ED as a couple

Erectile dysfunction is also referred to as ED. When facing this as a couple, it can be a challenge to your intimate relationship. ED occurs when a man cannot get or maintain an erection to sexually satisfy both partners. This can have devastating effects on both of you, particularly impacting on 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 important to know what the underlying causes can be in order to move forwards 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 had a tendency to attribute ED to psychological issues. Furthermore, in more mature men, they 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 the expectations of couples have changed and moved on. Now, there's an understanding that psychological issues aren't always to blame and, just because a man is maturing, he and his partner don't have to wave goodbye to a satisfying sex life as a result of to ED.

ED in more mature men

Going back to understanding the root causes behind ED in order 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 situations 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 about 50, psychological factors can take a back seat to 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 down to 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, the are multiple physical disorders and hormonal issues, as well as operations and medications that can cause ED problems.

Understanding the effect of some medications

When it comes down to 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 the way the nerves send signals to parts of the body. Some medications 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 have an effect on a man's erection, including alcohol and some illegal drugs.

Dealing with ED as a younger couple

In younger men, unless there's an obvious physical cause such as surgery, psychological issues can be the most common reason for ED, with anxiety and tension causing some men to have problems. Taking as a couple can really help to solve such issues to get to the root causes of why a man might be feeling 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 a notion of 'performance'
Psychological issues from childhood such as rejection by parents and peers or even sexual abuse.

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