I blame erectile dysfunction and many other debilities on the inhibitive influences at work in our social processes, most especially the oppressive sexual-phobic processes that instill unreasonably inhibitive behaviors with only rhetorical justification. A lifetime of thwarting one’s own sexual urges becomes a habit wherein such urges turn themselves off. What keeps men monogamous and out of jail at a young age keeps them off the bouncing springs and in the doctors’ clinics in their old age. A long list of physical causes can be gleaned from any medical Internet site. What I am saying is that many or most of those causes result, in one way or another, from socially induced mental and physical imbalance that, in turn, induces chronic stress. People talk and write a lot about debilities resulting from stress but seem unaware of physiological imbalance, or to avoid it, maybe because that goes against the need to sell pills. Many variations of chronic stress induce a long list of phobias. We have reached and surpassed a point in the development of most societies in the world to where all kinds of social phobias are vying against each other for dominance. Many are someway relevant to sexuality or induce sexual dysfunction

Erotophobia – fear of sexual love or sexual abuse. This prevalent phobia appears to contribute heavily to the irrationality that in turn drives American political processes. True, the human sex drive, an evolutionary development that assured our slow, weak and clumsy species would procreate often enough to provide a dependable food supply for predators, now works against assurance of our survival into the long term future. Condemning that drive as lust, lasciviousness, lewdness and any other derogatory terms does nothing toward stifling it, and does everything to forestall constructive thought on what we must recognize as a problem from which a majority of the human population directly or indirectly suffers in many-times unrecognized ways.

Gymnophobia, fear of being seen naked, or seeing others naked, is closely associated with erotophobia. Nakedness is seen as mainly a feature of sexual activity. Exposed genitalia and female (and, in some locales, male) breasts are seen as on display as a signal of sexual invitation to others.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnophobia ) is a fear (phobia) of nudity. Gymnophobics experience anxiety from nudity, even if they realize their fear is irrational. They may worry about seeing others naked or being seen naked, or both. Their fear may stem from a general anxiety about sexuality, from a fear that they are physically inferior, or from a fear that their nakedness leaves them exposed and unprotected.[3](reference links are left intact to indicate where live links may be found on the site page. Please go to the indicated pages to find verifications).

This page warns that “Gymnophobia should not be confused with avoidance or shunning of many forms of nudity on modesty or other rational or moral grounds. Many people avoid public nudity as well as nudity in private situations, and some have an aversion to nudity as an aspect of prudishness or body shame.” While that may be true, it overlooks or avoids the contention made at the beginning of this piece, that such prudishness is, for the most part, culturally and socially induced. There are no rational grounds, but phobias rationalized into laws abound in this and other areas that affect our existence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Politics_of_Lust:  The Politics of Lust, by John Ince[1] argues that irrational sexual fear (“erotophobia”) pervades our culture, that it stays largely unrecognized, and that it affects our political orientation. Sexually repressive cultures produce rigid, authoritarian political systems.[2]

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(biology) .(Recommend to read the whole page to gain familiarity with homeostasis). Stress is a person’s response to a stressor such as an environmental condition or a stimulus. Stress is a body’s method of reacting to a challenge. According to the stressful event, the body responds to stress by sympathetic nervous system activation which results in the fight-or-flight response. Stress typically describes a negative condition or a positive condition that can have an impact on a person’s mental and physical well-being.

(From later on same page:) It is when the body’s HPA-axis cannot overcome a challenge and/or is chronically exposed to a threat that this system becomes overtaxed and can be harmful to the body and brain. A second major effect of cortisol is to suppress the body’s immune system during a stressful situation, again, for the purpose of redistributing metabolic resources primarily to fight-or-flight organs. While not a major risk to the body if only for a short period of time, if under chronic stress, the body becomes exceptionally vulnerable to immune system attacks. This is a biologically negative consequence of an exposure to a severe stressor and can be interpreted as stress in and of itself – a detrimental inability of biological mechanisms to effectively adapt to changes in homeostasis.

(From that same page) Selye published in 1975 a model dividing stress into eustress and distress.[33] Where stress enhances function (physical or mental, such as through strength training or challenging work), it may be considered eustress. Persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation, deemed distress, may lead to anxiety or withdrawal (depression) behavior.

(From that same page:) Erotophobes are less likely to talk about sex, have more negative reactions to sexually explicit material, and have sex less frequently and with fewer partners over time. In contrast, erotophiles score high on the opposite end of the scale, erotophilia, which is characterized by expressing less guilt about sex, talking about sex more openly, and holding more positive attitudes toward sexually explicit material.[2]

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence) Sexual violence is a serious public health problem and has a profound short or long-term impact on physical and mental health, such as an increased risk of sexual and reproductive health problems[6] or an increased risk of suicide or HIV infection. Murder occurring either during a sexual assault or as a result of an honor killing in response to a sexual assault is also a factor of sexual violence.

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism#Sexual_slavery) 95% of feminists agree that most fashion trends have been oppressive to women; they restrict women’s movements, increase their vulnerability and endanger their health.[238] The fashion industry is dealing with a great deal of criticism, as their association of thin-models and beauty has said to encourage bulimia and anorexia nervosa within women, as well as locking female consumers into “false” feminine identities.[239]

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_formation) “[h]igh ideals of virtue and goodness may be reaction formations against primitive object *cathexes rather than realistic values that are capable of being lived up to. Romantic notions of chastity and purity may mask crude sexual desires, altruism may hide selfishness, and piety may conceal sinfulness.”[3] *Note: The word ‘cathexes’, according to the Merriam-Webster Medical Desk Dictionary, is a plural noun meaning: “1: investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea. 2: libidinal energy that is either invested or being invested.” Libidinal (sexual) energy that has been redirected can serve creative or self-destructive functions that can either enhance or thwart homeostasis (the human body’s automatic balancing system) according to the nature of its origins. High ideals become counter-productive of community well-being when attempts to achieve or maintain them become all the community is about. The community loses equilibrium and conditions deteriorate until the impossible ideals are abandoned, or the community reaches a state where it can no longer sustain itself. The word ‘community’ can refer to a town, the members of an organization, a workplace or school system, or any other social gathering.

(The page continues:) Even more counter-intuitively, according to this model”[a] phobia is an example of a reaction formation. The person wants what he fears. He is not afraid of the object; he is afraid of the wish for the object. The reactive fear prevents the dreaded wish from being fulfilled.[3]

The concept of reaction formation has been used to explain responses to ~external threats as well as internal anxieties. ~Note: Large groups of humans organized to suit a purpose, or a single human in a role of authority, can surely be recognized as an external threat, especially in the absence of an effective defense, and in an authoritarian society such as the United States has become.

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterphobic_attitude)  ^Sex is a key area for counterphobic activity, sometimes powering hypersexuality in people who are actually afraid of the objects they believe they love.[7] Adolescents, fearing sex play, may jump over to a kind of spurious full sexuality;[8] adults may overvalue sex to cover an unconscious fear of the harm it may do.[9] Such a counterphobic approach may indeed be socially celebrated[10] in a postmodern vision of sex as gymnastic performance or hygiene,[11] fuelled by what Ken Wilber described as “an exuberant and fearless shallowness”.[12] ^Note: This can easily be understood as a variation of the previous subject, Reaction Formation.

(From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_stress_on_memory)  Chronic stress is a stressor that is ongoing for a long period of time. When chronic stress is experienced, our body is in a state of continuous physiological arousal.[15] Normally, our body activates our fight-or-flight-response, and when the perceived stress is over our body returns to a state of homeostasis. When chronic stress is perceived, however, the body is in a continuous state of fight-or-flight response and never reaches a state of homeostasis. The physiological effects of chronic stress can negatively affect memory and learning.[15]

(From same page:) Chronic stress and elevated cortisol (which is a biomarker for stress) has been known to lead to dementia in elderly people. [#3].

Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are released by the body in situations that are interpreted as being potentially dangerous. The hormone regulating system is known as the endocrine system. Cortisol is believed to affect the metabolic system and epinephrine is believed[by whom?] to play a role in ADHD as well as depression and hypertension.

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_hormone)       Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response) The parasympathetic nervous system originates in the spinal cord and medulla and works in concert with the sympathetic nervous system. Its main function is to activate the “rest and digest” response and return the body to homeostasis after the fight or flight response. This system utilizes and activates the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.[7]

(From same page) In current times, these responses persist, but fight and flight responses have assumed a wider range of behaviors. For example, the fight response may be manifested in angry, argumentative behavior, and the flight response may be manifested through social withdrawal, substance abuse, and even television viewing.[19]

If imbalanced living does induce stress, as seems obvious, our socially induced compunctions certainly play a leading role for most of us. I have left reference notations intact in the foregoing, not only so you can see them and find them at their origin, but so you can check them within their context. While this subject could easily fill a book, this short page offers but a few of the many possible stress effecters that may help you see how imbalance may give rise to the inability to rise, and understand how we may gain happier, more comfortable lives by a simple ongoing process wherein we pay attention to the stressors in our lives, learn to avoid those that harm us, and learn also how to recognize those related to our talents and interests that promise to reward us for our pain, the good stressors.

Copyright ©2014 by Lloyd H. Whitling. Permission to excerpt is granted if accompanied with credit to the author. Permission to reuse unchanged is granted only if accompanied with this notice and proper credit. All other rights reserved.