Erectile dysfunction is a common problem, affecting approximately 140 million men worldwide. It is thought that at least 50% of men experience some form of impotence at some point in their lives. Knowing it is common is reassuring, but when a partner has erectile dysfunction, it can still put a tremendous strain on a relationship.
How to recognize ED
If you suspect your partner has erectile dysfunction, the first step is actually diagnosing it. This can often be difficult if your partner is embarrassed to talk about it or address the issue. We know that ED is when a man cannot get or maintain an erection long enough for sex.
It is a medical condition, yet unfortunately many women do blame themselves and view it as a sexual issue. In truth, it is something that needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. Not only because then the couple can get the help they need, but also because ED can often be caused from undiagnosed medical conditions. Diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease can cause erectile dysfunction.
Getting a diagnosis is the first and most important step. Once you have identified the cause of ED, then you can begin to work on the best treatment. Over 95% of men can successfully treat ED and resume their sex lives. Your relationship does not have to suffer.
How it affects the partner
Many men close up when it comes to talk about impotence. It hits their ego hard. Men with ED feel embarrassed, guilty and often depressed. Many men will even avoid being with his partner alone so as to avoid opportunity for sex. For example, he might stay up late so that his partner goes to sleep first. He might complain of tiredness or the common “headache.” He might even regularly invite relatives or friends over to avoid situations of being alone.
This can make things very difficult for you, the partner. You might assume he’s not interested in you sexually, that he’s not attracted to you, or you might even conclude he’s having an affair with someone else. It’s important to remember that the way he’s behaving is normal and that the problem is not with you. His actions stem from feelings of embarrassment and also guilt in not being able to perform for you. He wants more than anything to be close to you, and is suffering because he can’t make it happen.
Many partners might try extra hard to win their men back, either by trying to become more attractive or behaving more sexually. But because the problem isn’t with you, this isn’t going to work. It will actually make the problem worse because then he’s feeling even more pressured to perform.
Other partners will blame themselves or feel resentful and unwanted.
Since it is a physical, medical condition where there is damage to the nerves and there is restricted blood flow to the penis, the partner is rarely at fault.
Instead of blaming yourself or assuming he’s not interested in sex, you need to instead broach the subject with him in a non-judgmental manner. This is best done when neither of you are feeling frustrated or upset after a sexual encounter. You need to open a discussion where you can both discuss your sexual needs and your relationship. This needs to be done with a lot of love and reassurance, as well as affection.
The best thing you can do is encourage him to see a doctor. Offer to accompany him if that’s what he wants. There are many treatment options out there that can really help ED and bring your sex life back. Pills and hormone replacement therapy are two examples of treatments that have shown to be very successful in treating impotence.
Aside from this, you might wish to experiment with new ways of being close to each other. It doesn’t all have to be about penetration. Many couples find that as they age and encounter these problems, they begin to try new and exciting things. It could be something you haven’t tried before, ramping up foreplay or trying sexual toys. This will take the pressure off your partner to perform and allow you to begin enjoying each other’s closeness again.
Remember, it is almost always possible to treat impotency. Talking with your partner about erectile dysfunction openly and honestly, and then getting the right treatment will make a huge difference in your sex lives. `