support group for men struggling with ED

ED and Me: Michael – Finding Support Where I Least Expected It

Highlights

  • Michael was a completely healthy man when he first noticed signs of erectile dysfunction. 
  • For three years, he waited for the problem to pass — but it didn’t.
  • One night Michael’s buddy shared his own struggle with ED. 
  • With his friend’s encouragement, Michael reached out for ED support and got a Viagra prescription from his doctor. 
  • Erectile dysfunction is easily treatable with medication for most men. 

Michael is a 45-year-old man who’s been married for over a decade. Even though he’s otherwise healthy, he started having problems with erections about three years ago.

Michael thought he was a total disappointment until one night, while having beer with his friends, he realized he wasn’t alone with his problems. Getting ED support saved his relationship and helped him feel like a man again.

Here’s Michael’s story.

Early Struggles and Isolation

ED hits you when you least expect it. I love my wife, and sex was always fun. Then one night, I started having problems. She would give me oral (my favorite), and I would lose my erection. Other times, I would get soft in the middle of the action. So embarrassing!

At first I thought it was work stress, so I dismissed it. Then one night I couldn’t get hard, like at all. My wife tried to cheer me up and said it wasn’t a big deal, but for me it was a huge problem.

It’s the worst thing for a guy — to fail in bed. You’re with this beautiful woman, you want to please her, and you can’t. I dreaded the evenings, so I started working long hours or took extra work home to avoid going to bed with her.

Nobody talks about this stuff. I thought I was the only guy my age who couldn’t get an erection.

young man struggling with EDMichael thought he was the only guy of his age to deal with ED.

The Turning Point: Finding Unexpected Support

One Friday night, I went out for some after-work beers with my buddies. We were talking about the usual: job and sports stuff. At some point, we started laughing that instead of sharing wild stories of drunken adventures, we’re all getting excited about the latest power tools.

Then my buddy Cris made a joke that soon we’d be like old ladies, discussing our aches and pains in detail.

“Believe it or not, I’m getting so old that I had to ask my doc about some ED pills,” Cris spluttered as he finished his second beer.

An awkward silence fell. None of us had ever dared to admit to having sex problems before.

“That must be tough, man,” Jake mumbled.

“Yeah, it sucks,” said Cris, obviously embarrassed. “Forget I ever mentioned it. It’s just that it’s hard to know you’re the only guy your age who has to take Viagra.”

“It happens to me, too,” I mumbled and instantly regretted it. (I think I was getting a bit drunk at this point.)

“Did you go to the doctor about it?” Cris asked.

“No, I thought it would pass. But it’s been three years. I don’t know what to do.”

“You’ve got to see someone, man!”

Suddenly Ian, who had been quiet all evening, joined the conversation.

“He’ll help you out. See, Cris got the pills and he’s better now!”

I didn’t know what to say. I was embarrassed but also relieved to find out I wasn’t alone with my problem. This was the first time in my adult life that I had talked to other guys about problems with sex.

Seeking Professional Help

What Cris told me that night got me thinking: Maybe I should go and see the doctor after all? I had no idea how to talk to your doctor about ED. I decided to start with Dr. Roberts, an older man who had been my family physician for years. I trusted him.

I made an appointment and waited. “Will I have to get undressed and tell my doctor all the details of my sex life?” In the end the consultation wasn’t as scary as I thought. The doctor asked me a lot of questions, but not all of them had to do with sex.

As it turns out, there’s a link between ED and smoking and ED and alcohol, so the doc wanted to know if I had any bad habits. He also ordered some tests to see if I might have low testosterone or high blood pressure.

doctor discussing ED with patientSeeing your family doctor is the first step to getting ED support.

He explained to me that ED happens to guys of all ages, even 20-something bodybuilders. I realized that at this stage, there’s still a lot I can do to improve my erections. For example, being smart about what I eat. (bye, bye, bacon for breakfast every day!) will prevent heart disease and diabetes, and these often lead to ED.

“The good news,” the doctor said, “is that ED medications, such as the Viagra, Cialis, or vardenafil, work well for most men. They are also safe and you can take them long term if you need to.”

Only a handful of men with more advanced erectile dysfunction need other treatment options, such as penile injections or a penile implant.

I left the doctor’s office with a Viagra prescription, wondering why it had taken me so long to ask a professional for help. I was no longer in the dark, I had concrete information and tips to take care of myself and my stamina. It was great to feel in charge again.

Building a Support System

The ED pills helped. I took one an hour before an evening with my wife and everything worked as it should.

After the meeting with the doctor, I became obsessed with my sexual function. I wanted to get myself back into shape so I didn’t have to rely on ED drugs every time.

I quickly realized that even if I started eating more veggies and got on a treadmill every second day, there was still something called psychological ED.

Even with Viagra on my nightstand, I still stressed out whenever an intimate situation happened. My wife noticed that and suggested we go to couples counseling. The help I got from Dr. Roberts encouraged me to give it a try.

After all, if I was brave enough to admit to my buddies and my family doctor that I was failing in bed, I should be able to do the same with my wife!

I’m not going to lie: It was awkward. I mean, I’m used to having sex without talking about it. But learning how to talk about it was a life changer for us. Now I’m not so anxious when an accident happens and I can’t get hard.

And an extra perk: We started trying new, fun things in bed! Who knew my wife would be so good at role playing!

Believe it or not, we still sometimes talk about health problems with the guys. We laugh that it’s our little Friday ED support group, beer and chips included!

couple going over their issues in bed due to ED with a therapistED affects the couple, and counseling can help bring you closer together.

A New Perspective on Support for Erectile Dysfunction

What a journey these past few years have been! Finding ED support in an unexpected place was the best thing that happened to me. I feel like a man again, and I’m not so ashamed when something goes wrong in the bedroom.

All this wouldn’t have happened if my buddy Cris hadn’t mastered the courage to share his own ED story with us.

If you’re like me, feeling like a total loser because you can’t perform in bed, don’t wait to speak up. Help is out there — you just need to open up and tell someone!

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Disclosure: The articles in this series are fictionalized accounts based on the real-life experiences of many men who struggle with ED, based on my experience as a sex counselor. They do not reflect the story of any single individual.

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