What causes impotency ?

  • Psychological factors: Most of the impotency cases appear among young adults, which can be due to psychological causes. In some, disturb relationship with the partner may result into impotency. These psychological factors include:
    • Performance anxiety (i.e. fear of failure in sexual performance) is one of the commonest cause.
    • Interpersonal factors like marital discord. It has been found through research that even a trivial domestic problem like a fight with the spouse (here impotency may be expressed as hostility towards partner) or stress at the office can affect the sexual performance.
    • Person’s self esteem, his past sexual experiences and his understanding of sex.
    • Person’s sexual and non sexual relationship with partner.
    • Availability of time and space.
    • Presence of stress, anxiety, depression.
    • Fear of pregnancy.
    • Homosexual impulses can affect heterosexual performance.
  • Physical factors:
    • Increasing Age: Men do not realize the fact that some degree of decrease in erectile function is a normal part of aging and hence they should not expect to have the same sexual vigor which they enjoyed years ago.
    • Injury to a part or component of penis like nerves, arteries or muscles can cause impotency. The injuries may be due to different diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, heart problems and atherosclerosis. Direct injury may occur due to trauma or due to surgical procedures like prostate surgery. Trauma to spine and the nerves supplying penis can also cause impotency.
    • Drug abuse: Alcoholism and smoking are frequently associated with impotency.
    • Drugs for high blood pressure, allergies, depression, anxiety and other medical problems can also cause impotency.


  • The person is not able to attain or maintain erection of penis for the purpose of a satisfactory sexual activity.
  • Most of the time they fail to penetrate the vagina (an occasional failure to penetrate or achieve erection, but it does not merit any concern).
  • There can be loss of tumescence (enlarging of penis) immediately after the penetration.
  • Inability to achieve erection can appear at any time of sexual life. The person often comes with a normal history of sexual life and inability to erect appeared recently.
  • Some of them can have the problem right since the beginning of sexual life.
  • At times the problem can be situational i.e. the person is not able to achieve erection with a specific partner (say regular partner or wife) but is able to have sustained erection while masturbation or with some other partner.

What are the other problem associated with impotency?

  • A person suffering from impotency may develop fear of sexual activity. Often they remain tense about it. This leads to frustration, low self-esteem and depression.
  • Impotency may be the cause of unconsummated marriage, infertility, marital disharmony, divorce.
  • Some people may lose interest in life and remain preoccupied with their sexual deficiencies. They remain isolated and do not show any interest in social activities. They neglect their studies, occupation and self care and at times may even commit suicide.