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Top Questions and Answers About Erectile Dysfunction and Relationships

If you’re like most people, you’re bound to have questions about sex and ED. While there’s information available about ED as a medical condition, it can be hard to find accurate, inclusive information about how it will affect your sex life.

What is ED?

Simply put, ED (or erectile dysfunction) is a sexual dysfunction when a man has trouble maintaining an erection. Though men often suffer in silence, ED is quite common (as we’ll see below.) These feelings that can arise are normal, and understanding that ED can be reversible and managed can help to ease that nervousness.

How common is it?

Though many men are ashamed of their ED diagnosis, they have to know that they aren’t alone. There are more than 3 million new cases of ED that appear worldwide each year.

Even with the commonality of it, there are still so many questions that people can have in relation to how ED will affect their relationships. Let’s examine a few common questions about sex and ED that men and their partners will have, and answer them once and for all.

How can I communicate to my partner that my ED is not their fault?

One of the biggest misconceptions about ED and other sexual dysfunctions is that they only affect the person with the condition… but this couldn’t be further from the truth. For some women, they can internalize their partner’s ED as a sign of their own shortcomings or weakness. Sitting down with your partner to help them process may be intimidating, but it can help to quell their anxieties and your own. Also, you can consider setting boundaries to help manage your own processing as well. Remaining open to communicating with your partner but also managing your own expectations and limitations is important, especially if you have been recently diagnosed.

Whether you have ED or not, communication is a key part of keeping the relationship between you and your partner strong.

Is my watching porn making things worse?

Many men are concerned that watching porn can make their ED worse. And while this isn’t true, watching porn can impact your sexuality. In watching the specific images of mainstream, hardcore porn, they can alter our perceptions and expectations of sex.

If you’re concerned about how porn may be impacting your sexual health and sex life, it can be time to reevaluate what you’re watching, what feelings it brings up, and whether or not it will be worth continuing to consume it in the sam fashion.

How can my partner and I remain intimate when I have ED?

This question brings up an important note about sex. We often perceive sex as “counting” if it’s penetrative, penis-in-vagina sex between a man and a woman. This way of thinking leaves out SO many other forms of sex that individuals and couples can experience, on their own or together. While your partner can still masturbate, including you in the sexual experience is key to remaining intimate and keeping that spark alive, even if you can’t participate in the lovemaking directly.

If your partner wants to masturbate, you can discuss participating by helping with foreplay (if your partner is a woman you can rub her breasts and nipples, perform cunnilingus, or watch while they touch themselves and sensually describe the sensations to you. If your partner is using sex toys, you can also discuss using them together on her. By opening the conversation, you’d be surprised by what sex can look like beyond what we’re used to.

Remaining intimate, even when a partner cannot participate in traditional ways, doesn’t have to be the end of sensuality in the relationship. Getting creative can be the secret to keeping the spark alive, even if a partner is experiencing ED.

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