EMDR & Treating Sexual Dysfunction

According to recent studies, one in four men under the age of 40 suffers from erectile dysfunction. The causes range from physical to psychological, but this is the first time that so many younger men have dealt with Sexual Dysfunction.

Physical causes can vary from age and cardiovascular problems due to diet and lack of exercise to substance abuse with smoking, alcohol, and drugs. ED can also be a symptom of primary trauma, depression, or anxiety. Stressful things like becoming a parent or losing a job can be to blame. When the root cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological, treatment is a great remedy. While talk therapy is a great starting point, more specialized treatment can be a total game-changer for erectile dysfunction: eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR therapy. Before we get into the details of EMDR treatment, there is an important first step every man should take when deciding to seek help for ED – he should be willing to talk about it or at least make the first appointment.

Why is it so hard for men to talk about ED?

Talking about issues related to sex is difficult for everyone. We’ve got that. Unfortunately, with the development of gender stereotypes and the various norms set by society, men are expected to act and react in certain ways. According to stereotypes, men must be strong, “manly” and free from sensitive feelings to avoid being seen as weak in the eyes of others. Much of that has become intertwined with a man’s sexuality and the inability to perform sexually can be extremely embarrassing to many, especially younger men. As a result, many people with erectile dysfunction even struggle to admit they have a problem. This stage of denial only makes the situation worse and makes recovery more difficult.

When dealing with ED caused by psychological causes, the initial concern is to decode the trigger moment that initially caused the problem. Sometimes, it can stem from a one-time situation, but as a result, future sexual encounters become frightening and disconcerting, thus creating a mental block. Sometimes, erectile dysfunction may occur as a result of depression, anxiety, or trauma. Men who were physically, mentally, or sexually abused in childhood often develop erectile dysfunction at some point. It is important to understand that ED is a symptom of unresolved problems. Confidence is an essential trait for many men and the decline in self-empowerment can affect them in many ways, including their sex lives. Once the root cause is understood, treatment can begin.

EMDR therapy is a comprehensive treatment that started as shock therapy. However, EMDR therapy has increasingly been found to treat many mental health disorders. One of the goals of EMDR therapy is to resolve the effects of traumatic memories by engaging the brain’s natural adaptive information processing mechanisms that restore current symptoms. The therapy is an eight-stage structured approach that involves having the client remember the painful images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, such as lateral eye movements.

How does EMDR treat Sexual Dysfunction?

EMDR therapy was originally designed in the 1980s as a new way to help treat PTSD, and since then there have been only two other primary types of trauma therapy: cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. According to Dr. Shapiro, creator of EMDR, at New York Times Q&A, EMDR differs from these technologies because “the focus in E.M.D.R. is to help the information processing system make the automatic communications needed to resolve the disorder. Specific actions are used to help clients maintain a sense of control during Memory work where the therapist directs the focus of their attention They only need to focus briefly on the disturbing memory during processing as they engage in bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps, or tones) where the internal connections are made The client’s brain makes the required connections as new feelings, sensations, beliefs and memories emerge “.

When dealing with erectile dysfunction caused by psychological causes, EMDR therapy is an ideal form of treatment to help patients get to the root cause and have a chance to reprocess the information to produce a new result – one without ED. The biggest challenge patients will have will be finding the ability to seek help with the problem with a professional therapist, and when dealing with erectile dysfunction, the better. The massive increase in the number of young people suffering from ED is something we have the power to change, as long as these individuals are willing to seek treatment.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

    Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing Therapy treatment is short-term, effective, and can be done in person or at home through online therapy.
  • EMDR Therapy Phases

    The eight stages of EMDR therapy are a map that the EMDR therapist follows to provide a framework for understanding the treatment process.
  • EMDR as Treatment

    EMDR therapy is an effective way to get over your past and serves as a treatment option for those suffering from anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, or trauma.
  • EMDR & Anxiety

    EMDR Therapy is often used to treat anxiety disorders as more and more clinicians & patients begin to understand the benefits of treatment.
  • EMDR & Depression

    Identifying strong & negative thoughts or beliefs is a key benefit of EMDR Therapy, making EMDR a strong treatment for depression & major depressive disorders.
  • EMDR & Poor Job Performance

    Both employees & executives often work at below their potential because of past trauma caused by a history of criticism, mistakes , self-questioning or relational abuse. EMDR Therapy can help.
  • EMDR & Low Self Esteem

    EMDR Therapy is an effective treatment for helping those with low self esteem. It can define if your feelings are the result of abuse as a child or if something more recent is impacting your self esteem.
  • EMDR & Sexual Dysfunction

    Sexual dysfunction often ties back to deep-rooted psychological causes; EMDR Therapy helps the patient (and therapist) get to the root cause and have a chance to "reprocess" the info for a better result without dysfunction.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) & Mental Health Service Provider (MHSP) in Tennessee

I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of EMDR Therapy and have seen the treatment help my patients time and time again. With over 15 years of experience in traditional personal & family therapy & counseling in my background, I find as an EMDR therapist in Tennessee that the treatment works faster to highlight and address deep-rooted problems than traditional treatment modalities.  Most of my patients end up working with me through traditional therapy and counseling while also undergoing EMDR therapy under my direction. 

Steven Lepley LPC, MHSP

Steven Lepley LPC, MHSP

Licensed in Tennessee

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Health Services Provider & EMDR Therapist offering virtual telemedicine appointments throughout all of Tennessee.

Ask me about my experience & how I can help you address the challenges you are facing. Call me or text me at 615.330.2659.