Often known as just ‘ED’, erectile dysfunction can affect men of all ages. It’s related to the circulatory and nervous system but can also have psychological causes. Men can have ED following a surgery, or as the side effect of an illness, but it can also happen during emotionally disturbing times of life. Sometimes performance anxiety can become such a vicious cycle of self-doubt and nervousness that it is impossible to achieve an erection.
Despite its many possible causes, ED can have very similar negative effects on both the sufferer and his partner. The man with the problem can feel frustration, failure, and disappointment, while his partner feels unwanted and unattractive. Both of you can lose confidence and feel stressed, and without the right approach ED can even cause a breakup.
But by simplifying the nature of the condition we can give you the framework to deal with this sensitive condition and help you regain a satisfying sex life.
Stop – You are Not to Blame
Just like many other illnesses, ED is not something you have control over. Try not to blame yourself for not being able to perform. Instead, it’s best to shift that energy over to finding out the cause of your ED and searching for a solution.
Take Heart – There is Treatment
Treatment for ED ranges from psychological counselling to lifestyle changes to the famous little blue pill, and in many cases the condition can be addressed effectively. By committing fully to your treatment plan you will give yourself the best chance of success.
Observe your ED
When you seek treatment it will be important to explain to your GP when and how you experience ED. Note the details of when it occurs (before or during intercourse, after consuming alcohol, after taking a certain medication, when you are feeling anxious, etc.) and also how it makes you feel.
Visit your GP
-Or approach your nurse or health visitor, tell your therapist or log onto a regulated online pharmacy for a consultation. Come out of the shadows about the condition, keeping in mind that ED is common among many men. You may be sent for further testing or counselling to determine the exact cause. ED can also be a symptom of an underlying condition that affects the circulation or nervous system, so it is important for every man who experiences it to seek medical attention.
Don’t give up if the first doctor you speak with isn’t able to provide you with a satisfactory diagnosis. Try again, or go online if you prefer to discuss the condition by email. Once you get to the root of the issue you can begin to follow a treatment plan.
Try to be open to the treatment prescribed, even if it means a significant lifestyle change. It isn’t always as easy as popping a pill before sex. You may be asked to change your diet, engage in more exercise or stop drinking entirely or cut down. Smoking is also a significant factor contributing to ED, so you may have to commit to kicking the habit in order to see results.
Even when taking prescribed ED medication the results may not be instantaneous. Follow the doctor’s orders to ensure you take the medication a certain amount of time before attempting intercourse, keeping in mind that sexual stimulation is still required to achieve an erection.
Keep Talking – Laugh if you can
Communicate with your partner as much as possible to make the process less stressful. You’ll both need to collaborate to make things ‘work’, and maintaining a sense of humour about it all will help to take the edge off. Open, honest communication is key to alleviating all that unhelpful pressure and anxiety, and as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.
If the condition has caused you to grow apart as a couple, which happens often, consider how you may be able to rekindle your flame. You may try couples counselling or just take small steps towards physical intimacy. Often hugging, holding, kissing and touching can help you become reacquainted with each other after long periods of little contact.
Feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and depression are normal with ED, but taking a practical approach to it can make it much more manageable than you might ever have thought possible. Have a look at these simple steps to help you take control of the condition and, ultimately, get your sex life back.