Dr. Pepper Schwartz from Roman: Talking with your partner about ED
Talking With Your Partner About ED
Want to keep erectile dysfunction a secret from your sexual partner? Here's why you shouldn't.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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Since the marketing of the "little blue pill" – Viagra – began in 1998, the topic of erectile dysfunction gets broached frequently and frankly. In fact, some people believe that birth control was the first sexual revolution — and erectile dysfunction should be considered the second.
About half of men between ages 40 and 70 report erection problems, and more than 23 million men have been prescribed Viagra (sildenafil), just one of the popular erectile dysfunction drugs. So why do so many men remain hush-hush about their struggles with ED?
They shouldn’t: Staying quiet about sexual anxiety can make the situation worse because, inevitably, when a man has to live with erectile dysfunction, so does his sex partner.
Explaining How Erectile Dysfunction Affects Sexuality
On the most basic level, erectile dysfunction may keep you from getting an erection at all or it may cause an erection problem that makes it hard to complete the act of intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction can also have some serious emotional effects. Some of the feelings associated with erectile dysfunction include fear, anger, anxiety, and depression, and they can turn sex into something you fear instead of something you enjoy.
Here is how the emotional effects of erectile dysfunction can become a vicious cycle that damages your sex life:
- Anxiety over failure can cause you to avoid sex.
- Avoidance of sex can cause withdrawal from your sex partner and create serious relationship problems.
- Your relationship problems and emotional stress can make your erectile dysfunction worse.
Working With Your Partner
Erectile dysfunction is a couple's problem. When a man has erectile dysfunction, his sex partner is also affected. You cannot shut your sex partner out of the problem or the solution. Good communication is the foundation of a strong relationship and an essential part of sexuality. Here are tips that can help you communicate more effectively:
- Choose the right place and time to talk.
- Talk about your feelings — get them out in the open where you can start to deal with them.
- Talk openly about what you like sexually.
- Reassure each other and be positive. Remember that in most cases erectile dysfunction can be treated.
- Be patient and supportive with each other.
There are steps that you and your sex partner can take to work together during the evaluation, treatment, and management of erectile dysfunction:
Erectile dysfunction has both emotional and physical components that affect you and your sex partner, and the best way to manage an erection problem is to work together as a couple. Trying to deal with erectile dysfunction in secret will almost certainly be bad for your relationship and make your condition worse. Good communication is the best place to start.
Video: Talking About ED
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