“Everything felt bleak”! This is how Pat (not her real name) described how she felt when they discovered that her partner was experiencing Erectile Dysfunction (ED). In her words, “It was hard to believe and settle with the realization,” she continued; “When it first started, we both thought it would go away, but it got even worse.”
Is this how you may be feeling right now? It’s a difficult situation to be in, but it is definitely a situation you can both handle successfully.
It is commendable that you are taking steps to seek out ways to help your partner in a difficult moment such as this. Rest assured that you will find out how to help your partner overcome the challenges of ED right here and now.
As for Pat, she now experiences success in this regard. Her husband has been receiving treatment for 2 years now, and they both enjoy a healthy relationship. Before going into how you can help, let’s dive a bit into what ED is.
What is ED?
It is the inability to hold an erection for as long as sex would last. Erection trouble from time to time may not necessarily be something that should bother you. But as a frequent occurrence, it is definitely worthy of attention.
Erectile dysfunction has psychological and physical causes. Medically it could be a sign of underlying health challenges like heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure.
Usually, when these causes are treated, ED can be reversed. Treatments of ED may need therapy, medications, or other direct treatments. The following are symptoms to look out for in your partner.
- Difficulty getting an erection
- Difficulty keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
- Premature ejaculation
In a study by PubMed, results suggested that around 52 percent of men experience some form of ED and that between ages 40 and 70, the overall chance of ED increases from about 5% to 15%. Good news, though! In many cases, ED can be reversed.
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported a remission rate of 29% after 5 years. Even in cases where it can’t be cured, the right treatment can eliminate or reduce symptoms.
Now let’s get down to the practicality of how you can help. Here’s what you can do.
How to help your partner?
Learn about ED
Learning about it makes you better prepared for what lies ahead. It would help you manage it and allay any fears that may arise from certain misconceptions you have about ED. It would correct wrong notions and help you be aware of best practices to cope with the issue.
For instance, knowing that it is a common reversible problem can allay the incurable fear. Additionally, knowing that lifestyle changes can improve their sexual health would make you inclined to help them make lifestyle changes. Read everything you should know about ED in this piece by ofNoah.
Get to the root by visiting a doctor.
It’s important to take steps in the right direction to understand why your partner may be suffering from ED. As enumerated above, if the underlying cause can be traced, it may be reversible if the cause is treated. Encourage your partner to visit the doctor. One way to do this is to offer to go with them.
If they are a bit uncomfortable about talking about It, you can offer to speak to the doctor on their behalf. In subsequent visits, remind them to let their doctor know how they are doing. Talk about if their treatments are working. If they have questions or side effects, encourage them to tell their doctor about that.
On some occasions, you might remember something that he forgot to share, or you may be better able to explain certain details of your partner’s condition.
Pat mentioned at the beginning realized that visiting the doctor with her partner greatly benefited her as well. She admitted that she learned from the doctor in the process.
According to her, speaking to the doctor about the physiology and psychology of sexual function and intimacy helped her understand better why erectile dysfunction occurs. She also benefited from learning about the treatment options and expectations and how she can help.
Reassure them that they are valued and loved
Assure them that ED doesn’t make them less of a man and that it hasn’t changed your feelings toward them. Tell your partner that you are never going away and that you both will get through this together.
Talk about how you feel.
Open communication helps. Just like your partner can talk about how they feel, you also can talk about how you feel. Pretending to be okay and unaffected does nothing to lessen what and how you really feel.
Unwind by letting it out. When you talk about your feelings together, it strengthens the bond between you both. It further helps you both handle the wrong emotions that rear its head in times like these.
First of all, erase all negative thoughts that tell you that it is probably your fault that your partner has ED. It is not your fault. No, you did nothing wrong. Do not indulge feelings of insecurities.
ED has nothing to do with how attractive you look to your partner. It also wasn’t because you think you are boring. When you begin to feel this way, it might not help the situation. Your partner already feels inadequate that he is unable to satisfy you.
When negative feelings co-exist in this way, it makes the situation even tenser and unmanageable. Setting such negative thoughts aside would help you be in the right frame of mind to help your partner and love him regardless.
Next, take the doctor’s advice and work at achieving all the do’s and don’ts that the doctor recommended and believe that things will get better over time.
Staying positive means you are patient with your partner too. Medications and recommendations may walk slower than expected.
To illustrate, If your partner is on a pill, don’t always expect an instant erection to occur. A medication like Viagra starts working 30 to 60 minutes after use and may take up to two hours to work. Similarly, a steady exercise routine will need at least 6 months to reflect any changes in ED.
Adjust your sex life
Another way to stay positive is focusing on what you have together rather than what you can’t have. Find other ways to pleasure each other instead of feeling pressured to have penetrative sex.
Explore other intimate options by trying out new things. Sex is about connecting and feeling in very special ways. Things you can both do,
- Oral sex
- Full body massage
- Engage in intimate talks
- Take a bath together
- Read and watch something sexy together
- Do a lot of foreplay
- Kiss a lot more
- Listen to porn audiobooks
- Tease yourselves with touches throughout the day
- Do couple dance
Help with their therapy.
Help your partner stick with their therapy routines. Remind them of their appointments and provide input and feedback about their treatment where possible.
Encourage them to live healthily.
Include healthy meal options in the meal plan. Meal prepping would help you plan and prepare meals and help you include the right portion of vitamins needed for a healthier lifestyle.
Look out for ways to include vitamins that can boost sexual health. Here is a list of vitamins and food to add to the meal plan.
Vit B9 (folic acid)
- Cereal grain
- Citrus fruits
- Spinach and other leafy vegetables
- Seafood and fatty fish
Vit B 3
- green peas
Other lifestyle changes that you can encourage them to make include:
Quit smoking if they smoke: Smoking decreases blood circulation because it narrows blood vessels and has been linked to lung cancer and other health complications.
Reduce alcohol intake. It is a central nervous system depressant that can make it harder to achieve arousal.
Get better sleep. Sleep accelerates oxygen levels that improve blood flow to the sexual organs.
Meditate: stress can cause erectile problems, and meditation relieves stress and performance anxiety.
Exercise: Likewise, encourage them to engage in exercises that can help their heart condition. You can both go swimming, jogging, brisk walking and more.
See a counselor
Undoubtedly, no matter how easy it sounds. In the real sense of it, it’s not as simple. Even while trying to cope, you may feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to seek help for yourself. If you have a tense situation on your hands that may be affecting your relationship, suggest to your partner that perhaps you both need to see a counselor for a therapeutic session.
To help your partner, you need to give lots of encouragement and have a double dose of patience. Following these suggestions can help you both a great deal as things turn around for good. Hopefully, soon enough.