Erectile dysfunction (ED) is also called “impotence.” When a man has ED, he cannot get and keep a firm erection.
ED is not uncommon. About one in ten men have it. Some estimates say that as many as 30 million American men cannot start or complete sexual intercourse because they cannot get an erection that is hard enough.
Most ED has a physical cause. Diabetes and the side effects of prostate cancer treatment can reduce or prevent blood flow and nerve impulses to the penis. So can pelvic injury and the side effects of some drugs. Only about 10% of impotence has a psychological cause.
ED can affect your relationship on a personal as well as sexual level. Loss of sexual intimacy can lead to loss of personal intimacy and conflict. Dealing with and helping to overcome your partner’s ED requires that you address the problem on both levels.
The following information will give you some insights about how ED may be affecting your personal relationship and what you can do about it.
A man with ED often feels despair and frustration. He may be embarrassed, angry, and depressed. He likely will have a heightened fear of rejection. Often he will feel guilt, shame, grief, and loss.
If you are the sexual partner of a man with ED, chances are you have felt the same emotions.
When a man has ED, both partners often feel very different emotions. This can lead to behavior that is destructive to the individuals and their relationship.
You may react to your partner’s ED with one or several behaviors. Do you identify with any of these?
Anger: The loss of intimacy makes you angry with your partner. This can spill over into larger irritations or bouts of anger over ordinary events. Little disagreements
erupt into big arguments that feed on your underlying anger with your partner’s impotence.
Denial: You ignore or deny the issue. You pretend that it doesn’t exist. As you continue to avoid confronting the issue, you and your partner continue to drift farther apart.
Remoteness: You avoid intimacy of any kind with your partner so you don’t have to experience the painful loss of physical closeness.
Self-blame: You wrongly blame yourself for his impotence. You convince yourself that you have gained too much weight. Become too old. Too preoccupied. You have not attended to his needs. The imaginary list goes on.
Self-punishment: You take the problem out on yourself. You may suffer physical ills such as headaches and backaches. Perhaps you feel anxiety. You may begin abusing drugs or alcohol.
Delusion: You imagine that your partner is having an affair. What other way is there to explain his lack of sexual interest in you?
Compensation: You choose to substitute some other interest or activity to compensate for your loss of intimacy and the pain you may be feeling over it. But that
does not heal the hurt that you feel over having lost something precious in your relationship.
Left unchecked, these kinds of feelings can ruin even the strongest, deepest personal relationship. But you can take positive steps to reverse the situation and repair your relationship.
Erectile dysfunction is a complex condition that can stem from many causes. It is also a highly treatable condition with a variety of treatment options.
The more you know about erectile dysfunction, the better you will be able to cope with it and help your partner overcome it. Browse this website to learn about the basic causes and treatment of ED.
It may be difficult, but talking can help relieve pressure and anxiety that both your partner and you may be feeling over his ED.
There are some basic things you can do to start sharing feelings about the problem in non-hurtful ways. All of them depend on honesty, diplomacy and a willingness to take risks.
Be supportive: A man may avoid talking about his impotency. It can be both painful and humiliating. He can become so preoccupied with his impotence that he does not see how it is affecting you. You need to be both direct and supportive. Tell your partner that you understand what he is going through, and ask him what you can do to help. Try to separate the physical condition from emotional issues. Tell him that just because he has erectile dysfunction doesn’t mean you love him any less.
Be willing to tackle the problem: His ED is your ED. He needs to know that. And telling him can avoid putting him on the defensive. Let him know that erectile dysfunction is common and you want to work with him to resolve it-for his sake and yours. Impotence usually is a physical problem that can be treated. Just as important, it may mask an undiagnosed illness. Getting treatment right away can not only restore your personal relationship but protect his health as well.
Be positive: Don’t assess blame. Talk about the excellent chances for treating ED successfully. Talk about what you want and need, not about what is wrong. Let him know that you want to work together to overcome erectile dysfunction.
Stick to the issue: When you talk about erectile dysfunction, avoid arguing over the symptoms. Focus on discussing the ED and what you can do together to solve it, rather than debating its impact on your relationship.
Be positive and non-critical: Give him positive feedback, even if his feelings are negative. This can encourage him to discuss his painful feelings about a sensitive subject.
There are therapies available for treating almost all cases of impotence. Treatments for physical ED focus on overcoming circulation and nerve problems that might be caused by disease or injury. These range from drugs such as ViagraŽ, to penile implants and vacuum erection devices and more. Click this link for more information about these erectile dysfunction treatments.
If medication is causing ED, the treatment might as simple as adjusting dosage or switching drugs. (Note: A man should never change a prescribed drug or drug dosage without first talking to his doctor.)
For psychological causes of impotence, therapy and counseling may help.
In addition to treating the cause of ED, many doctors believe in treating its effects upon the relationship. That often means therapy and counseling to heal the psychological and emotional wounds impotence can inflict.
If your partner has ED, you will play a part in his therapy. You may be involved in selecting the best treatment for the cause of his impotence (because the type of treatment can have an effect on your renewed sex life). You and your partner may receive help repairing your relationship.
About one in four Americans confronts chronic impotence in a relationship. It is a major public health problem. Ask your doctor or seek a specialist for information about local support or discussion groups for men, their partners, and couples. Such services are available in many areas.