Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When He Can't Get It Up...

I've done a lot of work around sexual problems - in fact, in May I will be speaking at the Primary Care Sexual Dysfunction conference. One of my particular areas of expertise is erectile difficulty, and I find this particularly rewarding work because so often, the problem's easily cured. Here are some guidelines for both sufferer and their partners.

To him:

1: Relax. Often one occurrence of ED scares the life out of a sufferer - and then performance anxiety kicks in and there's no way forward. If ED has happened after a one-off occurrence, then take the pressure off by concentrating on foreplay for a few weeks. Once you aren't under stress, the problem often resolves itself.

2: If it doesn't resolve itself, don't delay getting help. The average man with ED waits years before consulting a doctor, but that's unwise, if only because ED can be a marker of medical problems such as heart disease or diabetes. See your GP right away; he's seen it all before and won't be embarrassed.

3: Be hopeful. Often it takes only a few minutes' consultation to get a diagnosis and effective treatment. Current medications - yes, the little blue pill and its brothers - can be the answer of choice and if not, then more exploration can often come up with alternative solutions.

To her:

1: Don't add more pressure by blaming yourself or the relationship. ED is rarely caused by partnership problems or infidelity that isn't already clear. Sure, if you are rowing daily then his ED may be a sign that you need to sort things out. But ED in a good relationship is almost always a sign that medical intervention's needed.

2: Offer support not challenge. A man who can't get it up is feeling bad about himself to start with. If you wobble, or do him down, this won't help. Instead explain - he may not know - that most ED is down to a physical problem which can be easily sorted.

3: Suggest he get help. You can give your partner permission and encouragement to go to the doctor, when he may be hesitating. You can also suggest he logs on to SortED in 10 for extra guidance.

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