Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem. However, it does not mean that a person dealing with ED cannot be in a relationship. A relationship can be fulfilling even if someone is dealing with ED while trying to maintain a happy sex life. But there is a question that many people in a relationship may ask: how to pleasure a man with erectile dysfunction? 

There are various ways to deal with erectile dysfunction while also being in a relationship. Consulting a counselor, urologist, or sex therapist, or even talking with other couples/individuals in a similar situation could also be helpful. It is important to remember that the partner of the person dealing with ED will also have to take care of their mental health and deal with the difficulties that may arise due to the condition.

ED could often be mistaken as a lack of attraction, or there may be feelings of guilt arising due to the situation that may hamper the relationship. It is very important to differentiate between a lack of sexual attraction and the lack of an erection brought about by a health condition. ED can often affect the mental state of the patient as well, making sex seem undesirable. 

What is ED, and how does it affect relationships?

ED is a condition that can lead to a person’s mental health being impacted. It causes difficulty in obtaining or maintaining an erection, which is crucial for some forms of sexual activity, including sexual intercourse.

Occasional difficulty in getting an erection is not unusual, but when it happens frequently, it may signal an underlying health condition. Some of the risk factors for ED listed by Planned Parenthood include mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression, certain medications, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney or liver disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, low testosterone levels, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

The severity of symptoms may vary, but individuals with ED may find that they are unable to engage in sexual intercourse as frequently or for as long as they once did, or in some cases, not at all. As sexual intimacy is an essential aspect of a long-term relationship or marriage, this change can cause feelings of anxiety or loss for both partners. A small-scale study conducted in Iran in 2014 found that males with ED experienced feelings of depression, anger, social isolation, low self-confidence, and avoidance of their partner.

Moreover, ED also affects the mental health of a person’s partner. According to a review conducted in 2016, ED can lead to feelings of confusion, anxiety, and undesirability for a person’s partner, as well as suspicion that their partner may be unfaithful. These feelings can cause strain on a relationship. Additionally, shame or stigma associated with ED can make it difficult for partners to discuss the issue openly.

How to deal with erectile dysfunction in a relationship or marriage?

Managing ED in a marriage or long-term relationship involves exploring various treatment options, as this condition is often treatable. By seeking medical advice, couples can receive expert guidance and access effective treatments to restore sexual function, leading to improved relationship satisfaction. It is advisable for both partners to attend appointments to discuss possible treatment options.

However, it is essential to recognize that trying different treatments may be necessary before finding a suitable one. During this period, it is crucial for the partner to be understanding, supportive, and compassionate. In a study, it was found that 94% of men dealing with ED felt that their partner’s support was critical.

Effective strategies to consider include open communication, counseling, other forms of intimacy, and lifestyle changes. By employing these approaches, couples can work together to overcome the challenges of ED and maintain a fulfilling relationship.

Things to keep in mind for couples dealing with ED

2. Things to keep in mind for couples dealing with ED

While the question of how to have sex with ED is a common one, there are a few other concerns that need to be addressed. These things are important to remember when trying to communicate with your partner about your experience with ED.

  1. No one is at fault: Your partner must understand the nature of ED as a medical condition that can be treated rather than a response that indicates a lack of attraction. The person who has ED must also not blame themself for having a condition they cannot control. No apologies need to be made as the condition itself is no one’s fault. 
  2. ED is not related to attraction: The failure to get an erection due to ED has nothing to do with being, or not being, turned on. Erectile dysfunction cannot be cured by anyone as attraction or lust is not the cause behind ED. While changing sexual habits could bring about excitement in the relationship, that in itself cannot ensure that ED is cured. Making love with ED can be challenging as it may give the partner incorrect ideas about the man not being attracted to them.
  3. ED is a common disease: Keep in mind that multiple couples are dealing with ED. It is a very common condition that can manifest in various degrees. Although the intensity of the condition may vary from person to person, it is estimated that almost half of the men in the USA experience ED at some point in their lives. It becomes even more common with age. 
  4. It is not incurable: ED does not have to define someone’s relationship, nor is it a problem that can never be solved. How to help a man with ED? Sex therapists, relationship counselors, psychologists, and many other people have various ways of dealing with the factors that can cause ED. There are medications available to aid sexual activity for men who have ED, such as Sildenafil, Tadalafil, and Vardenafil, and there are various lifestyle changes (such as reduction in alcohol consumption) that can be implemented to further reduce the chances of having ED. 

Importance of communication

Even in relationships where no one is struggling with ED, communication is key. In the case of you or your partner coping with ED while attempting to have sex, communication is the most important factor. Lack of communication in such circumstances could lead to unaddressed feelings of guilt or insecurity that would make it even more difficult to have a satisfying relationship. Discussing your needs and desires, as well as the things that are off-limits or incite negative reactions, all contribute to healthy sex life. 

Any feelings of guilt or embarrassment will also go away once proper communication is established. While the idea may not seem appealing, a lack of communication would just lead to even more distance and a reduction in levels of intimacy. Attempting sex without an erection can also result in your partner thinking that they are being rejected affection, leading to further misunderstandings. 

ED does not make anyone less masculine, and such stereotypical notions can only further increase the strain on a relationship. Two people in a relationship must also prioritize their health and mental well-being over sex, as the former is more important. Communication can only work if both parties are willing to work through the issues that may come up due to erectile dysfunction and sex. 

Dealing with stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be one of the triggers behind ED. The fear or worry surrounding intercourse leads to a lack of enjoyment, thus leading to even more anxiety when attempting sex with erectile dysfunction. It is important not to focus too much on ED during intimate moments. Your partner may also wonder how to satisfy a man with ED, and being unable to do so could stress them out.

Breathing techniques and meditation can help calm any stressful thoughts, along with touch-related activities such as massages. Thinking about the worst-case scenario does not help maintain a relaxed mindset during sex and creates unnecessary stress. This can also lead to ejaculating sooner than expected, which may further lead to causing a problem known as premature ejaculation (PE). While PE is something that can be dealt with with the help of SSRIs such as Poxet 60 mg, Super P Force, etc., it is something that adds that unnecessary burden on one’s shoulders.

Sex and ED are not topics that are easily brought up in a conversation. It is also important to recognize that sexual activities are only one aspect of a relationship, and they need not always be penetrative. The goal is to have a fun, relaxing time with your partner, and there are ways to achieve that while also keeping the anxiety at bay. Strengthening the relationship in its other aspects could also lead to a more enjoyable sex life. 

Try new things

3. Try new things

Keeping things new and exciting in a relationship is difficult as time passes by. For married couples, many may be concerned about how to help husbands with ED. One way to find the fun again in your relationship while dealing with ED is to rediscover the joys of being in a relationship.

Taking your mind off of the stress and fear of sexual intercourse and just enjoying any time that is spent with your partner can be a rewarding experience. Frequent touches and foreplay can help remove anxious thoughts and make intercourse enjoyable again. One may wonder how to please a man with ED, but it is not necessary to maintain an erection throughout in order to have an orgasm. It is possible to orgasm without having a firm erection. 

How to stimulate a man with ED? Stimulation does not have to be limited to penetrative sex, foreplay, and mutual masturbation. Using sex toys can also provide fun and sexual satisfaction. 

Lifestyle changes 

Various day-to-day habits can lead to erectile dysfunction. Taking care to break these habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle is an essential part of managing ED. It can be difficult to figure out how to make a man with ED hard. The partner of a person dealing with ED could also take part in these lifestyle changes, or aid the efforts being made to bring about these changes.

  1. Quitting smoking, not using any illegal drugs, or indulging in excessive drinking can greatly reduce the chances of ED. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc can all have a negative impact on a person’s sexual life.
  2. Medications can also contribute to erectile dysfunction due to any side effects they may produce. The medications which most commonly tend to produce such side effects are ones related to blood pressure, antidepressants, or painkillers. If you suspect that an ongoing treatment could be leading to ED, consult with a medical professional to look for alternatives. However, do not stop the treatment without speaking
  3. Weight is also a factor to be considered in the case of ED. Obesity can lead to ED in multiple men. Getting rid of any excess weight that is causing health problems could also result in better sexual health.
  4. Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that exercise could lead to reduced chances of developing ED. A calorie-restriction diet plan could also result in the successful treatment of ED. Regular exercise can thus lead to healthier sex life. Pelvic exercises such as the Kegel exercises could also help with ED and problems in the urinary tract.

Counseling and support from partner

4. Counseling and support from partner

Speaking up whenever help is needed is better than not admitting that there exists a problem. Professionals such as sex therapists or counselors are trained to deal with such scenarios, and they can help couples work through all their troubles and suggest ways to work around ED. To communicate a problem related to sexual health can be embarrassing. In a married relationship, such conversations can become very essential as your partner may also be wondering, “My husband had ED how do I cope?” 

Having a free and healthy system of communication can reduce the burden that ED places on a relationship. 

Attending counseling sessions individually will be a more private experience, thus making it easier to talk to a professional without any fear of judgment or feelings of embarrassment. It is likely that if a urologist thinks ED in a patient is a result of mental health issues, they will ask you to seek counseling or therapy. However, couples counseling can also have its own benefits. The majority of men find it easier to deal with stress-based ED if their partner also attends the sessions with them. Attending counseling sessions with your partner could also further improve communication and inspire more transparency in the relationship.

Final Thoughts

ED can pose challenges for both partners in a marriage or long-term relationship, but there are effective treatments that can be pursued. Support from a partner can play a key role in the treatment process, and seeking guidance from a couples counselor may also be helpful. By fostering open communication and exploring alternative ways to connect, couples can work towards maintaining or regaining intimacy and closeness.


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