Erectile dysfunction is often referred to as “the couples’ disease” as it is one of the few conditions that can affect both a man as well as his partner. Erectile dysfunction can limit intimacy, damage relationships and create low self-esteem. Understanding the facts about erectile dysfunction will help both of you to find a solution and regain intimacy as well as confidence.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability for a man to maintain or achieve an erection that is firm enough to have sexual intercourse.
How many men are affected by erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction affects more than half of men over the age of 40 in some form or another. So while it may be embarrassing, your partner is not alone, and there is treatment available to help.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
There is no single cause of ED. The issues that can cause erectile dysfunction are very real and come in both physical and psychological forms that may be the cause for ED.
Some of the common physical causes are:
Some of the common psychological causes are:
Erectile dysfunction has a significant impact on a man’s mental health. It is often accompanied by frustration, feelings of embarrassment and emasculation which can lead to behaviours of denial, alienation, avoidance and sometimes aggression.
While your partner may initially accept your support, after a while hearing you say “It’s not a problem” becomes difficult to believe.
Your partner may begin to avoid sexual intercourse, creating feelings of alienation and friction in the relationship.
Most men feel as though the ability to maintain an erection is a vital part of their identity as a man. It makes them feel normal, so to suddenly lose that part of themselves may make them feel vulnerable, afraid, anxious and question their candidacy as a ‘man’.
It is important for you to reassure your partner that erectile dysfunction is a part of growing older and to be supportive and understanding. When trying the various ED treatment options, success may vary depending upon the cause of the ED, so it is vital that you reassure your partner during the treatment process.
As the partner of a man who has erectile dysfunction you should be aware that the feelings of frustration, sadness and empathy have the potential to fade with time and become apathy and acceptance of life without the closeness enjoyed previously.
You know your partner best. Erectile dysfunction affects many men across the UK and can result in frustration, anger and a loss of intimacy both inside and outside of the bedroom. Show support, pursue intimacy on an emotional level and through hugging, kissing and cuddling.
You could start the conversation with “I love you, I know there is something wrong. Do you want to talk about it?”
There are a wide variety of treatment options available to treat erectile dysfunction. If one method does not work, there are other non-surgical alternatives to take before surgery becomes an option. The degree of time it takes to achieve an erection also varies amongst solutions. Your doctor will guide you through the available treatment options that are best for you as a couple.
Your partner’s treatment could involve oral medications, cream, vacuum erection devices, injections, suppositories or penile implants. Speaking with you and your partner, your doctor will assist you in choosing the right treatment course to address the problem.