Every relationship has its ups and downs. But when it comes to sexual matters, what’s up and what’s down can be a problem, both figuratively and literally. This is especially true if erectile dysfunction enters the picture.
Sure, partners can disagree or blame each other for all sorts of problems they encounter, including matters large and small. But loving bonds can sometimes be stretched to the breaking point when it comes to bedroom issues.
Relationships that work best are those in which couples can search for solutions together. Often that entails facing facts that might be difficult to confront. Who is to blame for the flame that flickers or worse that’s been extinguished? Is the romance gone cold? Or is it simply a physical thing.
Can sexual dysfunction be fixed? If it’s E.D., treatment options abound.
What About Sex Therapy?
“Sex therapy can help some couples, married or dating, address sexual problems together. ED can often be the reason why sex stops in a relationship, causing stress to the relationship or marriage — sex therapy can help with this. ED is usually physical in nature but about 10-15% of cases can be emotionally/psychologically based.
Sex therapy attempts to understand the couple’s relationship dynamics and sexual script both as a couple and individually, explains Dr. Raymond Zakhari, a psychiatric nurse practitioner in NYC who specializes in sex therapy and men’s health.”
“Sex therapy can help couples:
- Identify the root causes of ED, alleviating confusion and concern.
- Understand what works for each partner’s arousal preferences and needs.
- Improve communication around sex and how they talk about sex as a couple.
- Learn breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and/or sexual anatomy.
- Change how you show desire and affection, beyond sex.”
“Sex therapy for ED may (or may not) include:
- Investigating body-mind ‘connectedness’ and ‘interoceptive’ awareness
- Cultivating mind/body skills to manage anxiety and source inside of oneself (and between experiences created with a partner) for arousal and ejaculatory control
- Evaluating if one is depending on being a viewer of erotic sources for sexual arousal, like pornography
- Increasing understanding if masturbation habits that shape sexual arousal may not be conducive to arousal or functioning with a partner
- Assessing whether one is viewing sexuality as a “performance” and is very orgasm-focused, rather than an embodied experience where arousal and erections are free to ebb, flow, wax or wane
- Identifying relational communication problems.” *
It Takes Two.
“It’s always “someone’s fault” when couples argue – perhaps that’s why arguments begin in the first place. One blames the other for something, the other disagrees and things escalate from there. Add a sex-related issue to the mix and it quickly becomes an emotional situation.
When a relationship is affected by erectile dysfunction it’s easy to wonder whose fault it is; who is to blame for an organ that simply won’t perform, or a sex life that isn’t satisfying?
Erectile dysfunction is thought to be the cause of break ups in around a significant proportion of relationships. Here we explore the concept of blame and how to overcome it.”
Don’t Blame Yourself
“Few things are worse for your self-esteem than realizing you cannot get or maintain an erection. The first hurdle is to avoid blaming yourself.
Just about one third of men seek help or advice when suffering from ED, but you don’t have to be part of the minority. A medical examination can help get to the root of the issue, so before you try to self-diagnose or blame yourself, why not get help?
Your GP can interview you and order testing to help find the root cause of your ED. If recommended, you may need to go for a psychological evaluation as well. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a combination of factors. Even psychological ED often has an underlying physical cause.
You will want to consider whether you have any habits that could affect your ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Smoking, drinking and illegal drugs are among the factors that can have a detrimental effect on blood flow to the penis.”
It’s not your partner’s fault
“Before receiving a proper diagnosis, some men blame their partners for their inability to perform. Without the right knowledge of possible causes, it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that you’re just not interested in that person anymore; or they are not doing the right things. However, if you still feel attracted and connected to your partner, you can safely assume that lack of interest is not the cause of your ED.
The way your penis responds during intimacy is not a compass for your desire. If you are happy to engage in sexual relations with the person but are unable to achieve an erection, it will be for another reason.” **
Basically, if anyone is to blame, it might just be Mother Nature. About 90% of cases of ED are caused by physical factors, classified as vascular (related to blood flow) and non-vascular diseases. It is estimated that 70% of all ED cases may be attributable to vascular diseases alone.
E.D. is highly age-dependent, as the combined prevalence of moderate to complete erectile dysfunction rises from approximately 22% at age 40, to 49% by age 70. Although less common in younger men, erectile dysfunction still affects 5%-10% of men below the age of 40.
ED is more than just a sexual problem. A fulfilling sex life can lead to greater satisfaction in many other aspects of life, including social, family and work environments.