High Libido but Erectile Dysfunction – How is it Possible?

Man sitting in bed confused as to how can he have both high libido and erectile dysfunction

Can you have a high libido but still experience erectile dysfunction? The answer is surprisingly yes!

Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common and bothersome sexual issues men face. Contrary to what many people believe, the fact that a man suffers from erectile dysfunction does not mean he has lost the desire for sex.

In fact, as it turns out, men with high libidos and erectile dysfunction experience more frustration with their erectile dysfunction than men with typical or low libidos.

In this article, I’ll talk about how both high libido and even hypersexuality can coexist with erectile dysfunction. We’ll also explore some of the treatments you can use to overcome ED.

Do men with erectile dysfunction have libido?

Yes – men with erectile dysfunction can have high libido! But how can it be? It all makes perfect sense when we look at one of the more common models of sexual response:

  • Desire— Before achieving a physical erection, psychological or physical stimulation triggers excitement, making men open to sex.
  • Excitement or arousal— Physical erection occurs, reaching its peak (or plateau). Men may notice an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and rapid breathing.
  • Orgasm— This marks the peak of sexual pleasure and often includes ejaculation (though not always).
  • Resolution— The body and penis return to their normal state. Men also experience a normal refractory period, making it impossible to achieve another erection immediately.

As you can see, sexual desire is the first step the cycle, that often comes before excitement or arousal – the step in which an erection happens. So, you can have a strong desire to have sex, but find yourself unable to achieve an erection when there is a disturbance in the excitement phase.

This can happen both during partnered sex or masturbation. Problems achieving an erection can have psychological or physiological root causes.

Understanding the root cause can guide us in determining the most effective treatment.

How do you know if ED is physical or psychological? Generally speaking, if you can have an erection in a stress-free environment, such as during masturbation or when fantasizing, or if you have morning erections, it’s probable that psychological factors are at play.

Losing an erection in the excitement phase can be a sign of performance anxiety

If you find yourself distracted by negative thoughts, concerns about failure, or fears about losing your erection during sex, you probably suffer from performance anxiety.

This is especially true if you have no problems having an erection in other scenarios.

It is easier for an erection to happen when you are mentally aroused. When you’re aroused, your brain signals your body to pump blood into your penis, which form an erection.

When you’re flooded with negative thoughts and emotions, arousal becomes incredibly difficult. Even if you had an erection, when you experience anxiety, blood flow is redirected away from your penis, which can make you lose your erection.

So, what can you do to fight performance anxiety? One of the leading treatment methods is practicing mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to stay in the moment during sex. When you’re totally focused on your present experience, you’re essentially blocking the negative thoughts that would otherwise make you lose your erection.

Mindfulness has been shown to be an incredibly effective tool in fighting anxiety, including this recent study which showed that 9 out of 10 men with psychological erectile dysfunction who practiced daily mindfulness exercises for 4 weeks were able to regain their erections.

Weak erections or no erections when you have high desire can indicate a physical problem

If you have high libido, are feeling aroused, but still have a weak erection, or even no erection at all, this might indicate a blood flow issue to the penis.

The most significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction is age, but bad lifestyle habits such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising enough, and gaining too much weight can all lead to blood flow issues, which can in turn cause erectile dysfunction.

Luckily, making lifestyle improvements has been shown to be very effective in preventing, and even reversing erectile dysfunction.

Another alternative is taking erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, of their generic versions. These medications help improve blood flow to the penis during sex.

Penis pumps and wearable devices can pump and then trap blood inside the penis which keeps your erection going long enough to have sex. Other more intrusive options include injections and penis implants.

It’s important to remember, that erectile dysfunction can be a sign of more serious health issues, so it is always a good idea to consult your doctor if you experience physiological erectile dysfunction.


Men can have both high libido and erectile dysfunction. If you have high libido, erectile dysfunction becomes even more bothersome. Luckily, many cases of erectile dysfunction can be resolved or at least significantly improved!

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by both psychological and physiological reasons.

If you can have erections when you’re in a stress-free environment, but lose it when you’re stressed, you probably have performance anxiety. In that case, mindfulness meditation can be a very helpful treatment option.

If you can’t have an erection even when you’re sexually aroused, or have weak erections, this might indicate a blood flow issue. ED medications, penis pumps, injections or surgery can all help you get your erection back.

About Bailey Hanek PsyD

Clinical Psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist

Dr. Bailey Hanek is a clinical psychologist and an AASECT-certified sex therapist. She serves as a professional consultant for Between Us Clinic. Dr. Hanek provides sex therapy and general psychotherapy to adults in her private practice. In addition, she works to increase access to information about relationship and sexual health through her founding role in The Relationship Coaches.