Is it time to save your relationship from erectile dysfunction?
You have been noticing your erections are getting weaker and weaker.
You hope she hasn’t noticed.
To avoid her noticing you avoid intimacy as much as you used to. You try to save it for special occasions now when you are really ready.
You are running out of excuses and you notice her getting suspicious of your excuses.
The problem is not the problem.
The problem is how you handle the problem.
Don’t let erectile dysfunction destroy your relationship. Read on to find out how to save your relationship from erectile dysfunction.
What does erectile dysfunction (ED) mean for your relationship?
Erectile dysfunction, commonly known as impotence, can be devastating to men. But it can be equally so for your partner as well. Most people affected by erectile dysfunction feel that their relationship needs to be protected from this issue in some way.
Men we speak to daily say the confusion of the condition often leads to relationship and marriage breakdown.
Women, on the other hand, tell us that it’s not the actual condition that causes the strain on the relationship; it’s the man’s unwillingness to address it.
In this article, we suggest a list of tips that will help you tackle ED and its adverse effects on your love life.
Tips for dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) in your relationship
Erectile dysfunction (ED) doesn’t discriminate – it can and does affect men of all ages, regardless of their race, religion, educational level, profession, or any other characteristic. And this is the first thing to know before we move on to our suggestions on how to shield your relationship from the damaging influence of ED and save your relationship from erectile dysfunction.
It really could have happened to anyone. Actually, it does happen to a minimum of 50% of men at some point in their lives, according to WebMD’s Carol Sorgen. Based on some estimations, the prevalence of ED is expected to keep rising due to a blend of behavioural, lifestyle, and medical conditions.
Why are we mentioning this?
Because of the fact that ED can be triggered by an amalgam of causes, there’s plenty of possibilities for you to take control over it – and save your relationship from harm it can make.
So, here are the possible paths for you to take in order to protect your love life from ED and save your relationship from erectile dysfunction.
Admit you have an issue.
Sexual dysfunction is not uncommon, and there is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It is highly treatable IF you acknowledge the problem to yourself first. As with any other challenge in life, there’s simply no path out of it unless you accept that you’re in need of some healing.
This is particularly true for the conditions that come hand in hand (or are caused by) psychological hardships. And erectile dysfunction is most certainly associated with stress, emotional problems, and several dysfunctional cognitive mechanisms.
How is it possible to ignore a problem with your erection, you might ask?
It is possible. Very possible. Very common.
There are many nuances to erectile dysfunction, and there’s soo much room for denial. There are variations of sexual relations. Many men can reach orgasm even without a full erection.
Erectile dysfunction may also come and go. The same man might be incapable of even a 1/10 an erection in some situations, and as eager as a teenager in others.
In short, you do need to accept that there’s a problem, even if it may not be as clear as the blue sky.
Naturally, one would be reluctant to define himself as having erectile dysfunction. Men are under much pressure to maintain an image of sturdiness and dominance – for others and themselves.
A man is to be a conqueror, especially in the bedroom. A man’s sexuality is inseparable from his vitality and potency in other areas of life.
Moreover, there are still myths roaming out there about male sexuality. One such presumption depicts men as tireless sexual dynamos. These social pressures put tremendous amounts of strain on men to measure up; and, make it that much harder to accept that there’s something wrong with their sexual apparatus.
Nonetheless, it’s worth stressing it once again – to tackle ED in any form or level of severity you need to be frank about its presence first. Ask yourself;
“Do I have problems with my erection?”
“Is erectile dysfunction affecting my confidence in the bedroom?”
“Is erectile dysfunction affecting my partner?”
“If I cured the erectile dysfunction would I be a more confident man and have a happier relationship?”
Find out the cause of your ED to be able to tackle it.
By knowing as much as you can about erectile dysfunction, you can prevent it from ruining your relationship.
Many things can cause erectile dysfunction.
Accordingly, treatment plans also vary depending on the cause, which we’ll get to in a moment.
For now, consider the following –a good erection is affected by a combination of physical, relationship, and psychological factors. It is only natural that not all aspects of this matrix are 100% all the time.
Many physical conditions and diseases can affect a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction can be the main symptom of a disorder, such as in Peyronie’s disease (bent erections), or an accompanying problem of another illness, such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension.
In both cases, difficulties with erection are closely connected to a man’s physical wellbeing. Often, the path towards resolving the problem lies in getting medical treatment for the underlying physical problem.
However, in many cases, ED is directly caused by psychological factors. Numerous studies have found that any sort of adverse psychological state is closely associated with the quality of erection.
For example, if you’re depressed, feeling pessimistic, or have an overall negative outlook on life, it’s also highly likely that your bedroom life will suffer.
The same goes for emotional stress, history of sexual coercion, or unfavourable socioeconomic status. In other words, whatever bothers your soul will end up damaging your lovemaking abilities.
Finally, the state of your relationship is inseparably tied with your ability to achieve an erection. And this connection goes both ways.
An existing erectile dysfunction issue can cause problems in a new relationship; in the same way, the ever-repeating relationship problems can hinder your ability to maintain the desired levels of sexuality.
In this case, to deal with the erectile dysfunction, you need to resolve your marital or relationship problems first in order to save your relationship from erectile dysfunction.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
Nonetheless, consider erectile dysfunction the symptom, rather than the problem, and embark on building a healthier relationship altogether regardless if you decide to seek clinical treatment for your erectile dysfunction.
No matter the cause or the case, erectile dysfunction is a real medical condition and has a real cost on relationships and society.
Erectile dysfunction may also be an indication of other conditions.
Don’t let your relationship spiral down the vicious circle of Erectile Dysfunction.
Many women will get insecure when the first symptoms of erectile dysfunction arise.
Many girlfriends and wives have come to us with the same (false) belief: “I think he has gone off me because he can’t get an erection” or “I think my husband is having an affair.”
A woman’s mind will naturally wander in that direction. The same way, in which the society has imposes the image of a manly man who just can’t get enough, it also imbeds a woman’s mind with a complementary idea. A woman is to be desirable, mesmerising.
Most often, there’s a very close relationship between a woman’s feeling of self-worth and her desirability.
Therefore, when a woman’s partner has problems with achieving or maintaining an erection, she will inevitably think: “It’s me.”
We have said it a few times in this article, and we will repeat it some more – Erectile dysfunction is a delicate matter with many nuances. It is intricately tied with many aspects of our psychological functioning. And, as it directly involves the partner in the relationship, it becomes that much more challenging to control and address.
To deal with the problems associated with ED in your relationship, be wary of the potential vicious circle of erectile dysfunction in your relationship.
What do we mean by that?
Women, being more prone to action, will often start to push for the resolution of the problem. They might start with an ocean of understanding and patience.
But, if not approached adequately (with love and reassurance), this initial will to be the vessel of the solution may turn into constant arguments, or, even more commonly, silent condemning. Both hide an unbearable weight of insecurity and a feeling of failure.
It’s highly likely your partner will want to save your relationship from erectile dysfunction just as much as you do.
On the other hand, men are more often those who withdraw emotionally and in terms of communication.
Many men that suffer from erectile dysfunction will become very anxious about letting their partners down. However, these feelings are often too hard to bear with. Rather than be concerned and embarrassed, men in that situation will withdraw from sexual activites.
However, here’s where it gets truly tangled – the woman then interprets this as an additional proof of her belief about what’s happening, and the vicious circle sets in to destroy the relationship.
When the sexual chemistry is gone a woman will begin to wonder;
“Does my partner find me attractive?”
“Does my partner still love me?”
“Is he having an affair?”
“Is he in love with someone else?”
“Is he planning on leaving me?”
Say, for example, she is wondering if you have had an affair. Your inability to address your erectile dysfunction may be incorrectly recognised as you shutting her off because you have opened your arms to another woman.
Try to understand that erectile dysfunction is very emotional; however, it’s often a physical condition irrespective of desire.
To prevent erectile dysfunction from wrecking your love life, you should take active steps to provide reassurance to your partner.
Tell your partner you are still extremely attracted to her regularly. Show her your love in other ways than through intercourse.
In one of the following sections, we will suggest a few creative ways to communicate desire even when the erection refuses to participate.
Communication saves relationships
Whether it’s a new relationship or a seasoned one, there’s one thing that has to be present. And this essential is excellent communication.
Men are notoriously reluctant to speak about their problems. Again, the reasons are due to the cultural beliefs entrenched into boys’ minds on how a manly man should act. He must not show weakness. And, weakness is associated with disclosing that you have concerns.
However, to cope with erectile dysfunction and stop it from ruining your relationship, you need to ditch this prejudice about how you should behave.
It may help to know that women love to talk about all sorts of insecurities and problems. Moreover, a woman doesn’t consider a conversation to be a sign of frailty. She interprets it as your desire to be close to her.
Therefore, there’s nothing for you to be apprehensive about. Communication saves and enriches relationships.
When it comes to the matter of difficulties with erection, it is an uncomfortable topic. However, think of it this way – the talk about it will be much less awkward than experiencing disappointment in the bedroom time and time again and not offering an explanation.
You are not the only one that’s uneasy about the whole thing. Your partner is surely insecure, uncertain about what is happening, and, as we said before – probably interprets the situation in her way.
Whatever may be in the roots of your Erectile Dysfunction, open the conversation. Don’t be defensive, and don’t cast blame.
You can start by telling your new partner:
“I have a medical condition. However, I will be getting treatment for it and it will not be an issue for much longer.”
Or, if you have been in a long relationship and sexual dysfunction appears, say something like:
“I have noticed some issues down below. I will be seeking a diagnosis and will be looking into treatment to solve it.”
Have a backup plan and get creative in the bedroom.
Talk to your partner about what turns you on, and what blocks you. Explain that you’re not having an affair and that it’s not that you’re no longer interested in her. You’ll be amazed by how much support you can get from your partner.
Eroticism is much more intricate and an immensely lusher landscape than the mere physical act of sexual intercourse. Our principal erotic agent is our brain. Even more so, for women, if nothing happens in their minds, there’s little that can be done to turn her on externally.
This fact is, actually, good news for you because you can disregard any traditional performance anxiety. She doesn’t need you to perform in the way that most men imagine women’s desires. You can make her see stars without ever engaging your penis. How to do so? Here are a few ideas.
- For your ease, before you start with sexual relations, say: “If for some reason my body doesn’t co-operate with my mind, don’t get offended, I still want to please you so why don’t we… ”. She won’t mind.
- Become aware of other agents of pleasure, such as the ambience. Forget about the intercourse altogether. Set up the room as an extraordinary expression of your love and desire. Think of light, smells, sounds.
- Be playful. Think of erotic games you can try with your partner without them necessarily ending in the act of penetration. Talk about your (hidden) desires in the most detailed and granular way. Make a list of your sexual turn-ons and read it to each other.
- Forget the performance entirely. Orgasms are fantastic, but don’t let them be the only thing you’re after in sexual activities. It doesn’t start nor should it end with an orgasm. Savour the moment, take your time, get lost in your partner and the bond you’re sharing. Such a mindset will help you not be preoccupied about achieving or maintaining an erection.
Creating a meaningful connection with your partner that is based on eroticism, as opposed to focusing on the pure physicality of intercourse, will do a huge favour to your mental state. Most cases of Erectile Dysfunction are in some way coupled with psychological pressure. It can be the cause of an ED or its consequence. In any case, getting creative in the bedroom and moving away from penetration as such will result in the much-needed relief from the pressure to perform.
Consider psychotherapy to protect your relationship from the ED.
Once the ED comes to the scene, it will put pressure on your relationship. Many couples, unfortunately, allow it to seep into all aspects of their love life and also their own sense of self.
It slowly undermines each of the partners’ confidence and the feeling of security in the relationship. When couples do try to have intercourse, without expert help, it often becomes so apprehensive that it’s no longer enjoyable. And when the attempts become frustrating enough, many couples avoid it altogether and a sexless marriage is born.
It is not uncommon to hear from couples who have lived in a sexless marriage for many years or even decades due to Erectile Dysfunction.
However, as healthy sexuality and eroticism make up for a satisfying relationship, it is an issue that should be addressed proactively. Don’t let inertia ruin your love life. Find a licensed psychotherapist, and, ideally, a relationship counsellor.
It doesn’t reiterate your fears that something’s wrong with you. It demonstrates your maturity and willingness to do what it takes to salvage your relationship.
In sessions with your counsellor, you and your partner will learn to understand better the emotional turmoil created by sexual dysfunction and the reactions associated with it. You will get a safe space to discuss whatever comes to your mind regarding the problems with erection, but, also, the relationship as such. This will give you the best possible chance to save your relationship from Erectile Dysfunction.
The goal of psychotherapy when it’s directed towards dealing with Erectile Dysfunction may go in two ways. It can be either to restore your previous sexual life. Alternatively, it might focus on building a new one. In both cases, you will acquire a better grasp of what the ED means in your life. It will also result in greater closeness with your wife or girlfriend, as it will open paths for you to communicate about your feelings and hopes, not just the erection itself.
Is your performance affecting your relationship
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It’s crucial to find the perfect therapist for yourself to benefit from psychotherapy sessions.
Here’s a short checklist to guide the process of deciding whether the particular counsellor is the right for you:
- Ask yourself the crucial questions: What it is that I want from the therapy? Why now? Am I ready for feeling uncomfortable in some instances in order to achieve the desired goal? What do I expect from the therapist?
- Search for the counsellor with the following criterion on your mind – you want the most experienced psychotherapist you can afford. ED is a delicate issue and it, ideally, requires someone who has already dealt with similar problems. For that reason, try and find a sex-therapist or a couples’ therapist.
- Book your first session and prepare a list of question for the therapist. They are there to respond to all of them, and to explain all the details to you.
- After the first session, evaluate your feelings about the therapist and the process. Expect some level of discomfort, as you’re about to dig into something that you probably tried to avoid for some time. However, be as objective as possible regarding the impression you got from the counsellor. You need to have confidence in their competence and to feel that you’ll be a good fit.
Get treatment for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) before it’s too late
To conclude our list of suggestions on how not to allow Erectile Dysfunction (ED) to jeopardise your relationship and marriage, here’s our final word. Your relationship will not suffer if you get treatment for your sexual dysfunction.
You can save your relationship from Erectile Dysfunction if you take the right steps.
You should save your relationship from Erectile Dysfunction if there is still a chance to do so.
The only time relationships have failed in our clinic is when the man refuses to get treatment and makes excuses for his physical condition. Even if your partner says it’s ok, it’s not ok.
She may be the most understanding person in the world, but months or years of inaction can lead to emotions and frustrations to build up.
Before you know it you could be living in a sexless relationship.
Don’t allow lethargy over ED to have a toll on your otherwise healthy relationship. Treatment is available and to see if you are suitable click here to speak to the Men’s Health Clinic.
- Ayta, I. A., McKinlay, J. B., & Krane, R. J. (1999). The likely worldwide increase in erectile dysfunction between 1995 and 2025 and some possible policy consequences. BJU international, 84(1), pp. 50-56. [online]
- Millwood, M., & Waltz, J. (2008). Demand-withdraw communication in couples: An attachment perspective. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 7(4), pp. 297-320.
- Rosen, R. C. (2001). Psychogenic erectile dysfunction: Classification and management. Urologic Clinics of North America, 28(2), pp. 269-278. Doi: 0.1016/S0094-0143(05)70137-3
- Sorgen, C. (2003). Impotence imposes on relationships. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/features/impotence-imposes-on-relationships#1 [Accessed 22 December 2019]
- Wiegel, M., Scepkowski, L. A., & Barlow, D. H. (2007). Cognitive-affective processes in sexual arousal and sexual dysfunction. In Kinsey Institute Conference, 1st, Jul, 2003, Bloomington, IN, US; This work was presented at the aforementioned conference.. Indiana University Press. Impotence imposes on relationships. [online] Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/628b/f5963d150f908ee6c2ea520773ecb457939c.pdf [Accessed 22 December 2019]