How Can You And Your Partner Deal With Erectile Dysfunction Together?

30 September, 2021  |  Holy Winter - Healthcare Writer

How Can You And Your Partner Deal With Erectile Dysfunction Together?

Erectile dysfunction is a physical issue, but it takes an emotional toll, affecting the man and his partner. Societal norms have set unhealthy and unrealistic standards for what it means to be a 'man', so many men are hesitant to talk about their ED. There is a feeling of guilt or embarrassment, and many men perceive it as being less of a man. It can be a loaded topic to discuss with the partner, and there is never a good time for it, but talk one must.

When the man in a relationship has erectile dysfunction, his partner can help greatly by offering unconditional support and acceptance of the problem.

If you are the significant other in a relationship where your partner has erectile dysfunction, there are several ways you can provide emotional and physical support.

Talk about the problem

It might sound like a cliche, but good communication is fundamental to a healthy and lasting relationship. If your partner does not want to talk about his ED, you will need to initiate the discussion yourself. You should not be confrontational and instead, start the conversation by expressing frustration at being unable to have proper sexual intercourse. Express your concern for his sexual satisfaction as well and communicate that you care about his feelings. It can be challenging to talk about most sexual problems, but if kept bottled up for long, it can become tough to open up later on.

Once you two start honestly and openly communicating about your partners ED, it will become more accessible and easier to talk about ED and your sex life as a couple. Express your honest feelings about ED and how it has impacted you, and ask your partner to share his feelings about the problem. It is always better to communicate than to avoid talking about a problem, which only leads to resentment and can be a sign of a deepening crisis in the relationship.

Try to overcome anxiety as a couple.

Anxiety can be a cause of ED for some men. If there is no underlying physical issue linked to ED, anxiety, nerves, and fear are often to blame. The expectation of pleasing the partner in bed can be overwhelming for some men, and when the time comes, it can come in the way of getting a proper erection. It can become a vicious downward spiral, where it gets harder and harder for the man to maintain his erection the more he feels he doesn’t satisfy his partner.

To start attempting to get past this anxiety, try to shift focus away from your partner’s ED. Instead, try to enjoy each other's physical presence and get physically intimate without penile penetration. For example, learn some massage techniques and practice them with your partner. The simple act of touch involved in a massage can be highly pleasurable and relaxing without the need for penetrative sex. Look up some relaxing breathing exercises and get your partner to do them with you. The more you and your partner practice relaxation techniques, the easier it will become to have a fulfilling and stress-free sexual experience.

Get to know each other all over again.

Try to recall the feelings you and your partner had at the start of the relationship. In those early days, every moment spent together must have felt magical. If enough time has passed since then, it might feel all too unrelatable. When the 'honeymoon' of a romantic relationship becomes a distant memory, it usually gets replaced by familiarity, and people tend to start taking their partners for granted. To rekindle the spark and restore those feelings is to go out of your comfort zone and experiment with new activities. Taking a romantic trip can help you break out of a rut and experience the joy and fun of your relationship. Set aside sometime each day to focus on each other. If you both need to slowly touch and caress each other to reach a heightened state of arousal, then go for it. If foreplay was a means to an end for you, then change that; engage in prolonged foreplay and make it an end in itself. Spending more time being physical without having sex will take sexual arousal to new heights. You both might end up loving the extended foreplay and might discover unique aspects to each other that you both had missed noticing before.

Adopt a healthier lifestyle

Some lifestyle habits can make erectile dysfunction worse than it would otherwise be. The worst offenders are:

  • Smoking cigarettes

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Using illicit drugs for recreation

If you or your partner have these habits, make a concerted effort to cut back or stop. If you do it together, it will also help your relationship grow further.

Some medications can contribute to ED as well, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, painkillers, and a few others. If you think a medicine is involved in your ED, talk to your doctor but do not stop taking the medications on your own. 

Get in shape

A leading cause for ED is to be overweight or obese. However, if one starts to exercise regularly and eat healthily, the severity of ED can be drastically reduced. Regular exercise is good not just for the symptoms but also for improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength, leading to overall improved health. A type of exercise called 'Kegel exercises' can help improve pelvic strength and positively impact ED.

Encourage your partner to get back in shape without shaming him. Be with him through the process and help him find ways to stick to the exercise plan. Emotional support can make a world of difference.

If all else fails, seek medical help

If the ED does not subside or go away entirely using the methods described above, it might be time to get professional help. You may offer to go with him to a doctor and find out what medical options are available. ED medications like Viagra or Cialis are the first line of treatment. If lifestyle changes or other non-medicated methods have failed, then ED medications can allow you and your partner to have normal sex again. 

ED medications can be very helpful, but do not rely on them to be the only thing keeping your relationship afloat. If medication is supplemental in your case, keep trying to overcome ED without it. Maintain a habit of open and honest communication with your partner. Express your sexual expectations, find out what your partner expects from you, and find healthy and creative ways to fulfil each others’ needs.

Reviewed By

Omar El-Gohary

Omar El-Gohary

The superintendent and lead pharmacist - registration number 2059792.

Omar is passionate about developing healthcare technology to empower our patients.

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