By Men's Health Clinic
Erectile dysfunction or ED is something widely considered an “old man” thing, but did you know that it’s a growing concern even among younger men? According to a 2013 study published in the National Library of Medicine, roughly 1 out of 4 men suffering from erectile dysfunction are younger than 40 years old.
While ED among younger men caused by physical conditions such as injuries or hormonal imbalances are straightforward, psychological causes are much more nuanced. This time, we’ll check out one of the most overarching reasons why a young man can’t get an erection: social pressure.
Social pressure is a complicated factor because it comes in many forms. Whether it’s from a single individual, a group, the entire society, or even the individual, social pressure can cause long-term damage to a man’s ability to perform in bed. Here’s a brief glimpse into social pressure’s many aspects.
Even before birth, a man feels the effect of social pressure. Males are fitted with boy’s clothes and toys, and they grow up in a world that tells them what is “manly” and what is not. This standard for manliness varies depending on religion and culture; this can be controversial, but that discussion can be saved for another day.
The real problem starts when a boy grows up feeling the pressure of having to keep up with that standard. He feels less of a man for not being able to look or act as manly as society would expect from him. This can either cause the boy to compensate later in life or keep him emasculated to the point where even having an erection can be difficult.
When people talk about peer pressure, they usually think about friends urging each other to try out different things. These are commonly seen in hyper-masculine environments, where “frat boy culture” is prevalent. Not obliging the group could cause a feeling of inadequacy on the man’s part that can cause performance issues in bed later in life.
However, even with the most accepting circle of friends, peer pressure could still cause a man to feel insecure about his manhood. Being the last to be in a relationship or having the least achievements in a group of men can damage a man’s sense of self-worth to the point of causing ED.
Pressure from the family can be one of the most problematic aspects of social pressure. Whether it’s pressure from the man’s parents to have a grandchild, demands to get a partner that would live up to their standards, or even a history of childhood trauma takes away some of a man’s sense of control over his life, breeding insecurity and indirectly leading to problems such as ED.
Familiar pressure is usually a major factor for single men, but getting a partner doesn’t always mean being free from it. In fact, some men may think of their partner’s family as another group of people whose standards they’d have to live up to. There may even be cases where it is the partner’s family that puts more pressure on the man.
For some married men, ED can be caused by social pressure from their partner. One of the most common examples of this would be the partner wanting the man to satisfy them in bed. If the man keeps finishing first, this might lead to the man thinking that he has sexual dysfunction.
Outside the bedroom, social pressure from a partner tends to be related to the man’s career and ability to provide for the household. If the man earns less than their partner, they may feel emasculated about it. Summed up, anything that the man sees as inadequate for their partner can lower his self-esteem and possibly manifest as ED.
One of the key takeaways from what was discussed is that a big part of social pressure is not explicitly stated, but only perceived as such by the individual. While dealing with societal pressure is a matter of coming to terms with man’s individuality, other aspects can be sorted out by a healthy discussion among the people involved.
[Image suggestion – young man seeking counsel from a pro, preferably with wife/partner?]
For peer and familial pressure, talking about which concerns are valid and which ones are unfounded can undo a lot of unnecessary pressure. Issues that are completely valid can further be discussed in hope of a resolution, or at very least a compromise. Pressure from partners can be of a more intimate nature and is best managed with help from a certified counselor via couple’s therapy.
The effects of social pressure can be felt as early as a man’s transformative years; it’s everywhere, it’s unavoidable, and it can lead to problems such as ED. Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid the damaging effects of social pressure by learning how to take it head on. Symptoms such as ED can also be managed via ED therapy and regular counseling, and even talking it out with loved ones can go a long way in protecting a man’s self-esteem.
Do you want to know more about ED and other men’s health issues? Get in touch with our team of experts and we’ll help you out.
With one of our Senior Patient Coordinators who can provide you with more information regarding bespoke treatment options.