Photo Credit: jasleen_kaur

Responding to Erectile Dysfunction, or E.D.

By Judith Beebe, M.A.

Topics: Anxiety and Depression,Infidelity

One of the most distressing experiences for a man to experience in his intimate life, Erectile Dysfunction, or E.D., affects a growing number of men from all backgrounds, ages, and life situations. E.D. can have multiple causes, and how to treat it is different for each man. When a man first experiences E.D., he has a range of reactions from shock, to embarrassment, to anger with himself. After a number of experiences of E.D., a man becomes concerned for the future of his current relationship, or for his ability to keep a relationship in the future. He feels anger, shame and loneliness. Partners of men with E.D. want to be supportive and resourceful, but are also going through their own tough time, feeling unattractive or unloveable, not only because of the E.D. itself, but also connected with the stress around intimacy that E.D. can cause.

E.D. can stem from a combination of a physiological problem, emotional issues, relationship issues, stress, and lifestyle. Because E.D. has multiple sources for each man, it can be difficult to know how  to start treating it. If a man has a gut feeling about the source of the problem, that’s a good place to start.  Making a change in lifestyle, or addressing a stressful workplace issue, can help to regain a sense of control.  Speaking openly with your partner about a problem in the relationship can clear the air, and make way for moving forward as a team to address the E.D.  It’s important to get a complete physical early in the process. This will show if the E.D. is masking another health issue, such as high blood pressure. A doctor can also keep you updated on the latest medical treatments and medications. Try making one positive change in all five areas: physiological, emotional, relationship, stress and lifestyle. Then listen to your gut instincts again, asking yourself which area, or areas, felt the most significant to you.

Moving forward, focus your energies on the two or three areas that seem the most significant to you. A marriage and family therapist can help with the relationship issues associated with E.D., and the  emotions that you and your partner experience from the E.D. He or she can also resource you with tips and techniques for making the most of your lovemaking, for you and your partner. Taking care of yourself emotionally and in your relationship can clear the way for your treatments and medications to work better. Remember to keep communicating with your partner, through words, touch, eye contact, and tech (such as texting each other during the work day). This develops your Heart Intimacy, the ability of a couple to communicate on a heart­to­heart level. Start thinking of sex as a head­to­toe full­body experience, for both partners. If there's any silver lining to the distressing problem of E.D., it's that it gives a man the opportunity to experience sexual touch that is more holistic less about the performance of the penis, and more about communication between two people who love each other. Support and help are available to address the problem of E.D.

© 2023 Judith Beebe. All rights reserved.
Did you know? Judith Beebe offers empathetic and effective psychotherapy in Princeton, NJ and by Skype. Read More →