If you have erectile dysfunction you may be feeling some uncomfortable emotions. You might be angry, embarrassed, resentful, or self-conscious. That is normal and completely understandable, but you should not shut your partner out. Keep in mind, although you are affected by your condition, so is your partner. Good communication is key to coping with your ED as well as maintaining your relationship. Helping your partner understand what you are going through allows you both so provide each other with the support you both need.
Time and place are important.
Ideally, when you decide to talk to your partner about your erectile dysfunction, you want to make sure that there are no distractions and you won’t be interrupted. This is a serious conversation and typically fairly uncomfortable for both partners. Having the television blaring or kids coming in and out will make it that much more difficult. Try to set aside a time when you are both relaxed, and you can be alone together.
Where you have the conversation is also important. Try to avoid having it in the bedroom. That is not the place. However, if you are unable to perform in the heat of the moment, then you may have no choice but to broach the topic.
The key is to be as comfortable as possible and in an environment where you and your partner can focus on each other while openly discussing your condition.
When you begin to talk with your partner, you may feel vulnerable. You are bringing them into a situation that is very personal to you. It might feel a little awkward but try not to let your nerves get the best of you. Avoid being on the defensive, don’t make excuses, and don’t assign blame. Bottom line, erectile dysfunction is a medical condition. It does not make you any less of a man. It does not mean you are weak.
Most men experience ED at some time in their life. In fact, approximately 5% of 40 year old men have complete erectile dysfunction and 40% of 40 year old men have mild to moderate ED. The number of men with some degree of ED increases by 10% for each decade of life. You are not alone, and you are definitely not the only one.
It is important to communicate openly and honestly about your condition. Poor communication with your partner, depression, anxiety, and stress can all cause or exacerbate erectile dysfunction. That is why it is vital that you approach is with sensitivity and openness. If the conversation begins to get tense, agree to take a breather so you can both regroup and calm down.
Explain your condition to your partner and answer their questions to the best of your ability. You may want to include your doctor or a counselor at some point.
Invite them to talk with your doctor.
Your partner may have questions about your condition that you cannot answer. If that is the case, you may want to allow them to come to a doctor’s appointment and ask your doctor or physician’s assistant. They may be better equipped to answer some of the more technical questions about ED.
If they do not want to talk to your doctor, make a list of their questions and ask at your next appointment. That way you can give them the answers they need to better understand your condition.
Discuss treatment options.
One question that your partner may have is what treatment options you are pursuing or what is available. Discuss what you are considering and treatments specifically for your condition. Research them together and talk about the pros and cons of each. Sometimes it helps having input from someone else who knows you well, understands you, and accepts you as you are.
There are so many treatments for ED. There are medications, injections, surgery, and procedures like acoustic wave therapy. Each has its place, but it’s a lot of information to process. Explore your options together and find solutions together.
Your condition does not need to draw a dividing line between you and your partner. It can actually help bring you closer together.
Work together to find ways to be intimate.
Having erectile dysfunction does not mean that you can no longer be intimate. It simply means that you need to find other ways to do it. Talk to each other and explore alternative ways to achieve intimacy, whether it’s physical contact or manual sexual stimulation. It is possible to be extremely intimate without having intercourse, so take the time to find new ways to draw closer to each other.
You may have some trial and error at first, but don’t give up. Keep talking and exploring until you find solutions that allow you to work around your ED and still be intimate.
Consider exploring couples counseling.
Your partner may be internalizing your condition and making it personal. They may feel like they are to blame or that you are unfaithful. If you feel that their questions are pointing in this direction, then you should seek counseling to help you both get back on the right track.
Sometimes communication is just too difficult. Maybe you are having trouble bringing it up with your partner or maybe your discussions devolve into emotionally charged arguments where no one wins.
Whatever the case, couples counseling can often help. By bringing the conversation to neutral territory, your counselor can act as a mediator, helping you work through your communication issues as well as helping your partner understand your ED.
Talking to your partner about your ED may not be a comfortable conversation, but it is an important one. Sharing the details with your partner will allow them to be supportive and that can help you deal with it in a healthier way.
At ARC Men’s Health we understand your apprehension about discussing your ED. Our goal is to help you get back to your old self and overcome erectile dysfunction. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for our acoustic wave therapy.