"At first you think,oh,you're getting older and slowing down.But it got to the point where it was really bothering him,and he was unable to havesexwithout the drugs," says Anne,who asked that we use her middle name only,
He is far from alone.Some 18% of all men in the U.S.have ED,and the odds of developing it increase sharply after age 40.
Having a partner with ED can be difficult to deal with,but think of it from his perspective."We as women cannot even imagine how frustrating it is for them -- at least,that's what my husband tells me," says Anne.
Get to the Root of ED
Although it can feel personal,you shouldn't blame yourself for your partner'serectile dysfunction.It usually has a combination of causes -- and,experts say,you probably are not one of them.
"It's pretty rare for the source of ED to be the person that he's havingsexwith," explains sex and relationship expert Ian Kerner,PhD.
"Some women will feel like,‘He's not attracted to me,he's not into me,or he's bored by me.' And that's really relatively rare compared to the other more likely factors."
In older men,bloodvessel problems tend to be the main reason for ED.In fact,since the blood vessels in thepenisare smaller than those in theheart,heart diseasemay show up in thepenisfirst.Eighty percent of men who land in the ER with a firstheart attacksay they developed ED at some point in the 3 years before,says Daniel Shoskes,MD.He is a professor of urology at Cleveland Clinic.
If pills don't do the trick,there are other options,including vacuum pumps,injections that the man gives himself,and implanted devices.If you have aheart disease,though,these medications may not be right for you.Talk to your doctor.
In some cases,frequentmasturbationmay cause a man to be unable to perform with a partner.
What You Can Do
These six suggestions can make it easier to cope with your partner's ED.
1.Try something new."Very often a big,big first step is just enhancing arousal," says Kerner.This can mean ramping up foreplay,reading or watching something sexy together,or coming up with a suggestion for something you haven't tried before,says Kerner.
2.Take the pressure off.Take the emphasis off the penis,says Kerner,and "try something else for a little bit of time." That can include oral sex,sex toys,and a vibrator,he says."Try putting his hand on the vibrator and showing him exactly what feels good."
3.Have a conversation.Start with your own feelings about the situation,and be empathetic,says Kerner.
4.Go with your guy to the doctor."The patients who are the most successful are those where the sexual partner is a true partner," says Shoskes."If the woman can come in,that's a huge help."
5.Have patience with pills.These drugs work,but erections don't happen on command.
6.Encourage him to get heart-healthy."Good heart and vascular health ends up being good penis health," says Shoskes."It may not reverse erection problems that are there already,but it certainly may reduce their progression."