ED as a couple

Erectile dysfunction is also referred to as ED. When facing this as a couple, it can challenge your intimate relationship. ED occurs when a man cannot get or maintain an erection to sexually satisfy both partners. This can devastate both of you, particularly impacting a man's self-esteem. However, it's heartening to know that almost all couples who discuss the issue and then go on to seek treatment will find a solution.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

When dealing with ED as a couple, it's essential to know the underlying causes to move forward with treatment. It's also important to understand that, as a couple, you can expect to receive sympathetic help and support for ED these days. It was only a few decades ago that health professionals tended to attribute ED to psychological issues. Furthermore, more mature men often put it down to the natural process of aging, almost expecting men and their partners to face up to the fact that nothing could be done.

However, medical opinions and couples' expectations have changed and moved on. Now, there's an understanding that psychological issues aren't always to blame and that just because a man matures, he and his partner don't have to wave goodbye to a satisfying sex life due to ED.

ED in more mature men

Going back to understanding the root causes behind ED to deal with it, it's vital to understand that arousal can take longer in a man as he ages. However, chronic erectile dysfunction isn't a situation that couples have to face for evermore. Indeed, it can now be treated through medical and psychological methods according to the need. Moreover, in men over 50, psychological factors can take a back seat to the physical causes of ED, which many urologists see as the root cause.

Since getting an erection mainly involves the blood vessels, unsurprisingly, the most frequent causes in more mature men are health conditions where blood flow to the penis is blocked. Certain illnesses can come into play here. Yet another vascular factor behind ED could be a faulty vein, causing the blood supply to leave the penis too quickly after flowing in. In fact, multiple physical disorders and hormonal issues, as well as operations and medications, can cause ED problems.

Understanding the effect of some medications

Regarding medications, many women and men take these today for increasingly common syndromes like depression, anxiety, blood pressure problems, heart conditions, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, etc. These medications can influence the vascular processes that generate an erection, which are, in turn, steered by the body's central nervous system.

Many prescription medications come with side effects, influencing how the nerves send signals to body parts. Some medicines tend to cause the worst side effects in this respect, such as stimulants or sedatives, antihistamines, diuretics, blood pressure tablets, and anti-depressants. However, nobody should stop taking these unless directed to do so by a qualified health practitioner. Also, substances and non-prescription drugs can affect a man's erection, including alcohol and some illegal drugs.

Dealing with ED as a younger couple

In younger men, psychological issues can be the most common reason for ED unless there's an apparent physical cause, such as surgery, with anxiety and tension causing some men to have problems. Taking as a couple can help solve such issues to get to the root causes of why a man might feel tense or anxious. Often, poor communication leads to difficulties with intimacy and sexual arousal. Possible reasons that a couple should look for and understand are:
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue and stress
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Personal sexual concerns and worries, e.g., the pressure of 'performance.'
Psychological issues from childhood include rejection by parents and peers or even sexual abuse.

Seeking help from a counselor or psychologist, together with your GP, will set you on the right path to finding a mental and physical solution.