7 strategies for partnering up with ED
Erectile dysfunction (ED) doesn’t affect only men; it extends to their partners as well. After all, the sexual difficulties are also theirs.
Still, men are often reluctant to talk about their ED. They feel embarrassed and guilty, and consider themselves less “manly.” It’s a lot to deal with. But significant others can help by offering much-needed emotional and physical support.
How can you broach such a sensitive topic, and what role should a partner specifically play? Here are seven suggestions.
Discuss the issue
Good communication is the foundation of an enduring relationship. Confront any concerns you may have about his difficulty having or maintaining an erection by discussing your feelings and telling your partner that you care. As challenging as it is to talk about any sexual problem, the difficulty level skyrockets if the issue becomes buried under years of lies, hurt, and resentment.
Find the right time to talk
There are two types of sexual conversations: the ones you have in the bedroom and the ones you have elsewhere. It’s often best to talk about ED at a time and place where both people will feel less vulnerable — that is, not while in bed with your clothes off.
Reassure your partner that he is not alone
Remind him (and yourself) that millions of men have ED and that it’s a treatable medical condition. Also, understand that ED does not mean he is no longer interested in sex — or you.
Learn about the condition and treatment options
Information truly is empowering. The best treatment for ED is one that you both agree will fit most comfortably with your lovemaking.
Offer to go with your partner to his doctor’s appointment
In general, couples who work together have the best chance of successful treatment. But if your partner prefers to see his doctor alone, respect his privacy. There are other ways you can support his treatment.
Help your partner help himself
Keep in mind that harmful health habits, such as smoking and heavy drinking, can cause ED. In a supportive and nonjudgmental way, encourage your partner to break these habits and form healthier habits that could boost your sex life. What’s good for his overall health is good for your sexual relationship.
Express your love in many ways
Expand your repertoire of intimate expressions. Lovemaking can be satisfying even without an erection. Create an atmosphere of caring and tenderness, and explore different ways to be intimate in the bedroom like foreplay and exploring each other’s bodies.
About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
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