When it comes to erectile dysfunction (ED), it’s important to remember that this isn’t ‘just’ a sexual problem that you can leave in the bedroom.
ED can affect your mental health and emotional wellbeing — and if you’re in a relationship, it can have a lasting impact on that (and your partner) too. Erectile dysfunction can be awkward to talk about, stressful, isolating and can all too easily push couples apart. So how can we stop this from happening?
In this post, we’ll be looking at how to make your relationship work when you or your partner are suffering from ED. Read on for some helpful advice on facing ED together and not letting this problem get the better of you as a couple.
Talk about it
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. But when it comes to erectile dysfunction, it’s much more than this… not sharing your problem can make it seem twice as big.
Erectile dysfunction can have a huge impact on your relationship if you don’t talk about it; it can make the sufferer feel shame, worthlessness, frustration, and as if they are ‘less of a man’.
And erectile dysfunction problems can be equally upsetting for the partner too, who often feels like they are the cause — or at least part — of the problem. It’s very easy to blame yourself and take it personally when your partner has ED, worrying that they no longer find you attractive, or that you’re no longer enough, or that they might be cheating on you.
It’s important to remember that this is not the case at all — and talking about ED together will help to set both your minds at ease.
Think about what you want to say to your partner, and remember to be honest but also be loving and gentle. It’s not an easy conversation to have and you’ll have to approach the subject delicately. Talk about how the situation is making you feel, but be ready to listen to your partner and provide support; remember that your end goal is to overcome this problem together.
Arm yourself with knowledge: learn about ED
Educating yourself about erectile dysfunction will make tackling this problem much easier, and is a great step towards making your relationship work when one of you is suffering from ED.
It’s down to a lack of information and understanding that so many ED partners blame themselves or feel hurt and upset when their other half is experiencing sexual problems.
That’s why it’s a great idea to find out more about erectile dysfunction, such as what causes the condition in the first place, or what can help to treat it. Knowing the facts will help you and your partner to focus on finding ways that manage ED together and getting to the real root of any sexual problems, rather than worrying about non-existent infidelity or other things.
For example, you probably didn’t know that erectile dysfunction can be down to all sorts of physical and psychological causes — anything to do from the blood vessels in the penis narrowing and high blood pressure, to stress, tiredness, depression, and anxiety.
Learning about the potential causes can help you to pinpoint why ED is happening in the first place, as well as making the right treatment route more obvious.
You can also read up on possible preventions and treatments, like medication or sex therapy. For example, if you’re not sure which is best between Viagra Connect vs Viagra, or what the difference is, you can read more online. This will let you know what to expect when you or your partner are choosing between different options.
Adjust your sex life and reduce the pressure
If one of you is suffering from ED in your relationship, then reducing the stress and pressure in your sex life will help you both to feel more comfortable and confident as you navigate these problems.
Take it slower; instead of instigating sex or trying to spice up your sex life in a bid to ‘cure’ ED, bring things down a notch or two. There are other ways that you can relight your fire and connect intimately without having sex — and taking a break will reduce the pressure to perform, which can exacerbate erection issues. Cuddling, massage, having baths together, lying naked in bed and oral sex can all help you to feel close to your partner when penetrative sex isn’t an option.
Erectile dysfunction can feel like a huge deal, and you may worry that a normal sex life will now be off the table in your relationship, but that’s really not the case. Things will get better — and for now, try to relax and enjoy a slightly different sex life.
Find a solution together
The good news about erectile dysfunction is that it is completely treatable. Find a solution together, be patient when working through these obstacles, and it will make your relationship stronger.
If you’re suffering from ED, one of the best things you can do is speak to a doctor about the situation — talking through the problem with a healthcare professional will put your mind at ease (it’s honestly very common) and help you to establish the root of what is causing your erectile dysfunction as well as outline possible treatment methods.
If your partner is the one suffering from ED, encourage them to be proactive about their health and arrange a doctor’s appointment. It can often be hard for men to ask for help and he may be reluctant, especially if he’s the type of guy who prides himself on being self-reliant.
You can also show your support by going with him to the doctor — as moral support for him, and to ensure that he definitely brings the subject up and doesn’t get cold feet at the last minute.
A doctor will be able to go through the various treatments and medications, many of which are effective, inexpensive and readily available. They will also suggest preventative methods to help with erectile dysfunction; ED can be caused or exacerbated by poor health and bad habits (like smoking, heavy drinking, stress, and obesity), so they may recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss and regular exercise, as well as cutting down drinking and smoking.
Erectile dysfunction can be stressful and challenging for couples, and making your relationship work when you’re suffering from ED isn’t easy. However, it is possible. Learning more about the condition and causes, talking openly with your partner about your feelings, and supporting each other will help you to get through erectile problems together and come out the other side stronger than ever.
About the author: Andy Boysan (BPharm) is the co-founder and superintendent pharmacist of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies. For more healthcare and treatment advice, visit their website here.