Coping with erectile dysfunction

It’s time to talk!


Erectile dysfunction involves problems with achieving or maintaining an erection and may include having low libido.

Many men do not want to talk about this subject, possibly because it is one of their greatest fears.  |Having the ability to perform sexually is, for many men, the main sign of their virility and masculinity and so without that ability, they may consider themselves to be less of a man.  This, in turn, may have detrimental effects on their mental health leading to anxiety and depression, conditions which in themselves can lead to erectile dysfunction in the form of performance anxiety.

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The denial phase

To begin with, the sufferer will make the usual excuses, ‘I am too tired’ or ‘I drank too much’ for example;  they are in denial.  However, they need to face up to the fact that in order to cope with this unwelcome condition it is necessary to accept it’s existence and then seek help from a medical professional.  The sooner that they do this the sooner a solution can be found


The relationship

Erectile dysfunction can have a terrible impact on relationships, particularly during the denial phase when the sufferer is avoiding the problem rather than facing up to it.  They are likely to avoid sexual contact, in fact, any physical contact for fear that it will result in a failed sexual encounter.  This, in turn, has an impact on the partner who is left feeling hurt and thinking that their partner is having an affair or that their partner no longer finds them desirable.

Communication can break down with the sufferer’s partner afraid to broach the subject for fear that they will offend or embarrass their partner. Probably the most important part of coping with erectile dysfunction is to keep the channels of communication with your partner open.  Every problem in life is easier to cope with when you can share it.


Causes of erectile dysfunction

We need to understand the causes of erectile dysfunction to help us move forward towards a solution

Any disease or illness that is likely to interfere with vascular health is likely to impact on the ability of an individual to achieve or maintain an erection

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Thyroid problems
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High levels of cholesterol in the blood
  • Smoking
  • Drug abuse
  • Kidney disease
  • The disease of the nervous system including Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis
  • Low levels of testosterone
  • Obesity
  • Some medication
  • The incidence of erectile dysfunction increases with age

In addition, there are psychological issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction.  These include depression, anxiety, stress and relationship problems



There is a variety of medication now available to treat erectile dysfunction and, depending on the cause of the problem your GP is best placed to advise on the best course of action.

In the case of psychological causes, the GP may suggest counselling or sex therapy as well as stress-coping techniques such as meditation and exercise.


Coping strategies

Erectile dysfunction is a physical problem, however, the emotional impact of the problem on the sufferer and his partner can be far-reaching.



As we discussed earlier, it is necessary to come out of the denial phase and be honest with yourself, your partner and then see your GP.  This is the first step in the healing process.  Erectile dysfunction can be a complex issue and so may take some time therefore it is important to be patient with your progress.  Discuss treatment with your GP but also with your partner and accept that you may need to try different approaches in order to have a successful outcome


Your partner

Your partner can play a part in helping you to cope whilst helping themselves at the same time.  If they learn as much as they possibly can about the problem it will enable them to understand your position as well as leaving them better informed in terms of understanding possible treatments and maybe even suggesting some.

Your partner can also help by supporting you and explaining that you are no less of a man in their eyes and that it hasn’t changed the way they feel about you.  It is important that the partner communicate how they are affected so that you can talk about it

Your partner can attend doctor’s appointments with you and so giving moral support


Maintain intimacy

There are other ways to be intimate with your partner that don’t involve sexual intercourse and it can be exciting to explore these areas.  Find ways to please and satisfy each other; remember, intimacy is about giving and receiving pleasure.  Share a bath or have a shower together and try other techniques in the bedroom designed to give pleasure without sex.  Remember that the simple sensation of being touched can be highly erotic

Probably the most important part of intimacy is to have fun and laugh.  The healing power of laughter is incredibly powerful



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