If your partner is suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), you’ll know what a massive impact this can have on a man’s self-esteem and how it can negatively affect your sex life and relationship. While it’s not your sole responsibility to fix it, acting as a united front is ideal, as you’ll be able to overcome ED more quickly and effectively if there’s cooperation from both sides. So read on to discover 8 ways to help a partner with erectile dysfunction.
But first of all, let’s just remind ourselves of a few important things we should know about ED.
An occasional lack of erection is normal
Please note that if your partner can’t get an erection but it’s a one-off, it isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about. Stress, illness, taking a new medication or lack of sleep can all stop a man from having an erection. This is totally normal and happens from time to time. It’s only when this happens all the time or regularly that it becomes a problem.
Your partner’s erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with you
When your partner can’t get an erection, your first thought might be that it’s your fault, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t mean that he doesn't like you, that you've done something wrong, or that he's not turned on by you. It’s a health problem that can’t be fixed with any amount of lacy lingerie or sexy dancing.
Your partner should always see a doctor about ED
It’s really important to go to the doctor in the case of repeated erectile dysfunction, because it could indicate an underlying health problem. But try not to stress out about it. Think back to all those times you’ve googled why you have a headache and come to the conclusion you were dying. How often did it turn out to be caused by something minor like not drinking enough water or staring too long at a screen? It’s the same thing with erectile dysfunction – they’re probably not at death’s door, but it’s still good to get it checked out by a professional in case it’s a symptom of an underlying health condition that needs to be treated.
How to Help a Partner with Erectile Dysfunction
1. Ease the tension
Men usually feel very embarrassed and frustrated when they can’t get an erection, so the first thing to do is to ease the tension. Remaining calm and talking about it without embarrassment can go a long way to reassuring your partner that he’s loved and that his lack of erection is nothing to be ashamed about.
We know it can be hard to talk about ED, but even a few kind words can help. If you’re not sure what to say, how about something along the lines of "Hey, don’t worry, sometimes it happens. Why don’t we stop for a bit?" You could then suggest giving a massage, listening to a song, talking for a little…whatever it is that you would both enjoy. The important thing is to create a state of calm and relaxation and reduce any tension and awkwardness you might be feeling.
2. Don't pretend that nothing’s wrong if there’s clearly a problem
Obviously there may be times throughout the sexual encounter when his penis is harder or softer, but if you clearly see that he can't get an erection, talk to your partner about it with sympathy and understanding. Ignoring it will only make things more awkward.
3. Don’t blame him or make him feel bad about it
Erectile dysfunction is nobody’s fault. Making him feel bad isn’t constructive and could even lead to performance anxiety and him avoiding sex all together. Instead, express support, understanding, and encourage him to go to the doctor for tests. That way he can solve it and you can both go back to having satisfying sex as soon as possible.
4. Change your approach to sexuality for a while
If the fear of not getting an erection is putting him off having sex, take penetration out of the equation all together. You can find some inspiration here in these 5 non-penetrative sex ideas.
5. Don’t minimize the problem
Telling a man that his erectile dysfunction doesn't matter to you will make him feel like you don't miss intimacy with him and that you don't care. So whatever you do, don’t pretend that there’s no problem or that it's not important.
6. Remind him of all the positive things about your relationship
Remember that talking about ED could be painful and embarrassing for him. To build up his confidence, remind him of all the positive things about your relationship: the trust you have in each other, how you know you can manage to overcome difficult situations together, how attractive you find him and how much you love him. It’ll make a world of difference to his self-esteem when he’s in a difficult place.
7. Ask him directly what you could do to support him
If you want to know the best way to support him, just ask. Even if he’s unsure what you could do, he’ll be pleased that you’re taking an active interest and want to help.
8. Find the right moment
Don't blurt out how you feel in a moment of anger or despair. We recommend scheduling a moment alone, where you can talk calmly, in a relaxed atmosphere. Knowing your partner is key and you’ll know best if it’s better to talk about it when it happens or later in a totally different context.
Together you can overcome erectile dysfunction
We know tackling erectile dysfunction isn’t easy, but if you follow these tips, we’re confident you can help your partner overcome it and get back to enjoying sex. The very fact that you’re reading this article is proof you love your partner and want to help, which is a great start.
More resources to help your partner with erectile dysfunction
For more information about erectile dysfunction, as well as some practical exercises your partner can do to overcome it, listen to Emjoy’s audio collection all about ED.