Can Covid Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

man in blue shirt with black hat on backwards and his hand on his forehead, he looks preoccupied

Is erectile dysfunction a symptom of Covid?

Dear Cay,

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 2 years. We lived apart for most of that time but moved in together in January of this year just before the pandemic hit. My boyfriend is an extrovert and loves to socialize. We used to go out with friends a few times a week; being socially isolated has been hard on him. I am more introverted; it is not a change for me to stay home. The problem is that our personality differences have become a point of contention for him. He sarcastically teases me about being a wallflower. This never bothered him before now. He wants to talk all the time when I would prefer companionable silence. He gets made when I don’t want to talk about every little thing. Worst of all, when we have sex, I am having trouble getting erections consistently. When this happens, my boyfriend is downright mean about it. I have not had problems with erections before. I am young and healthy. I eat well and work out. My boyfriend is really hot and we usually have good sex. I wonder if there is a connection between covid and erectile dysfunction? Does COVID-19 cause erectile dysfunction? Is erectile dysfunction a symptom of Covid? What gives?


Erectile Dysfunction Is not Permanent

Dear Gabe,

It sounds to me that you are overlooking the emotional components of erectile functioning. Erections are not just about adequate blood flow but about relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue that surrounds the erectile chambers, allowing for full engorgement. I hear that you are not feeling that safe or comfortable right now with your boyfriend, and such conditions can raise your anxiety level to the point that erections are difficult or impossible. But erectile dysfunction is not permanent. A demanding or mean partner can be a big turnoff. Where is the appreciation for your differences and the recognition that such variation can be complementary? The larger context here is that under isolated pandemic conditions, it intensifies your differences. Introverts process things internally. Peace and quiet recharges the batteries of an introvert. Extroverts process everything outside themselves. Talking and socializing, recharge extroverts in a way that nothing else can. Perhaps your boyfriend is relying too heavily on you to fulfill his need for socializing. He needs to call/text/Zoom/walk in the park with his more outgoing friends regularly instead of expecting such engagement from you. He could join some online groups as well. The two of you may benefit from couple therapy to learn to communicate more effectively about this issue. Go to the Psychology Today Therapist Directory to find a therapist. Most therapists are offering tele-health during the pandemic.


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