Erectile dysfunction (ED) can place huge strain on a relationship, and can be devastating for the man as well as his partner. However, ED doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Our Agony Aunt at Matilda’s answers a question from one of our subscribers about how to cope with her husband’s erectile dysfunction.
Her husband suffers from erectile dysfunction, and has not been able to achieve an erection for two years! Unsurprisingly, their sex life has taken quite a knock and our reader is feeling hurt, sad and lonely. Our agony aunt offers some advice.
Help! I just don’t know what to do anymore! I have been married for 10 years and have two children. My husband is a wonderful man, but for the last two years, we’ve hardly had sex. My husband battles with erectile dysfunction and simply can’t get an erection. On top of that, his sexual appetite has diminished over the last year - to the extent that he doesn’t seem to want sex at all! I have tried so much to change things: bought sexy lingerie, set the mood with candles and wine, I’ve tried talking to him about it - I feel like I’ve tried everything! But he pushes me away and tells me he is not in the mood. I end up feeling rejected, unattractive, hurt and resentful. It’s like he doesn’t care about me or my needs or how I am coping with this all. Of course, he also never wants to talk about the issue, and gets angry and defensive when I try bring it up. I am at my wits’ end here - my sexual needs are still the same and I can’t imagine a life without sex! What can I do?
A sad wife
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can put huge strain on a relationship and is often as devastating for the partner as it is for the man. However, it doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Take heart - there are ways you can make this better!
Okay, firstly, it would be a good idea to talk about what ED actually is. Erectile dysfunction basically means that a man cannot get a hard enough erection to achieve satisfactory intercourse. It affects millions of men worldwide and can be caused by numerous factors, both physical and psychological. Often psychological factors such as stress, grief, anxiety, depression and hormonal issues can play a bigger role than physical factors, so it is important to get to the bottom of the problem. We would recommend a 5-step strategy in dealing with erectile dysfunction:
“He’s no longer attracted to me!” “He’s having an affair!” Women automatically assume their partner’s lack of interest in sex has to do with them. It doesn’t. Please believe me when I say this. Your partner is feeling embarrassed and anxious, and probably feels like he is failing you. It is not surprising that he wants to withdraw from sex. Don’t make this about you!
There is no way you can begin to make things better without knowing the cause. This would involve talking to your man openly and honestly about the situation. Tell him he needs to go for a full body checkup. His ED could be caused by anything from kidney problems, low testosterone, and diabetes to an enlarged prostate. None of these are good. For his general health and well-being, he needs to go for a full physical. Tell him you care about him and want him to be healthy and happy. A test is required. Once you know if the problem is physical or psychological, you can begin to take the necessary steps to fix it.
Ah, it can be so, so hard to do, but communication is really key! Often it’s more the lack of communication than the lack of sex that causes issues in relationships. ED can have a detrimental effect on a man’s confidence and how he sees himself. Not talking about the issue can make it seem bigger and more important than it is. Your man may start assuming that you are looking elsewhere or are dissatisfied with him. Reassure your partner. Show him your love and care. Make a safe space in which he can share his feelings and thoughts.
Talking about safe spaces, communicating with care is very important. Remember - erectile dysfunction is no one’s fault. Don’t put pressure on him. Be supportive. Say to him: “I notice we aren’t making love as often as we used to and I miss the closeness. I also wanted to check in with you and make sure everything is okay. Would you like to talk about anything that is worrying you?”
The thing with ED is that the more youdon’t have sex, the bigger it becomes in both your minds. Your husband will be feeling the pressure to perform, which will make him feel anxious, which will make him lose his erection - and so the sorry circle continues. Rather remove the pressure completely. This is where YOU need to take control and show him that there are plenty of ways to enjoy a healthy and happy sex life - with or without an erection!
We’d recommend trying the following:
The more sex you have the more sex you want. Understand that your man is currently battling with feelings of unworthiness, low confidence and anxiety. Take the pressure off! Chat openly and with care. Show him all the other ways to enjoy sex, and break the ice! Once you’ve done this, and he’s had himself checked out, you can start enjoying a happy and healthy sex life again.