Are you struggling with sexual performance issues? You aren’t alone—and we’re not just talking about the millions of men fighting it in the US. If you’re in a relationship, your partner may also be struggling emotionally. According to a study by Pfizer, most women rank erectile dysfunction (ED) as a more important factor than menopausal symptoms, infertility, allergies, obesity, and insomnia when it comes to their quality of life.

While you work to understand and treat your ED, your partner will also need your attention, love, and support. You can start by staying positive, maintaining open communication, and finding other ways to be intimate.

Be Positive 

It can be a humiliating experience when sexual performance issues occur—for both the man and his partner. However, despite cultural stereotypes, ED is not a personal issue: It is a health issue. That means that, no matter how discouraged you and your partner may be, the problem can be fixed by addressing the larger health issue causing the ED. And that’s something to be positive about!

Reacting to the situation correctly is difficult, and sensitivity is of the utmost importance. Here are three specific behaviors to avoid:

  • Excessive Apologizing. ED happens to men of all stages of life. Just like you wouldn’t apologize for catching a cold, there is no reason to endlessly apologize for ED.
  • Getting Angry. ED is frustrating, but losing your temper is likely to upset your partner. 
  • Blaming Your Partner. This is the worst way to react. Understand that ED may initially have an emotional effect on your partner. Laying (or even suggesting) blame on your partner can cause serious relationship damage.

It’s important to understand that your partner may feel inadequate or unattractive when you experience sexual performance issues. Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings. Failure to achieve an erection doesn’t mean that the spark is gone from your relationship; it means that something is keeping the spark from igniting into a fire. Encourage your partner by treating the ED as a temporary issue and working together to find the resources for effective treatment.

Talk Openly

Be open and honest with your partner. Explain how the sexual performance issues are making you feel. Then, allow your partner to do the same, and be sure to listen. Talk to your partner about what you think might be the cause of the issue. Explain treatment options you are considering, and ask for and listen to feedback and ideas. Remember that this is a challenge affecting both of you; you’ll have to work together to resolve it.

Maintain Intimacy in Other Ways

As you work to reverse the causes of your ED, your relationship will still demand intimacy. Fortunately, sex is not the only form of intimacy. “Intimacy is a one-on-one connection that involves a synchrony between two people,” says Helene Brenner, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of I Know I’m In There Somewhere. “If you want to feel intimate, the first thing you and your partner need to do is stop all the other things you are doing and give each other your undivided, undistracted attention.” 

To achieve intimacy without sex, engage in activities in which you give one another your undivided attention:

  • Cuddle
  • Focus on kissing
  • Dance together
  • Give each other a massage
  • Learn something new together

Be creative and find what works for you and your partner to keep emotional intimacy a core part of your relationship. 

When you are suffering from ED, your partner is just as affected. That’s why it will take both of you working together to get through this. You can do your part by staying positive, maintaining open communication, and finding other ways to be intimate. At Metro Men’s Health, we can help you and your partner address and fix the health issues at play. If you have been struggling to conquer ED and are ready for a healthier, happier you, reach out to us today. We’re ready to help.

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