How To Deal With Erectile Dysfunction In A Relationship

Relationships take work, and when problems develop with either of the partners, it can lead to complications over the long term.

Aside from money, researchers have found that sex is a common reason for relationship issues.

The well-being of relationships generally depends on a balance – and this usually includes sexual intercourse.

Sex is known to yield an effective bonding experience for two partners and brings about additional benefits.

Sexual intercourse also plays a role in reproduction, as most couples attempt to become pregnant naturally. 

Among men, a common sexual problem is erectile dysfunction. The development of this condition can result in concern in the man and his partner.

Learning how to deal with erectile dysfunction in a relationship is essential. This can help avoid conflict, anger, and other emotions that could damage the relationship.   

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a relatively common sexual condition among the male population. The condition interferes with a man’s ability to have sexual intercourse. While the condition is more prevalent among older men, there are cases where a younger audience is affected too. 

Studies have determined the prevalence of the condition. One study found that the condition is more prevalent than previously thought. This may be due to a more significant number of men visiting a doctor when they experience signs of ED.

In this study, researchers found that an estimated 18.4% of men over 20 years have some level of erectile dysfunction. In the United States, about 18 million men have symptoms associated with this sexual dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a condition that affects a man’s erections, and the ability to gain a fully erect penis is disrupted.

A man may still be able to achieve an erection in some cases but finds that his penis is not rigid enough to penetrate his sexual partner.

Some men gain a full erection but can only hold the rigid state of their penis for a short period – generally not long enough for sex to be pleasurable for him or his partner. 

Understanding How Your Partner May Be Feeling

First of all, people need to realize that ED and other sexual dysfunctions do not mean they cannot have sex anymore. In fact, there are millions of men living with erectile dysfunction. A large number of these men receive treatment and can still have sex. 

Open communication and an understanding between two partners are primary factors that can help the couple get through a rough time. A sexual relationship depends on a certain amount of sex.

A man’s sexual partner may experience several feelings when the individual faces erectile dysfunction – and these feelings may be worse when there is no communication between the two. 

Thus, it is crucial to understand how a partner feels when faced with ED symptoms. The man affected by ED should also have an understanding of how their partner feels in the situation. 

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How Does ED Affect Relationships?

Studies have found that sex is an integral part of healthy relationships. Even among older couples, many continue to enjoy sexual activities within their relationship. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that erectile dysfunction could result in relationship problems. 

How ED affects a relationship varies from one couple to the next. Whether or not the couple had talked about ED also affects the severity of these effects.

In relationships where a man has ED but fails to talk about it to the partner, insecurities are likely to develop. This could affect the sexual performance of both partners in the end.

Since this condition is sometimes linked to an underlying health issue, a medical emergency may happen unexpectedly when no actions are taken.

Men who try to hide the fact that they have ED will often not notify their partner of a potential health problem. They could also refrain from obtaining treatment – which means both the erectile dysfunction symptoms and underlying health problems could become worse over time. 

The sex life of both partners can suffer in the process too. In fact, there are many cases where ED in a relationship causes the two partners to stop having sex altogether. 

How To Discuss Erectile Dysfunction With Your Partner

One of the significant problems with erectile dysfunction in a relationship is that men often feel embarrassed. This is why a lot of men avoid talking about their ED symptoms with a partner. Unfortunately, this is also a reason for troubles to develop. 

Men should learn how they can discuss their sexual dysfunction with their partner. If there are other problems the man experiences, such as premature ejaculation, they should discuss this with the partner too. 

Below, we will share a few tips to help men talk to their partner about the erectile problems they experience. 

Be calm when talking about this topic

It is common for a man to feel a bit insecure and even embarrassed while discussing erectile dysfunction. This can make the man quickly jump to the wrong conclusions if their partner comments. When this happens, it can cause a misunderstanding and even spark an argument. 

Explain How You Feel

A lot of men try to avoid talking about their feelings. When talking about erectile dysfunction, it is important for a man to open up about how they feel and how the condition is affecting them. 

Understand the causes of ed

It is crucial to ensure the partner understands that there are possible reasons behind erectile dysfunction. There are many cases where a partner may feel unattractive if a man cannot get an erection. The patient should ensure they reassure their partner that they are still attracted to them. 

Keep An Open Mind

The man with ED should make sure they are open-minded when talking to their partner. The partner should be allowed to speak too. Remember that ED might affect one person, but it is a condition that impacts the entire relationship. 

Be Involved

When talking to a partner about ED, a man should try to make them more involved in the treatment process. The partner might want to join the man when they visit a psychologist, for example. This may be a good idea when relationship problems are the reason for erectile dysfunction. 

Treatment For Impotence

There are various treatments to help men with impotence experience improvements in their erectile function.

The specific ED treatment provided to a man depends on several factors. This is why an appointment with a doctor is important.

A doctor needs to assess the patient and determine the possible reason for the erectile dysfunction symptoms. 

Addressing Underlying Conditions

There are physical and psychological causes associated with erectile dysfunction. In terms of physical causes, the patient may be advised to undergo further tests.

The doctor may suspect heart disease as an underlying condition, for example. Low testosterone levels can interfere with erectile function too. Thus, if a doctor suspects the man’s testosterone levels may be too low, they will collect blood samples and send them to a laboratory for testing. 

If the doctor detects an underlying condition contributing to the poor sexual function in the patient, they will address this disease as part of the erectile dysfunction treatment program. When the underlying condition is treated, sexual activity may improve.

In terms of psychological causes, a doctor may advise the patient to see a therapist. Sex therapy is also a possible treatment, especially if relationship issues are causing the patient to experience ED symptoms. 

Using ED Medication

Apart from these, there are also specific drugs to help men with weak erections. These drugs are classified as PDE5 inhibitors. Viagra is considered one of the most commonly prescribed erectile dysfunction drugs.

The drug helps to improve erectile function for a few hours after consumption. While stimulation is still needed, the man will gain an erection faster with sexual intimacy. 

Alternative medication to Viagra also exists. Examples include Tadalafil, Verdenafil, and Avanafil. Tadalafil is a common alternative, which men usually find under the brand name “Cialis.” 

Certain treatments can also directly affect erectile function. Men who find the use of PDE5 inhibitors do not produce effective results sometimes use a penile implant. This is mainly a last-line treatment but can yield effective results if all other treatments fail to work. 

Prescription Changes

There are times where medication prescribed to a male patient may contribute to weaker erections. In these scenarios, a doctor may change the patient’s prescription to see if that helps to improve erectile function. 

A few examples of OTC and prescription drugs associated with a higher risk of ED include:

  • Certain antidepressants

  • Psychiatric medications

  • Antihistamines

  • Diuretics

  • Medicine used to treat high blood pressure

  • Drugs that treat Parkinson’s disease

  • Chemotherapy drugs

  • Certain medications that treat hormone-related conditions

Apart from these, the doctor will likely ask the patient about over-the-counter drugs they take. Certain opiate analgesics can interfere with a man’s sexual functions. Codeine is a good example.

A doctor can also suggest the man make specific lifestyle changes. Losing weight in obesity can lower cardiovascular risk factors – which could improve blood flow to the penis.

A man can also reduce their alcohol consumption and avoid recreational drugs, such as heroin, barbiturates, amphetamines, and cocaine. 

Tips For Sex With ED

Apart from talking about ED and obtaining appropriate treatments, there are additional methods that can improve stimulation. Many of these methods yield stronger erections in men who have problems with their erectile function. 

One of the most important tips is to ensure the man is relaxed when engaging in sexual activity. Stress is a risk factor for weak erections. When the man is stressed, ED symptoms may be worse.

Communication is also a key to improving a man’s sex life if he experiences these symptoms. The man should communicate with his partner and work around the troubles that they face. 

How to create a spark and have a healthier sex life

  • Experiencing life together is essential. A man should try to make more time for his partner. Do fun things together. Bonding is a great way to improve attraction in the relationship – which could yield enhanced sexual performance. 

  • Foreplay is also important, especially for men who have trouble getting an erection. Foreplay helps to create initial sexual stimulation. It also helps the man take his mind off getting an erection and ensures he can focus on his partner. 

  • Trying new things out in the bedroom is also a great way for men to boost their performance and function. 

  • Men should ensure they take medication, such as Viagra, at appropriate times. You should take the drug about 30 minutes to one hour before sex. Its effects only last a few hours, so it is important to engage within this time. If this is not a sufficient duration, you can consider an alternative like Cialis. These drugs also work within an hour, but the effects can help the man achieve stronger erections for 72 hours. 


An erection problem can wreak havoc in a relationship when two partners do not openly talk about the issue on hand.

In addition to this sexual dysfunction, men may also experience ejaculatory problems when they have erectile dysfunction.

High blood pressure, poor blood flow, and mental health problems are often the reasons behind ED.

Talking about the problem helps to reduce tension and conflict in a relationship, but men should also ensure they do not ignore the erection problem.

It is sometimes one of the risk factors for heart disease and may help to ensure early treatment for underlying conditions. 

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  3. Razdan S, Greer AB, Patel A, Alameddine M, Jue JS, Ramasamy R. (2018) Effect of prescription medications on erectile dysfunction. Postgrad Med J. Available at:
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