The effects of erectile dysfunction on your partner

How impotence can lead to relationship problems


There’s no getting away from the fact that when one person in a relationship suffers from the effects of erectile dysfunction it has a profound effect on both of you.  The emotional and psychological effects on both people can be devastating but the first thing to remember is that there is no need to suffer alone.  You are both in this partnership so pull together and face it as a team!

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is sufficient to have sexual intercourse.  It is not considered to be a problem if it occurs only on occasion.  It can have a variety of physical and psychological causes but it is the emotional and psychological effects on each member of the partnership that we will be exploring

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Effects on the sufferer

Many men consider that being able to perform the sexual act is an inherent part of their masculinity and if they are unable to achieve an erection it can profoundly affect their confidence and self-esteem. It may be that a sufferer will avoid any contact with his partner for fear it will lead to a failed sexual encounter

This, in turn, can lead to stress, anxiety and ultimately depression which are in themselves conditions that are likely to compound the problem.

It can lead to a feeling of profound isolation with many men believing that they are the only one to suffer.  However, ED is far more common than many men realise with an estimated 50% of all men experiencing ED at some point in their lives


What your partner can do to help

It is, first of all, important to be understanding.  Do not dismiss the issue saying that it doesn’t matter but rather reassure your partner that they are still loved and valued and that the problem is not theirs alone but one that can be dealt with together.

Educate yourself!  Find out as much as you can about the problem.  Study possible causes and solutions and finally encourage your partner to seek advice from his GP.  Explain that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign for more serious problems and explain that it is necessary for his GP to determine that there isn’t a more sinister issue underlying the ED.

Offer to attend the appointment with him for moral support!


Effects on the partner

When your man has problems achieving an erection it can result in some long-suppressed insecurities rising to the surface!  You may think that it is because you have put on weight recently or you had noticed that your skin was not as youthful looking as it had been.  You can start to believe that your partner has just ‘gone off you’.  Your partner may be avoiding any contact because he is afraid it will lead to sex which he is trying to avoid because of his fear of failure

Alternatively, you may start to believe that he must be ‘going elsewhere’ for sex and is having an affair with some unknown woman; you can drive yourself mad if you have a fertile imagination!


What the sufferer can do to help

It is very easy if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction to withdraw into yourself and shut out those around you.  However, it is very important that you take the time to see how it may be affecting your partner - remember you are not the only one in the partnership.

Their self-esteem may also be taking a battering and they may be blaming themselves for their inability to arouse you sexually.  Take the time to explain how much you still care for them and also reassure them that they are in no way to blame for the problem



This is a time when being afraid to broach the subject for fear of humiliating or embarrassing your partner is a very bad idea.  It is at times like these that you need to be able to talk the problem through.  Good communication will enable both partners to express their emotions and feelings rather than each of them suffering alone. In turn, this will lead to a closer relationship


  1. If your partner has ED,take%20care%20of%20yourself%2C%20too.
  2. If your partner suffered from impotence would you recognise the signs?
  3. Managing  Erectile Dysfunction: Tips for Sexually Frustrated Couples

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