an erection sufficient to complete the sexual activity.

Except for another Sexual Dysfunction.

It is not directly caused by substance use (medication or drug of abuse) or by a general medical condition.

It causes marked distress or interpersonal problems.

Associated Features:

Mood Disorders
Anxiety Disorders

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder


It can be due to psychological or a combination of psychological and physical factors, and it can occur in most or just some settings. For some, the onset occurs at a specific time in life (acquired) as in response to a specific situation. For others, it may be of lifelong duration. Erectile disorders may accompany a fear of failure. Sometimes this disorder is present throughout life. In many cases the erectile failure is intermittent and sometimes dependent upon the type of partner or the quality of the relationship.


Psychosocial factors are important in all forms of erectile dysfunction. Careful attention to these issues and attempts to relieve sexual anxieties should be a part of the therapeutic intervention for all patients with erectile dysfunction. Psychotherapy and/or behavioral therapy alone may be helpful for some patients in whom no organic cause of erectile dysfunction is detected. Other forms of treatment may involve:Injection of vasodilating drugs into the penis. penile prosthesis or implants, vascular surgery and vacuum device therapy.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See General Therapy Section  - Sex Therapy Section ]:

The treatment of sexual desire/aversion/arousal/pain/orgasm disorders generally involves behavioral techniques.

Pharmacotherapy [ See Psychopharmacology Section ] :

A trial of androgen replacement may be worthwhile in men with low serum testosterone levels if there are no other contraindications. In contrast, for men who have normal testosterone levels, androgen therapy is inappropriate and may carry significant health risks, especially in the situation of unrecognized prostate cancer. If androgen therapy is indicated, it should be given in the form of intramuscular injections of testosterone enanthate or cypionate.

Medical & Other:

Injection of vasodilator substances into the corpora of the penis has provided a new therapeutic technique for a variety of causes of erectile dysfunction.

Vacuum constriction devices may be effective at generating and maintaining erections in many patients with erectile dysfunction and these appear to have a low incidence of side effects.

Three forms of penile prostheses are available for patients who fail with or refuse other forms of therapy: semi rigid , malleable, and inflatable.

related books
  Impotence: Diagnosis and Management of Male Erectile Dysfunction
UK Support Groups
  The Impotence Association

PO Box 10296
SW17 9WH
020 8767 779
Web: http://www.impotence.org.uk
PsychNet-UK Links
  Male Sexual Disorders
Page Updated
20th July 2003