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You’ve seen it in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and probably even laughed over Ayushmann Khurrana’s helpless state in the movie and joked about it later on. But now that it’s affecting you and your relationship, you know the graveness of the situation and that it’s far from being something to laugh about.
We’re talking about the issue of erectile dysfunction in men. Defined as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection adequate for satisfactory sexual activity in a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual disorder in men after premature ejaculation.
Hence, if your partner suffers from it, you’ve got to know that you’re not alone in this situation.
How can it impact your relationship?
“Erectile dysfunction can lead to severe conflict in relationships leading to fights between the couple. If families get involved, it can cause even more humiliation and further damage to the situation. Many marriages fall apart if it is not handled properly,” says Dr Preeti Singh, senior consultant, clinical psychology and psychotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
She adds that erectile dysfunction can cause anxiety during or before sexual activity and lead to them avoiding sex in men. On the other hand, it can lead to anger issues, depression, and low self-esteem in women as a result of the self-doubts that may arise from the notion that she may not be attractive enough for her man to be sexually aroused by her. Sometimes, it may also lead to suspicion about the partner’s loyalty and trust issues.
So, how can you deal with it?
Being in love with someone and not being able to enjoy a good sex life with that person can make you emotionally distant from him as well as shatter your confidence. However, if you deal with it smartly, you might just be able to nurture your relationship without letting erectile dysfunction ruin it for you. Here’s how you can do it according to Dr Singh:
1. Understand that you’re not the cause of the problem
If your partner’s erectile dysfunction makes you feel less attractive or inadequate, you’ve got to know that this sexual disorder is caused by certain physical or mental conditions.
“It could be due to cardiac problems, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. Psychological issues such as anxiety leading to performance anxiety, depression, loss of libido, loss of interest in sex, marital discord, and poor sex education can also be blamed for it,” Dr Singh explains. So, stop berating yourself first.
2. Know that it can be cured
“Be relaxed. It is a fairly common problem and it can handled best if anxiety is managed and partners are supportive of one another. But it needs to be managed together,” says Dr Singh.
“The condition is mostly treatable unless a severe medical factor is the cause of it. It can be managed with the combination of the right medicines and sex therapy,” she adds.
3. Be sensitive
“It is very important that the woman is able to address the issue very sensitively,” Dr Singh warns. Perhaps, just like your partner’s erectile dysfunction hampered your confidence, it can make him feel inadequate too. So, be patient and sensitive in your approach. Avoid making fun of the situation or sounding condescending while discussing the issue.
4. Encourage him to get treatment
For the problem to be solved, it has to be diagnosed and treated. “Plan a consultation with a urologist as a couple, so that all investigations and tests are completed. Once the underlying cause is identified, consultation with a trained clinical psychologist or sex therapist can further help your case,” Dr Singh suggests.
You can even explore other treatment options–such as Viagra, vacuum pumps to hold the erection and testosterone therapy.
5. Set and respect your boundaries
All said and done, if despite your best efforts, he’s too egoistic/stubborn to cooperate, bogs you down, and if that’s turning your relationship sour and toxic–you know it’s time for you to show him the way out. Because, girl, you deserve to be happy.