How to deal with your partner’s erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can have a serious effect on a relationship. Here’s how to approach the challenge of a partner struggling with ED.

Good communication is the cornerstone of every relationship, but talking about sexual issues can sometimes be a challenge.

1. It’s most likely not about you

Your immediate thought might be that you’re the cause of his inability to get an erection. You may think that you’re not able to arouse him the way you used to. You can, however, reassure yourself that you’re probably not the cause.

The most common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is damage to arteries, smooth muscles and fibrous tissues. Problems with blood vessels (vascular) make up 48% of erection issues.

2. Encourage him to see a doctor

A study done by The Conversation shows that the societal script of masculinity leads men to believe that to be a man they need to “toughen up and be brave and self-reliant”. This could be why men tend to be more reluctant to go to the doctor than women.

ED can be an indicator of an underlying condition needing medical attention. According to, ED can also be an indicator of diabetes, and further explains that men with diabetes are three times more likely to have ED. Diabetes can stop the penis from becoming erect in three ways:

1. Neuropathy can develop, as diabetes may cause damage to nerves, disabling the signalling from the brain to the penis.

2. Atherosclerosis causes the blood vessels to narrow or harden. Diabetes is known to aggravate this condition, which may cause ED by restricting the flow of blood to the penis.

3. Blood sugar levels have a direct effect on the body’s production of Nitrous Oxide (NO), which means that NO levels will drop if blood sugar levels are not well managed. NO ensures that an erection is maintained.

3. Show him support

It can be a very scary experience knowing something is wrong with your health, but not knowing what the cause could be and how serious it is. In addition to this, a man can feel quite emasculated when he fails to get an erection. Allow your relationship to be a safe space for him to share his fears and concerns. Don’t judge him or make him feel he cannot talk to you. Experts maintain that open communication is key to ensuring that ED doesn’t damage a couple’s relationship in the long run.

4. Take charge in the bedroom

Do not allow sexual frustrations to build up, as this could put unnecessary strain on you and your relationship. Explain to your partner that you support him and have no desire to replace him. There’s, however, no reason why his problem should prevent you from being sexually satisfied. Now could be the right time to get acquainted with a self-love device such as a dildo or vibrator.

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