Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a difficult thing to deal with in any relationship, whether you’re married or not. There are many reasons for ED, which can be physical and/or psychological. But whatever the cause, it is really important to communicate and take the time to understand each other in your relationship.
Here are some tips about how to approach ED in your relationship:
It may feel awkward or embarrassing at first, but you need to find a way to talk about it. Avoiding the subject will prevent you and your partner from being able to understand the issue and deal with it. This can lead to resentment and further stress around the issue, which can then go on to affect your relationship in other ways.
Try to establish if you're suffering from ED or reduced libido. These two things can have different causes and different repercussions. For example, if you’re suffering from reduced libido, you and your partner could talk about ways to improve your sex life. But if you're suffering from ED, you may also need to consider medications, therapies and lifestyle changes that you can discuss with your partner.
No one is to blame for ED. Make sure that both you and your partner understand that. When you do get to talk to each other, set 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. Trying to blame your partner or feeling blamed can be very damaging to your ability to communicate, but also to your relationship more broadly.
It’s surprising how common it is for people to start thinking about their reply when the other person is talking. So make an extra effort to really listen to each other. Maybe you could start off with one person explaining how they feel then switch over, so you each get a chance to express yourself. Active listening will really help you understand each other and why you respond and feel the way you do. If your partner says or does something you don’t understand, don’t just disagree, ask questions to understand their perspective and why they feel that way.
ED can be caused by psychological or physical causes. If you feel that stress, anxiety or depression could be causing your ED, you should probably seek a psychological treatment such as counselling or sex therapy. If you have experienced ED since your first started having sex, you may be suffering from performance anxiety. Worrying that you may not be ‘good enough’ in bed, worries about pregnancy, morality, self-esteem or sexual health concerns can cause performance anxiety. If you think this affects you, you should talk about this with your partner and consider speaking to a counsellor or sex therapist, who can help you with this.
There is currently no strong evidence for ED caused by over-exposure to porn and masturbation. However, there are growing concerns in this area. This may be related to psycho-physical processes in the brain, as you get desensitised to more extreme porn. It’s also possible that you may feel that real-life sex is disappointing compared to porn. If you feel there could be a connection between your porn use and your ED, you should try to stop watching porn, or at least to stop watching extreme porn. Then your body should naturally readjust to enjoying real-life sex again. Click here for more info about ED and porn.
There are several lifestyle factors that may contribute to ED, including poor diet, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Making efforts to quit smoking, eat better and lose weight could help you resolve your ED. Prolonged cycling has also been associated with ED, so if you feel that that could be the root of your problem, you don’t need to give up cycling, but you can make adjustments, to prevent damage to the genital area. Click here for advice on cycling and ED. Certain medications can also lead to ED, so if you're concerned about this speak to your doctor. For more information about medications that cause ED, click here.
If you suffer from ED, there are a number of medications that may be available. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Spedra are some of the most popular treatments, but you may find that some work better for you than others. Cialis Daily is designed to be taken on a daily basis, which may be useful for you if you want to be able to get an erection more spontaneously. Other treatments are designed to be taken a few minutes-hours before you want the erection to occur. If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, Levitra Orodispersible could be a good option for you.
Whilst you're waiting to readjust, or if your 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, using sex toys or just caressing and kissing each other. But it’s important that you 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.