HOW TO TALK YOUR PARTNER ABOUT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Now, we know what you’re thinking… ‘Erectile dysfunction? No thanks – too awkward.’
Well, stop right there! Erection problems are actually very common, with up to half of men under 50 in the UK experiencing symptoms - so trust us, if you’re reading this because you have a partner who is experiencing erection problems, there’s nothing wrong with them, or with you - sometimes our bodies just don’t react the way we’d like them to.
Usually, erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms are a result of stress, anxiety, tiredness, or drinking too much alcohol. However, in some cases, it can actually be the sign of a wider health issue. With ED usually occurring during intimate moments with a partner, it’s no wonder it can impact self-esteem and confidence. If not discussed, ED can even start to put a real strain on a relationship.
If it happens once or twice, you might just brush it off, but if it’s starting to affect your sex life, it’s probably a good time to have the talk to your partner about what he’s going through. We know that good communication is part of a strong relationship and the key to great sex, but when it comes to talking to your partner about erectile dysfunction (ED), here’s our advice on how to handle it...
First of all, repeat after us – it’s not my fault. It’s an understandable worry that if someone’s partner can’t get an erection, it’s because they’ve done something wrong, or because their partner doesn't find them attractive any more, but that’s not the case. At all. It doesn’t happen because he’s not turned on enough. Just remind yourself that this isn’t a reflection on you – it’s no-one’s fault.
The absolute worst time to strike up a conversation about ED? When you’re naked in bed after an attempt at sex that didn’t go as planned. Chances are your partner isn’t feeling their best right now – they might be feeling embarrassed, worried or even angry – so wait until your clothes are back on before you bring it up.
So, when is the right time to talk about it? Every couple is different, so it should be at a time when you’re alone together, feeling relaxed and comfortable. It’s super important to be open, supportive and sensitive.
Avoid using phrases like ‘why can’t you...’, ‘you never…’ or ‘your problem’, as it can seem like you’re playing the blame game, so stick to sentences that start with ‘I’ or ‘we’. Try your best to keep your tone calm and reassuring.
There’s no set script for how this chat should go, as it completely depends on your partner, but it could be worth emphasising that it’s a normal problem that a lot of men experience. If they know it’s nothing to do with their masculinity, your partner may find it easier to discuss.
However, your partner might not want to talk about it, in which case let them know you’ll give them space to think, but that you’ll need to come back to it. It’s a conversation you need to have before it starts to have a deeper impact on your relationship, but give them some breathing space if they need it.
If your partner is worried about their ED, a trip to their GP should be their first priority, just to rule out any other potential issues.
In the meantime, take the pressure off him to perform – who said that sex was just about penetration? Show him that your sex life isn’t just centred on his ability to get an erection. Anything from using sex toys to massage can help you physically reconnect as a couple, so get creative!
Outside of the bedroom, keep showing your support whilst you work through it together – check in on each other and listen to each other. It’s not the easiest conversation to have, but one you’ll be glad you started.
We’re passionate about improving your sex life, so for more tips and advice, visit our sex talk blog!