Phenomenological and existential contributions to the study of erectile dysfunction

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (4):597-608 (2021)
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The current medical approach to erectile dysfunction (ED) consists of physiological, psychological and social components. This paper proposes an additional framework for thinking about ED based on phenomenology, by focusing on the theory of sexual projection. This framework will be complementary to the current medical approach to ED. Our phenomenological analysis of ED provides philosophical depth and illuminates overlooked aspects in the study of ED. Mainly by appealing to Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, we suggest considering an additional etiology of ED in terms of a weakening of a function of sexual projection. We argue that sexual projection can be problematized through cognitive interferences, changes in the ‘intentional arc’, and modifications in the subject’s ‘body schema’. Our approach further highlights the importance of considering the ‘existential situation’ of patients with ED. We close by reflecting briefly on some of the implications of this phenomenological framework for diagnosis and treatment of ED.



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Author Profiles

Corijn van Mazijk
University of Groningen
Fred Keijzer
University of Groningen

Citations of this work

Pain and temporality: a merleau-pontyian approach.Judith N. Wagner - forthcoming - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy:1-11.
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References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945/1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
How the Body Shapes the Mind.Shaun Gallagher - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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