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Understanding The Link Between Narcissism & Erectile Dysfunction

Updated: May 31, 2023

narcissism and erectile dysfunction sticky note

It's no secret that narcissism can have devastating effects on relationships, in both intimate and friendships. However, what many may not know is the link between narcissism and erectile dysfunction. Research is showing that men that have narcissistic behaviors are prone to developing sexual dysfunctions.

While there is much more to learn and research about the link between narcissism and ED, it’s important for those affected by either condition to be aware of what is currently known.

So, today we're going to take a closer look at why narcissism may be linked to erectile dysfunction.

What Is Narcissism?

the word narcissism in the dictionary

First, we need to talk briefly about narcissism, as having a good understanding about it will help us better understand it's connection to ED. The term “narcissism” typically refers to extreme vanity or self-importance, but this is only part of the story. In psychology, narcissism is seen as a personality disorder that manifests itself in feelings of grandiosity, entitlement, and an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance.

People with narcissistic tendencies are often driven by their own needs and desires above all else, which can make them difficult to form meaningful relationships on both a professional and personal level.

Understanding Human Attachment

Human attachment is a powerful and complex phenomenon that has been studied extensively by psychologists. Attachment refers to the bond that starts to develop in the earliest stages of childhood, usually between an infant and their primary caregiver, (which most of the time is a mother). This bond is characterized by feelings of safety, trust, and comfort as well as a sense of connectedness between child and caregiver.

family representing human attachment

The theory of attachment was first proposed by British psychiatrist John Bowlby in the 1950s. According to Bowlby's theory, infants form an emotional connection with their primary caregiver through a series of interactions over time.

This connection helps the infant build strong foundations for social relationships later in life, including those with romantic partners, and allows them to better cope with stressors or difficult circumstances they may encounter through adulthood and life.

If the caretaker made you feel safe and understood then you are much more likely to create successful and secure attachments/relationships. However, on the flip side, if you experienced confusing, frightening, or inconsistent emotional communication with your caregiver, you’re more likely have unsuccessful or insecure attachments/relationships.

Avoidant Attachment

People with avoidant attachment styles may have learned from their caretakers that it is unsafe to be emotionally close to others. This can manifest itself through the tendency to push away potential intimate partners and other relationships, even when the individual would benefit from them.

People with this type of attachment style tend to have difficulty expressing vulnerability and connecting on an emotional level as well as relying on others for support or comfort. They may also experience difficulty forming trusting relationships because of fear of rejection or abandonment.

man with avoidant attachment style

In order to better understand why someone might develop an avoidant attachment style it is important to look at factors such as early childhood experiences, parenting style, and genetic predisposition.

A person’s early childhood experiences can impact how they view themselves and others throughout their life; if they experienced inconsistent care or lack of support during childhood they may be more likely to develop an avoidant attachment style later on in life. Additionally, those who grow up with cold, distant parents may find it difficult to trust people later on in life because they never had a chance to form secure attachments in their early years.

Overall, individuals with an avoidant attachment style struggle greatly when it comes to establishing close relationships due to past experiences that has led them down this path.

Why They Are Not Open to Criticism & "Talking About It"

Men with an avoidant-dismissive attachment style are typically not open to criticism and prefer to keep their distance from close relationships. They value their independence and freedom, which means they often feel uncomfortable with, or even stifled by, emotional intimacy. This can lead them to minimize or disregard their partner’s feelings and be dismissive of criticism from others.

Furthermore, men with avoidant-dismissive attachment styles tend to have difficulty expressing themselves emotionally so they may not be able to articulate their feelings in a constructive way when faced with criticism especially in "intimate relationships".

As an attempt to protect themselves from any potential vulnerability or discomfort caused by criticism, men with this attachment style may shut down completely when faced with it. They may try to distance themselves from the situation or push away the person offering the critique. These behaviors are very common amongst people who do not like to be vulnerable and rely on their independence as a form of protection.

anxious everyday marked on the calendar

Additionally, these individuals may also engage in various forms of avoidance such as procrastination, perfectionism, and self-criticism in order to cope with the anxiousness they experience when facing criticism from others. This is done as a way of shielding themselves from any such vulnerability that could potentially come up during moments of constructive criticism.

This doesn't just apply within intimate relationships either though. People with avoidant attachment styles may have a difficult time talking to their doctors about issues such as erectile dysfunction, due to the fear of being vulnerable and emotionally exposed. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed which can prevent them from seeking help. This is why it is important for those with an avoidant attachment style to be aware of how they are feeling so they can more easily identify when therapy or medical help might be necessary.

Psychogenic ED & Narcissism

If you've made it this far into the article, you've probably by now started to see the connection that narcissism can have with psychogenic ED. If you've done your research about ED or have followed us here at BDE Style, you know that there are several types of ED, one of which is psychogenic.

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological or emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, unresolved relationship issues, or low self-esteem. Psychogenic ED can also be triggered or exacerbated by physical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

man with psychogenic ed and narcissism

The key difference between psychogenic ED and other types of ED is that it has its root cause in psychological or emotional issues rather than physiological ones. This means that proper treatment requires addressing the underlying psychological causes often through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)or other forms of counseling.

Narcissism can lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem which can affect a person’s ability to perform sexually due to an overwhelming fear of being judged or rejected by their partner. This fear might then cause them to become further anxious about performing which could result in a cycle of anxiety and performance anxiety leading up to sexual encounters.

Medical Gaslighting, MDs, & Therapy for Psychogenic ED

For individuals with an avoidant attachment style, which may include those with narcissistic traits, seeking help for psychogenic ED involves a number of steps that need to be taken in order to address the underlying psychological issues causing the problem.

The first step usually involves assessing any potential underlying psychological issues such as unresolved relationship issues, stress, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Once these factors have been identified, it's easier for a doctor or therapist to help you overcome those issues in order to help treat psychogenic ED. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of counseling can help by learning and understand how they are responding emotionally and mentally to certain situations related to their sexuality and their intimate relationships.

It is important to note for those with a narcissistic attachment style who are experiencing symptoms of psychogenic ED to be aware of medical gaslighting when seeking professional help through CBT or other forms of counseling.

Medical gaslighting is a form of manipulation wherein an individual's feelings about their medical condition are disregarded by medical professionals who fail to take into consideration all aspects of the individual's experience. This is something that is not talked about enough and something we think is important to be aware of as this could be devastating for someone with narcissistic behaviors.

doctor gaslighting patient

By disregarding the patient's feelings about their condition or downplaying their symptoms, medical gaslighting can lead patients down a path where they start believing that they themselves are at fault for their condition rather than any underlying psychological issue that needs addressing. Which leads to another whole mess of breaking down emotions and making matters worse.

It is thus imperative that individuals with an avoidant attachment style understand this before seeking out professional help from both mental health professionals and medical doctors.

Just be aware that their are doctors out there who may not have your best interest in mind but would rather give you a pill or downplay your situation.

It's important to note that we are not saying all MDs are like this, only pointing out that there are some how are and to be aware and ready for it.

Ultimately, understanding the connection between narcissism and psychogenic ED can go a long way in terms of knowing how best to approach treatment. It's important to understanding that erectile dysfunction may be a manifestation of narcissistic personality disorder. Which is why it's a good idea to think of it as a mind and body relationship.

Narcissistic Behaviors & ED

Ultimately there is still much we don't know about the link between narcissism and erectile dysfunction however it's clear that there are certain factors at play such as anxiety/stress levels, emotional management issues, and difficulties forming intimate relationships all which could contribute to erectile dysfunction in someone who suffers from narcissistic personality traits.

If you believe you may be suffering from either condition it's important you speak with a medical professional, seek therapy, and learn more about the connection between narcissistic behaviors and ED. This way you can get help and insight into how best manage your conditions going forward. It's never too late get help!


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