Sexuality, like other parts of our lives, is strongly influenced by our daily routine. Ups and downs happen to the best of us, and that includes times when a man can find it difficult to perform sexually. But when the problem is persistent, it could be a case of erectile dysfunction. What can you do when your man’s erection goes missing in action? Here are some solutions, plus answers to frequently asked questions about the disorder.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Characterized by the total absence of an erection, or an erection insufficient for penetration, erectile dysfunction or male impotence can be either chronic—when a man has always experienced this difficulty—or can develop suddenly, without any prior history.
Male impotence becomes erectile dysfunction when the problem is recurring, and negatively affects his quality of life. Erectile problems are common among Canadian men over the age of 40; approximately half will experience it at some moment in their lives. But the problem can strike men at any age.
What are the causes?
This category covers all pathological problems that damage the proper functioning of the arteries that bring blood directly to the penis. Smoking is an excellent example, as it reduces blood circulation in the genital region, as does alcohol and drug abuse.
Disorders like hypertension, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, as well as taking antidepressants, can triple the risks of erectile dysfunction. Age is also a factor—once a man reaches the age of 50 his testosterone levels decline. This decrease can lead to a lowering of the libido and reduction of muscle mass, causing erection problems.
According to a number of sexologists, performance anxiety is often at fault. The simple fact of anticipating difficulty before sexual relations can put a damper on any erection. The man only focuses on his capacity to achieve an erection, as opposed to overall pleasure. Plus, anxiety, stress, fatigue and depression can put the brakes on an erection. Not easy to enjoy yourself in bed with so such a heavy head (no pun indented). The same difficulty can occur if a couple is experiencing problems.
What can you do?
As soon as you notice a recurring problem, talk to your partner; don’t pretend there’s nothing wrong. Try to downplay the situation and don’t show any sign of impatience or dissatisfaction. It’s important to find the right words to reassure him that sexuality doesn’t begin and end with penetration and you still enjoy being intimate with him. Together, you can find another way of approaching the preliminaries without being undone by stress each time. For example, give him a sensual message that will help him relax and explore his erogenous zones and new sensations.
If it continues…
If the problem persists after eight weeks or so, ask him to consider consulting a specialist—the disorder should not go untreated. Only 25% of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction consult a doctor, which is a shame, because the problem is often easily remedied. To get your guy to go, tell him he’s not the first or last to experience this difficulty, and that there’s no shortage of simple and effective treatments. The doctor will be able to determine if the cause is psychological or physiological, and suggest an appropriate cure.
If the problem is psychological
Erectile dysfunction can be resolved with the aid of a sexologist, who can help get to the root of the problem. A lot of love, patience and understanding on your part can be effective remedies if the trouble is psychological.
If the problem is physiological
The doctor will most likely suggest medication such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. These drugs relax the muscle at the base of penis, to encourage blood flow in this region. The doctor may also suggest genital prosthesis such as a pump or implants. However, this technique requires surgical intervention and is usually used only as a last resort.
Erectile dysfunction can be a challenging test for any couple. Remember to support your partner without neglecting your own well-being. Throughout the healing process, it’s important not to question your femininity or your partner’s love for you. Be there for each other and clearly communicate your emotions, you’ll be able to get past this difficulty together and be stronger for it.