Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Erectile dysfunction – Does it work?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ED

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ED – Key Takeaways

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction caused by psychological factors such as stress and anxiety.
  • CBT works by addressing unrealistic expectations and negative thinking patterns related to sex.
  • Mindfulness-based CBT is a promising solution for ED that involves both CBT and mindfulness techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation can also help ease anxiety.
  • Online CBT programs have also shown success in helping men overcome ED.


Erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual dysfunction in men, and one of the most frustrating sexual issues that men face in bed. Although Viagra usually comes to mind as a popular treatment option for ED, this isn’t always the best solution.

When it comes to sexual problems, many men prefer to use sex therapy techniques when possible. This is especially true when the root cause of their problem is psychological. One of the best therapy approaches for erectile dysfunction is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

Does CBT work for erectile dysfunction?

The short answer is: yes! When erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, performance anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for erectile dysfunction can help.

In fact, cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to help men overcome erectile dysfunction in several studies over the past 20 or so years.

How does cognitive behavioral therapy for ED work?

CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps a person to unlearn and modify problematic behaviors. Unlike some forms of therapy, which delve into a person’s past, CBT is a here-and-now approach. It uncovers unrealistic expectations or beliefs about sex and negative thinking patterns and behaviors which can lead a person to experience ED. 

CBT draws on a number of techniques such as cognitive restructuring, stimulus control, sensate focus, and sexual education. Since stress and anxiety are at the root of most psychological erectile dysfunction cases, a therapist can also teach you some relaxation techniques. Deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises can help ease anxiety, and mindful masturbation can teach you to be more aware of your sexual response.

Can I do cognitive behavioral therapy by myself?

Many men are too embarrassed to see a therapist face-to-face. Luckily, you don’t have to see a therapist in person. Recent studies have shown that online CBT for erectile dysfunction is a very effective therapeutic intervention.

Another option is to use mindfulness-based CBT for erectile dysfunction. This is a technique that employs mindfulness meditation to implement CBT concepts. A recent 2018 study showed that 9 out of 10 men who practiced mindfulness meditation for four weeks overcame psychological erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety.

If you’re looking for an erectile dysfunction therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists directory.

Interested in speaking to a therapist online? Fill out the form on this page, and we will connect you with a certified sex therapist.

About Daniel Sher, MA

Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapy Expert

Daniel is a registered clinical psychologist and a sex therapy expert practicing in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the creator of the Between Us Clinic’s Performance Anxiety Program, an online mindfulness meditation program for erectile dysfunction.

He gained his master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2014. A component of his training and practice involves working in the context of sexual and sex-related issues.

Daniel also treats patients at his clinic for male sexual dysfunctions including, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and sexual performance anxiety.