Time To Deal With Erectile Dysfunction Part 2

Resolving erection problems part 2

But, having said that, some men are more susceptible to erectile dysfunction problems than others. Are you a worrier? Do small things trouble you? Do you brood on relationships, mull over what people have said and done to you? Or are you a happy-go-lucky kind of a guy, who doesn’t take anything too seriously and makes the best of everything?

The first group of men are the ones who are more likely to experience erectile failure. And if it’s the loss of your erection you’re worried about, you may find that both your anxiety about losing your erection and your erectile dysfunction itself rapidly get worse.

And what kinds of standards do you set yourself during sex? Do you like to do everything perfectly, to be in control, to lead from the front, as it were, while you partner remains more passive? Do you feel you bear the burden of giving her an orgasm, or making sure she gets her pleasure before you do?

This kind of perfectionism sets you up for failure. After all, one time when your penis lets you down is a major failure: you’ve let her down, you’ve let yourself down, and who knows if it will happen again? How can you (or your penis) ever be relied on again? You feel so bad about this that it can became a major issue in your relationship.

Then again, if you lack sexual experience, you may not have the confidence to know that actually, one episode of impotence isn’t a disaster. But if you don’t know this, and you come to sex with your anxiety uppermost in your mind……well, you can see what may well happen. Expectations are often fulfilled for us, especially when it concerns the erectile capacity of our penises.

But this can happen to us all, regardless of personality type, anxiety level or anything else. If you repeatedly experience the loss of your erection, and you don’t know why it’s happening to you, it doesn’t really matter if you’re twenty one years old or fifty one. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex with one woman or hundreds of women: in all cases of loss of erection you can rapidly develop a full-blown case of self-doubt and anxiety. That’s performance anxiety, as in “Will I ever be able to do it again?”

The impact of erectile dysfunction

We start from the assumption that you have a partner who’s on your side, who wants to help, and who is relaxed enough about sex to be able to take what comes up emotionally or practically when you get down to the business of working out where your erection has gone, and getting it back.

Erection problems are insidious. They can creep up on you without you knowing what’s going on – so one day you can get an erection and apparently the next you can’t: it’s one of the most mysterious things about this problem. Of course, in reality most erection problems come on much more slowly than that. And the ones that do come on suddenly are easier to solve, because they are often down to a single sexual failure which starts a train of anxiety and erection failure that continues to get worse each time you have sex (or try to).

Your partner is likely to want to talk about the failure of your erection. But because this is such a sensitive subject, set aside a time for the discussion in advance. The key is not to mention the subject when you are feeling threatened, perhaps by a sexual failure. And there are certain skills you need to employ as well: many men have told me that their partner has said something to do them like “Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter.” Well, not having a proper erection matters a huge amount, and to hear your partner say this may well give you not only a sense of loss and anger at your erectile dysfunction, but an additional sense that your partner has not heard you and is not supportive.

The style of communication you use when you talk about erection problems is crucial to the success of your discussion. A direct, straightforward style of communication is most likely to be constructive in resolving problems. It is not helpful to keep quiet, to be stoical, to avoid the subject through fear that you will be putting pressure on your partner, or to get too emotional about the subject.

This is of course all about letting your partner know that you care about her. The skill of active listening is essential here: this is about not just sitting there passively while your partner tells you what is going on for her, but about acknowledging by your responses and interjections that you are genuinely hearing what she is saying. 

Here are some clues that might help you identify what you are feeling: rejected, angry (Is this something to do with me?), depressed (I can’t cope with this), sexually frustrated (when am I ever going to have intercourse again?), anxious (will I ever be erect again?), suspicious (is he having an affair?), or embarrassed (how can we ever talk about something so personal and so sensitive?)

Would you like to work on the problem with me? Is there anything I can do to help?

The way to deal with resistance is to talk. But it’s got to be a discussion that suits you both. 

Advice for women: things not to say with a man with erectile dysfunction

Do not compare him with your previous lovers. This will always make things worse.

Do not encourage him during sex, or comment on his performance as you make love. This will just make him more anxious.

Never, ever, ever, be bitchy, mean or nasty about this: “You’re the only man who’s ever had this problem with me!” “Is that the best you can do?” You know the kind of thing!

Even if things like this are said in emotion, they are still destructive. Much better to say how you feel and and seek a way forward, or to tell him that you don’t like what he said and why not.

There’s often a period of time required for a man to accept his erectile dysfunction. This is a typical grief reaction – in this case to the loss of his maleness and manhood and all that might signify for him – youth, success, energy, desire, lust, his male sexuality even. Given time, most men adapt and begin to work on getting their erection back, but you may wish to consider if you are actually taking a strong enough line in the matter.

Finally, remember that it may not be so obvious to him that not having sex is upsetting you: he may not understand what his erection problem means to you unless you tell him.