How to Address Erectile Dysfunction With Your Significant Other

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a widespread form of sexual dysfunction, one that affects around 30 million men in the United States alone.

If you live with erectile dysfunction, the uncertainty around your sex life and abilities can be incredibly difficult to maneuver. However, you have a secret weapon that can help with weathering the storm, one that some people may not have access to—your partner.

When it comes down to it, your partner is one of the first people you'd call to share news of a promotion, a celebration in the family, and who you’d most likely want to spend dinner with on a Friday night.

If you’re open to sharing the good with them, keeping them in the loop of some not-as-great moments has to be on the table for your relationship to strengthen—especially when it comes to a matter that affects them directly.

However, because it can be a tricky subject to navigate, we’ll be sharing some information about erectile dysfunction, as well as the best ways to discuss this topic with your significant other.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a condition where getting and maintaining an erection firm enough for intercourse is persistently challenging.

This condition may be the result of problems with blood supply to the penis or issues with the endocrine (hormone-secreting) system. You could also struggle with erections if you live with a disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or multiple sclerosis.

Erections aren’t always a guaranteed part of the intimacy deal—everyone with a penis has those days where they don't become fully erect. However, this is perfectly normal and expected.

However, when you find that you are frequently finding it difficult to achieve and/or keep an erection when getting intimate, you could be dealing with erectile dysfunction.

In other cases, your erectile difficulties may be linked to fears of underperforming during sex, depression, or even low self-esteem.

Whatever may be responsible for your condition, the potential effects of erectile dysfunction on your sexual and physical well-being require professional attention and honest conversations to properly manage the condition.

How to Discuss Your Erectile Dysfunction With Your Partner

The first thing to acknowledge is how brave you are for sharing. This isn't always the easiest topic to discuss, so caring about your relationship and sex life enough to discuss it, is very commendable.

To carry out truly effective communication when speaking with your partner about erectile dysfunction, you can follow the guidelines below.

Find the Right Moment

When selecting a time to discuss your sexual life with your partner, careful consideration has to be made to ensure that it is done right. For example, you probably don’t want to spring it on them when they’re in the door following a long day at work. Likewise, blurting it out in public in full hearing of others may not be the most ideal way of broaching the topic to your lover.

Instead, catch them when they are relaxed and most likely to be extra receptive to your worries. This can do your discussion a lot of good. It could mean anything from broaching the subject while watching television together, on a walk with each other, or even over a shared dinner.

And while it might seem like an easy, almost self-explanatory move to bring up difficulties with erections while sex is happening, it may not always be the most suitable environment. Waiting until after sex to discuss any issues could be another right moment to bring the topic up. 

Break the Ice Gently

Now that you’ve found the right moment to talk, getting the right words to come out of your mouth could be another challenge to overcome.

An easy way to get over this is to introduce the topic gently by first assuring your partner of your love for them, as well as your unwavering attraction to their physical, mental, and other attributes.

This can help to reassure them that any challenges with erections are not due to shortcomings on their part, but are owed to circumstances beyond your control. 

After giving your assurance, the next step is to ease into your sex life. Speak generally about the things you enjoy, perhaps taking care to include memorable moments together, before working your way to the topic.

Acknowledge the Issue

When you’ve worked your way to the topic of your sex life, you can now highlight certain sessions where it was difficult to get into the swing of things during sex. Again, you can use this opportunity to assure your partner of your undivided interest in sex with them at each moment, but how despite this—you found it difficult to achieve and maintain your erection.

At this point, you may want to take a pause to let them speak and share their feelings about what has been going on in your sex life.

At every point, this conversation should allow for both of you to interact and share your feelings. This will allow for an open, honest conversation.

Avoid Assigning Blame

One of the big don’ts when it comes to sharing your condition with your partner is laying the blame for your difficulties on any one person.

As you already know, it would be wrong and inaccurate to condemn your significant other for your dysfunction. But just as easily, assigning the blame to yourself, either because you consider this issue as a sign of weakness, or one you should have been able to overcome would be cruel to yourself.

Erectile dysfunction may be caused by diseases, a shortage of blood supply, or mental challenges you are presently unable to get a hold on. Neither of you should take the fall for its appearance during intimate moments.

Speak on Next Steps

Following the discussion with your partner about this issue, allow room for questions and joint comfort.

After this, the next thing on the agenda is sharing moves you are considering to get the condition under control. You may choose to make this a team effort where both of you research and share possible treatment options together.

Alternatively, you may ask their thoughts on management possibilities you’ve already come across, noting their opinion on their effects and chances of success. It’s important to carry your partner along in your journey to getting this dysfunction in check.

Thankfully, there are multiple treatment methods you can both consider to help with jumpstarting your sex life again. 

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

There are different ways to get this condition under control. They include:

  • Medication
  • Injectable medicines and suppositories
  • Vacuum device

Medication

  • Viagra
  • Cialis
  • Stendra
  • Levitra


These drugs help to relax the muscles of the penis, allowing for increased blood flow following sexual stimulation.

Injectable Medicines and Suppositories

Men can achieve stronger erections by injecting a prescribed medication into their penises. This helps it to fill with blood. Likewise, suppositories may be inserted into the urethra, following which erections can form shortly after.

Vacuum Device

This device is inserted into the penis to encourage blood to be pulled into it. This action helps to cause erections strong enough to engage in intercourse.

A Word From Verywell

One of the most challenging circumstances a person with a penis can face in their sex life is erectile function. But almost as hard as living with erectile dysfunction is having to talk through it. However, with a partner in the picture, this discussion is required to happen—not only to clarify things in your sexual lives but to bring you closer as a couple.

Speaking about erectile dysfunction with your partner should be done in the right atmosphere, using comforting discussions to get the message across.

This dysfunction doesn’t have to signal the end of your sex life. With your partner’s love and support, combined with the right treatment methods, it can be managed appropriately.

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2 Sources
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  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Definition & Facts for Erectile Dysfunction. Updated July 2017.

  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. Updated July 2017.