Helping your partner with erectile dysfunction

Work together to overcome ED


Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be frustrating for both men and women. There are various causes of ED, that can be both physical and psychological, but it’s important to remember that most ED is treatable. You and your partner can work together to overcome ED, here are some ideas of how you can help.

Don’t avoid the subject  

Your partner may not want to talk about it, but it’s important that you don’t try to avoid the subject. Avoiding confronting the issue can lead to resentment and stress, which can then start affecting your relationship in other ways. The best option is to have an open conversation with each other, but be sure to avoid blame.

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No one is to blame

No one is to blame for ED. Make sure you let your partner know this really early on - it’s not their fault. When you do start talking about ED, it may help to lay out some ground rules. Agree that you will try not to get defensive or accusatory and that you are talking just so you can understand the situation and your partner’s feelings about it.


Try to pinpoint the cause

ED can have psychological or physical causes. Psychological causes include stress, depression and performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is the experience of anxiety relating to sex. This can include worries about sexual performance, pleasing your partner, sexual health, pregnancy, body image, self-esteem etc. Common physical causes of ED include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, drug use and medication side effects. There is also a connection between excessive cycling and ED.


Encourage them to see the doctor

Whatever you suspect is causing your partner’s ED, it is a good idea for them to speak to a doctor. ED can be a symptom of undiagnosed physical conditions i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Alternatively, it may suggest that their existing medication needs changing. A doctor can also prescribe them medications to help with ED if required.



There are several ED medications available. Viagra Connect is available over the counter, but other treatments are only available on prescription. Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), Levitra (Vardenafil) and Spedra (Avanafil) can be used to treat ED. You may find that some treatments work better for your partner than others, so it is a good idea for them to try a few different medications until they find the best one for them. The main differences between the medications are the time taken to work and the duration of the effects. However, some treatments have additional features. For example, Cialis Daily is designed to be taken on a daily basis, which is great if you have spontaneous sex with your partner. If your partner has difficulty swallowing tablets, there is also Levitra Orodispersible available, which could be a good option to consider.


Lifestyle changes

As we’ve mentioned, there are several lifestyle factors that may lead to ED, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Helping your partner to make lifestyle changes, could help him overcome his ED. Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet can all help counteract the health conditions that lead to ED. Think of ways you can help your partner in these areas. Could you quit smoking together? Could you get a couples gym membership? Could you improve meal plans for your both? Even just small adjustments can help alleviate the symptoms of ED.


Consider Psychology

Mental health can be a big factor in ED. Stress is one of the most common causes of ED. You can help your partner reduce his stress by asking about the stresses he experiences and what he thinks may help. Some people may find it helps to talk about their stress, but others may prefer to just have some time to themselves. Whatever it is, respect your partner’s approach. It may also help to encourage your partner to see a psychologist, counsellor, cognitive behavioural therapist or sex therapist. Sometimes it can be helpful to have an outsider’s perspective as your partner may not want to burden you with his problems. But you should make sure your partner knows that you’re there for him if he wants to talk.


There are other ways to have a physical relationship

Whilst waiting for your partner to readjust, or if his symptoms do not improve, you should not forget that there are other ways to have a physical or sexual relationship that do not involve penetration. You should speak to your partner about this, as you may be able to enjoy oral sex with each other, using sex toys or just caressing and kissing each other. But it’s important that you both communicate about what you think will work for you. You may be surprised at how exciting and sensual a non-penetrative sex life can be.

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