Erectile Dysfunction and Relationships

Erectile Dysfunction and Relationships

How erection problems can affect relationships

Relationships in general are hard work. Whether it’s communicating, being honest, accountable or vulnerability, relationships are a two-way street. When your sexual relationship is affected in the most intimate of moments, it can be tough to work through.

Embarrassment and shame are common reactions for men with erectile dysfunction. These feelings are further amplified when the problem becomes a common occurrence during sex. Although it may difficult to talk about erectile dysfunction with your partner, not talking about it can create concerns and issues with your relationship.

MedicineNet.com reports that refusing to address your erectile dysfunction issues with your partner can cause her to experience feelings of self-blame, anxiety, insecurity, hurt, and even anger. An uninformed partner may view your inability to get an erection as a sign you’re no longer interested in her sexually or that you’re having an affair.

When your partner asks questions about erectile dysfunction and you don’t address them, it can cause a further retreat into silence. In the end, avoidance tactics drive couples apart.

What to do when your significant other has ED

If your significant other is diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, this isn’t the end of your relationship, both sexual and emotional. Like every situation we encounter in a relationship, dealing with your partner’s erectile dysfunction requires patience, communication, and understanding.

Most importantly, remember that the problem isn’t you. Erectile dysfunction is a common issue that many men experience, so don’t blame yourself for your partner’s inability to have or hold an erection. There are many health issues that can lead to an ED diagnosis, none of which include your partner not finding you sexy or attractive.

  • Offer support, but be sensitive to your partner’s needs

    Your role is to be supportive and compassionate. Your partner may not want to admit that he has a problem, because he is too embarrassed to talk about it. As an equal in the relationship, find the courage and confidence to talk to your partner about it, and talk about different solutions together.
    Not only can medication help, but couple’s counseling or experimentation in the bedroom can bring back that spark you may be longing for.
  • Empathize with each other

    Erectile dysfunction can affect each partner. If you’re the partner with erectile dysfunction, recognize that changes to sex might be alarming or different for your partner. If you’re the partner to someone with erectile dysfunction, recognize how they might feel about their dysfunction and how that might affect their self-esteem or desire to engage in sex. Be loving and empathetic to one another and recognize each other’s struggles.While this experience may be hard on you, it’s likely hard on your partner as well. Show them that you support them.
  • Avoid blaming yourself or your partner

    Blame is not something that will help you or your partner feel better or perform better. Avoid blaming yourself or wondering if your partner isn’t attracted to you, is cheating, or you’re not pleasing them. Sexual dysfunction typically is caused by external factors such as medication or health influences, age, and stress.If your partner suffers from erectile dysfunction, remember that the sexual dysfunction is likely not related to you. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to improve your performance.
  • Take the pressure off performance

    Putting sexual pressure on yourself or your partner to perform is rarely an effective method. Focus on other parts of your partner’s body and your own body. Do other intimate activities together that do not involve the genitals.
  • Try to relax

    Erectile dysfunction may feel like it’s the beginning of the end of your sex life. It’s not. And while sex really is important to the health of your relationship, it doesn’t need to be so heavy or intense. Sex is fun, remember?Remember that you’re a couple, not just roommates or parents. Remember why you feel in love and reconnect to what brought you together. You could come out of this with a more satisfying, flexible, and enjoyable sex life than you had before.
  • Increase physical intimacy

    Physical intimacy isn’t just sex and doesn’t only involve the genitals. Hold each other and cuddle regularly to physically connect, with or without clothes on. Deeply hug each other, hold hands, and kiss passionately! Take the pressure off sex and purely enjoy intimacy through physical touch.

What Not to Do

While it’s nice to put the focus on your partner, make sure you still feel comfortable and engaged.  Don’t withdraw from your partner and avoid sex. This can only lead to greater misunderstanding of the issue.

Don’t avoid talking about the “elephant in the room”. Be open and honest and in in turn listen and provide support. 

Myths and Facts about ED

Erectile dysfunction doesn’t occur because he’s not turned on. Partners need to know that they won’t be able to “cure” erectile dysfunction if they just try harder in the bedroom. In general, adding some sparkle to your sex life is fine, but sex toys and a spending spree at Victoria’s Secret will not solve ED.

Don’t assume because your partner does not obtain an erection he is cheating on you. 

One major study estimates that about half of all men have some degree of erectile dysfunction. And it gets more common as you get older.

Seven things couples can do to safeguard their relationship from ED

1. Find out the cause

The more you know about ED, the easier it will be to prevent it from sabotaging your relationship. Educate yourself and seek medical help for concerns and answers

2. Keep communication lines open

Emotional intimacy is comprised of empathy, understanding, and compassion, which all hinge on being a good listener to your partner. Listen to your partner and aim to understand their thoughts and feelings before contributing your own.

Ask questions to better understand each other. Reflect your understanding back to your partner to make sure you’ve you heard what he is saying something like, “What I hear you saying is that you haven’t brought it up because you’ve been embarrassed.”

3. Don’t take it personally

A lot of women will mistakenly assume their partner has either lost interest or is having an affair. When in actual fact, men who suffer with ED often become very anxious about letting their partners down, so they then withdraw from sex.

4. Approach the subject with care

Keep in mind that ED isn’t anyone’s fault. If your partner suffers from ED, don’t put pressure on them and be as supportive as possible.

5. Be Creative with your Sexuality

There are numerous ways that you can achieve orgasm and give each other pleasure, which don’t involve a strong erection or penetrative sex.Maintain your closeness and intimacy. Obviously communication is a really big thing here but don’t forget the importance of being able to just stroke and touch each other,’ suggests Knowles.

6. Talk to your Doctor

If you have concerns about your erection, you need to get it checked out because there could be a medical problem – such as diabetes,’ says Knowles. ‘If that’s not the case, then you have got that reassurance. If ED is because of an emotional issue, therapy can help reduce anxiety and get back in touch with your body and re-learn how to maintain an erection without the associated anxiety.

7. See a sex therapist

The name “sex therapist” who specializes in human sexuality and Erectile dysfunction and understand the dynamics in relationship and help the couple to manage it.

Keeping ED in Perspective

When you and your partner talk about the situation, you’ll both want to keep in mind some key things about ED:

  • Don’t blame yourself. It’s not because of something that either of you did or didn’t do. There’s no one to blame and no need to apologize.
  • Be supportive in treatment. If your partner is interested and willing to treat their erectile dysfunction, be supportive in them seeking treatment. This might mean encouraging them to make a medical appointment or consider changing or adding medications
  • An erection isn’t necessary for sexual satisfaction. When managing erectile dysfunction, remember that there are many ways to please a partner and experience sexual pleasure. This can be an opportunity to be creative as a couple. Keep the focus on pleasure, not an erection.

Treatment Options

  • Get a physical examination

    Erectile problems can sometimes be a symptom of coronary disease, liver disease, diabetes or other hidden health issues. Make an appointment with your doctor and tell them the symptoms. They may do a series of tests to determine any health risks or medical causes of the dysfunction.If your partner is hesitant to get an examination, let them know that there may be medical causes for the dysfunction and that simple changes can make a difference.
  • Discuss your medications with your provider

    Prescription medications can influence sexual performance. If you suspect this might be the case, talk it over with the physician and explain what symptoms you experience and when they began to occur. You may change medications, change doses, or add a medication to help with arousal and ask if there are any alternative medications.Additionally, medications can be added to help increase sexual performance. Talk with your prescriber about your options.
  • See a specialty therapist

    If you and your partner are struggling to move forward, consider seeing a therapist. Professional help can encourage you and your partner to relate differently, create solutions, and discuss about what’s going on in a safe and supportive atmosphere.Ask your doctor for reputable sex therapist in your area.
  • Treat contributing mental health factors

    Anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship problems can contribute to erectile dysfunction. If you’ve noticed problems increase when you or your partner are under stress and anxiety , treat these symptoms first. Addressing mental health first can help alleviate sexual problems and help you or your partner feel better which contributes to a sexual health.Make an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist to talk about mental health, diagnosis, and treatment. You can find a provider by contacting your health insurance company or calling your local mental health clinic.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

    If you or your partner are not taking good care of your body and health now is the time. Exercise regularly, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, and cope with stress. If you are smoking stop. This may interfere with your sexual health. Taking care of yourself can help your body run better and help you feel better, too.

In Summary

At some point in your life you may experience erectile dysfunction either as the person experiencing it or the partner.  It is not the end of sex as we know it.

  • Acknowledge that this is difficult to talk about. Recognize maybe even embarrassing, but important—for both of you. 
  • Educate yourselves about erectile dysfunction and what may be the cause. As most cases of Erectile dysfunction have physical causes, focus on this as a medical problem like any other.
  • Stay positive and focus on solutions. There are many treatment options available and professionals, including healthcare providers and therapists, who can help.
  • It’s treatable. “ED is not a crisis  You can solve it.
  • There is a light at the end of the tunnel. As long as there is communication, support, trust, and a willingness to try, erectile dysfunction  will be no match for your love.

If you have Erectile Dysfunction , call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you. Please see Our Services or call us at (916) 245-3043 to schedule an appointment!