Erectile dysfunction can cut right to the core of a couple’s relationship, whether you have been together for years or are just getting into the swing of things. When a man cannot perform in the bedroom it can have devastating, long lasting effects.
Even with the best of intentions and concerted effort on both parts, a breakup can be imminent, but by learning about the issue, both sides can have a better idea of how to approach the situation with care and compassion. Arm yourselves with the knowledge about ED and what you can do about it and how to keep it from ruining the relationship.
What is ED?
ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for a satisfying sexual encounter. It can affect men of any age, and occurs for a number of reasons, ranging from excessive alcohol consumption to stress, anxiety, obesity and illnesses that affect blood circulation or the nervous system.
In order for an erection to occur there needs to be stimulation, adequate blood supply and a functioning nervous system. When the natural process is interrupted in any way, erectile dysfunction can occur.
In terms of how it affects relationships, the actual cause of the inability to perform can sometimes be irrelevant. The fact will be that the man cannot sustain an erection.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Perhaps the worst thing you can do for a case of ED is to shut down. Many couples maintain silence about the condition; the man, woman or both may feel tempted to withdraw completely. They may feel hesitant to initiate a conversation about it in order to protect themselves from embarrassment. Understandably, the couple may also begin to avoid sexual activity altogether to avoid the awkwardness that comes along with it.
By continuing to talk about erectile dysfunction, however, you can begin to search for a solution. Every couple is different; some will joke about it, others may speak frankly. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open so that the condition isn’t either completely ignored or only comes to the surface during an argument. By keeping it present, you can begin to search for a cure, as you would for another medical or psychological condition.
Consider the Effects of ED on your Relationship
It is important to ask yourself how erectile dysfunction has affected your relationship and how it makes you both feel.
Men may experience guilt, frustration, despair, embarrassment and a whole other range of negative emotions. Depending on the cause of their ED they may also have other psychological and physical issues to contend with, making it an even more stressful time. Women can easily feel unwanted, guilty, betrayed and disappointed.
These feelings will only intensify if nothing is done to address them. After repeated unsuccessful attempts at lovemaking, a man may feel defeated and powerless, falling into depression. Women can feel entirely desexualized and unwanted. The effects can be devastating to a relationship.
Blame is often a knee-jerk response to erectile dysfunction. The man can blame himself, or lash out and blame the woman. She may blame herself, or feel frustrated enough to blame him for his lack of ability to perform.
Keep in mind that erectile dysfunction is not normally anyone’s fault. Although there are certain behaviours that can contribute to it, such as smoking, drinking excessively, drug addiction or an unhealthy diet, it is not something anyone chooses to have, and it really is a physical or psychological response to other conditions.
Although it may be hard, try your best to avoid blaming either party for ED, especially before you know what is causing it.
Find Out the Cause
Every case of erectile dysfunction has an underlying cause, whether it is a medical condition like diabetes or neuropathy, the effect of a certain medication, a by-product of smoking or an emotional reaction to a traumatic life event such as the loss of a loved one. There is a long list of reasons why a man may not be able to maintain an erection.
It can be an embarrassing condition to discuss with your doctor or GP, but the sooner you seek help, the better. A doctor should be able to determine the root cause of the issue, or whether it is a symptom of an underlying condition. You may also require psychological counselling if the erectile dysfunction is related to depression, anxiety, drug addiction or other emotional causes.
Don’t give up if the first doctor you speak to doesn’t help you in the way you need. Continue to search for a doctor or nurse that you can trust, or go online to begin an online consultation with a reputable online chemist regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
ED is treatable
ED can be successfully treated in a number of ways depending on the cause; in fact, generic versions of medicines like Viagra® (sildenafil) are now more accessible than in the past.
Other treatment options include vacuum therapies, injections, or even just different ways to approach lovemaking and helping the man’s performance anxiety to subside.
Your doctor can recommend an appropriate course of action, and assist you in monitoring the progress. During this time both partners will need to keep a sense of humour about it, and support one another as different methods are tried. You may have to try several approaches before finding something that works, but don’t lose hope!
It may not be enough to just make the erectile dysfunction go away; especially if the problem has been going on for a long time, a functioning penis isn’t necessarily the end cure. Over the time of dealing with erectile dysfunction it is easy to grow apart, perhaps even sleeping in different rooms.
To help you get to know each other again and process your emotions, consider couples counselling. It can be a great relief to have a professional guide you along the way.
Erectile dysfunction is trying even for the most loving and committed relationships, but with a deeper understanding of the condition and an idea of what can be done about it, it doesn’t have to end in breakup. Use this information to avoid having ED ruin your relationship.