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How to have a relationship with a partner who suffers from erectile dysfunction.

By Anonymous November 21, 2008 - 2:47pm
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I am in a relationship for the past five months with a man suffering from erectile dysfunction. We share alot of kissing, hugging and stimulation but there is no sex. He has not taken any action to see a doctor or address this. I find the sexual stimulation with no sex is taking a toll on me psychologically and physically. I have been very compassionate and understanding but I would like advice on how to proceed.

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EmpowHER Guest

Dump him. If he doesn't have the wherewithal to get help then you are between a sock and a soft place. It won't get better. You will end up resentful and frustrated. Just be glad you are not married to him. There is nothing in this world more draining than a man who won't man up in regards to your needs. It will get to the point where he'll just shrug his shoulders at your predicament. If he ain't missing it, then he's not going to be too concerned about your dissatisfaction. I have lived this hell for 15 years. Don't wait till you get so attached that you can't move on.

October 4, 2009 - 7:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am 25 years old and have recently starting to suffer ed. My partner is 20 and we have been friends for many years but recently have been together as a couple for the last two months. For our first time together I was not able to perform, which scared me badly and made the problem worse on later attempts, where everything would start to go well then back down once we were about to have sex. My girlfriend thinks its her fault completely and has nothing to do with ed. I have tried to talk to her about it and about seeing a doctor but she turns it around into me not being attracted to her. I feel so worthless as a guy and not being able to meet her needs.

September 20, 2009 - 10:53am
(reply to Anonymous)

It sounds like you are very knowledgeable about your body, and unfortunately, this is a condition that is difficult for many partners to understand.

Since you are open to seeing a doctor, what is stopping you? Are you dependent on your girlfriend's support or financial assistance in order to see a health care professional? I understand it would be nice to have her support and understanding, but if you have the financial means, it would be recommended that you see a doctor for a medical evaluation. This would not only help you receive a diagnosis and begin treatment, but you can also speak with your doctor about how to talk with your partner about ED. Your doctor likely has written literature about ED that is written for the sexual partner, in terms they can understand...as well as suggestions about how the partner can offer their support throughout the process.

Please let us know how you are doing; I would love to hear back from you after your doctor's appointment.

September 20, 2009 - 1:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi there, I have been with my partner for 1 year, we have never had sex, I dare say we have tried but when sex is instigated, he loses it completely. He is 37 and I am 23 and I am finding it so difficult not to feel resentful towards him. I have spoken with him about it but he refuses to go to the doctor. He has agreed to get his testosterone levels checked but that was months ago, i have suggested Viagra but he has yet to take it. Where am I going wrong? I have been totally understanding until now when Im feeling very unloved and unattractive, he avoids any kind of intimacy with me but I do love him, what else can i do?

January 30, 2009 - 8:04am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You're not the one who's wrong, sweetie.

The thing is, your man is probably deeply ashamed of himself that he can't perform and admitting to anyone else is probably a sign of weakness in his mind. (Thus why a lot of men tend to put up resistance when we suggest they see a doctor - seeing a doctor would be admitting there's a problem, which would be admitting that there's a weakness. )

I'm 20 and I've also been with my partner for a year, and he's 23, with ED problems due to medications he takes for a different condition. When we first got involved and into bed with each other, he was utterly horrified by the fact that he couldn't get it up (He had been a virgin and it hadn't occurred to him that he would have trouble until that moment). I was lucky though, because the first thing my boyfriend did was run to the doctor for help.

For the first several months, things went up and down as he switched his medications for the other condition with varying effects. (At that point, the ED had become psychological, because he was scared he wouldn't be able to, even with the new meds, so he would get it up, then suddenly deflate just before the moment of penetration). I did my best to hang on, be encouraging and not take things too personally (It was difficult, and he could sense that), but we made a big point of talking about it too, so that he knew that while I understood his issues and supported him, I wasn't just pretending nothing was wrong either, because I had needs and desires that wanted to be fufilled, because I know at that point, I was extremely frustrated emotionally and sexually.

Eventually, he managed to get over the psychological stuff with a lot of encouragement, but he also discovered that the 'new' meds he was taking were having adverse side-effects in other ways, so he switched back to the ED causing ones because they worked better. However, by that point, he'd discovered that by a combination of timing sex so that it happened +12 hours after his last dosage plus the occasional Cialis, things usually turn out fine.

We still occasionally run into the ED, but it's not a big deal anymore and I'm happy with our sex life.

My point being is that, it's not you, it's his trouble and he needs to find a way to fix it and after a point, you need do need to speak up and say "Hey, this is bothering me a lot, because it makes me feel like....". Maybe he doesn't know it's bothering you as much as it does (silence has an insidious way of doing that) and he needs to know how much this is affecting you. If all else fails, go to the doctor yourself and ask for advice for what to do. (Or grind up Viagra into his morning coffee?)

But from the sound of your man, he's refusing to get himself checked out, so you have to make it clear that that's not OK. Basically, he's been able to spend a year not doing anything about his problem and you have wasted a year being frustrated and resentful. (Does he get hard at other times... but not during sex? if that is the case, the problem is psychological and he needs to figure out what's causing it).

Make it clear to him that while you love him and understand that he has troubles, that being he is not being fair to you or your sexuality by not seeing a doctor. If he resists even further, you may have to leave him to find someone else who can keep it up for you. Perhaps the thought of that will get him motivated to try something. However, if it doesn't, then you should leave him. If he's not willing to go out of his way for your happiness, then he's not worth it in the long run and in no way is he worth being celibate for.

February 6, 2009 - 11:48am
(reply to Anonymous)

Anon, I just want to say that I love your comment!! And you are so right. You are very wise and I applaud you for reaching out and sharing your experience here, because it's so very helpful.

February 6, 2009 - 12:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

Wow hearing this from a woman's stand point is interesting. ED is very hard on men and I can talk from experience. The best thing to do is communicate about ED, the man will not come out due to pride but one can find ways to talk about it. This post looks at this issue from a mans stand point How to tell my wife about erectile dysfunction?. A good tip that I could give you is get him to eat more watermelons, or make it for him 3 times a week, this helps increase blood flow and believe me it does work to a certain extent.

January 15, 2009 - 5:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

Are you aware of any problems with internet pornography addiction? I was with a man who was not able to preform sexually with a woman, while he masturbated to internet porn daily. He visited his doctor who prescribed viagra, instead of attempting to put him in touch with a therapist!He was only twenty eight and found greater pleasure with the variety and the extreme situations of internet porn, so much so that a true flesh and blood woman didn't do it for him anymore!
It's increasingly a worse and worse problem!!!
Anyway, I hope you can figure it out. He really needs to talk to someone and most of all you!
Take care.

November 23, 2008 - 10:57pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

That is a good point, Anon, thank you for helping our poster.

Another point to ponder is the possibility that he may be gay. Now I don't say that lightly, I say it because a friend of mine just ended a sexless relationship of several months and there were several indicators that he may indeed be gay, although the relationship ended without it being asked outright.

November 24, 2008 - 2:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think you have been given great information on how to deal with ED in your relationship. I just wanted to tell you that you are a very strong woman and wanted to commend you on your patience and effort. Sex is not a deal breaker in a relationship although, there is definitely that need for both parties.

Please keep us posted on how your doing.

November 23, 2008 - 5:51pm
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