Many women view Erectile Dysfunction as a relationship problem. Because sex is often tied to emotion for many women, a woman whose partner is experiencing erectile dysfunction goes through a whole cycle of feelings.
What is important for women to understand:
- ED is not a normal part of the aging process
- ED is often a sign of an underlying health issue such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes
- ED is not a negative reflection on your partner's sexual attraction or feelings of intimacy for you
- ED is not your fault
- ED, in most cases, is treatable
Understanding and Coping with Your Partner's ED
- Communicate. Talking about your partner's erectile dysfunction can certainly be difficult, but communication is vital. Ignoring the issue is not only damaging to the relationship, but to your man's health as well. Being open, honest and understanding with your partner can help eliminate feelings of frustration and uncertainty and help maintain a feeling of closeness. Talking about ED with your partner is the first step to overcoming the condition. It's important to understand your partner's emotions and psychological stress brought on by his impotence, just as much as it is vital that you are open about your own feelings. Communication is key to maintaining your healthy relationship and coping with ED as a couple.
- Educate yourself. Understanding the causes of ED, as well as the treatment options available, can help you and your partner choose the treatment that works best for you as a couple. Go with your partner to his doctor's appointments. Ask questions, be supportive, and play an active role in your partner's treatment, and recovery.
- Be understanding. When talking to your partner about ED, understand what he is going through. Don't place blame, but rather, be positive and work together to get help. Encourage him to speak with a trained urologist and seek treatment, but do so in a gentle, supportive way.
- It's not you. Many women blame their partner's ED on themselves, believing they are the problem and that their partner is just not sexually attracted to them anymore. This is not the fact in the majority of ED cases, and there is usually an underlying physical cause of your partner's erectile dysfunction. It's not you. Don't blame yourself.
- Discover other ways to connect with your partner. Explore other ways to create intimacy in your relationship with your partner that doesn't require an erection and sexual intercourse until treatment can be started. Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect with your partner outside of your sexual relationship - talking more, traveling, exercising together and enjoying each other's company can take some of the pressure off of both of you.
- Seek support. The loss of intimacy, even if it's temporary, can cause stress for many women in a relationship. Talking to close friends or family about your emotions can help you, but also be aware that this could prove embarrassing for your partner. Professional counseling may also be an option to explore your feelings.
- Support Groups - Knowing you are not alone can be a comforting revelation. Chesapeake Urology's erectile dysfunction support group brings patients, and their partners, together with individuals who are going through the same experience, to talk about issues, relationships, treatments and success stories.
For more information on Chesapeake Urology's educational seminars and support groups, click here.