Frustrated by your partner’s ED? Find out how to talk to them about erectile dysfunction and treatment options

ED can affect many couples, taking the fun out of sex and adding frustration, stress and making the act of sex become a chore.

In fact, many couples may avoid sex alltogether as this seems like an easier option than facing the problem head on. In this situation, communication is key. It’s also important to know that there are ways of getting around ED and various treatment options available.

In this article, Abbas Kanani, Lead Pharmacist at Chemist Click shares his advice on how to communicate with your partner about ED and discuss treatment options. 

What is ED? 

The term used for these symptoms is erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence. ED has occurred when a man is unable to become erect, either fully or partly and maintain this for long enough to complete a sexual act such as intercourse. Sometimes it happens only once, or it can be sporadic. 

ED can be distressing to men and can have a negative impact on self-esteem and relationships however ED is usually nothing to worry about and there are several ways to effectively manage and treat ED which are cost effective and safe.

Some treatments are more suitable for some men than others, but there are several licensed treatment options available in the UK which are usually effective and the problem often goes away. 

What causes ED? 

Causes can be psychological or physical. Psychological factors such as stress and anxiety are common contributors to ED in addition to poor lifestyle choices such as drinking, smoking and lack of sleep but these can be resolved with changes in attitude and approach and talking therapies. 

How to communicate with your partner about his ED

ED is a difficult subject to talk about. Here’s how you can communicate with and help your partner.

1) Don’t be scared to talk 

Sometimes it can feel daunting to bring up the topic of ED, whether that be during sex or not. And the chances are you may feel just as embarrassed in bringing it up as your partner feels experiencing it.

You may also feel embarrassment and guilt, as if it means your partner isn’t attracted to you or perhaps you’re doing something wrong, but you should be rest assured that there can be a number of reasons for why ED happens, it can be psychological but it may also be due to various lifestyle factors. 

I would advise setting aside time to talk about the issue, rather than waiting to talk about it during sex, this is because it could cause an akward conversation and situation where you both may feel tense and frustrated as its in the heat of the moment and you are aroused.

Ask your partner if he has time to chat, set aside some time in the day and have an adult conversation about the issue. In most cases, he will also want to talk about it but may feel embarrassed, so if you can be bold in initiating the conversation you are already halfway there. 

2.) Be supportive 

Try and remember that your partner is sensitive, and experiencing ED as a male can be quite embarrassing and talking about it can sometimes be difficult. Ensure your language is positive, encouraging and supportive.

Try and show your partner that you care and are committed to the relationship, before discussing treatment options you may want to try and get to the source of the problem as it could be psychological or triggered from anxiety, which once spoken about may start to get better. 

3) Be open to resolution and experimentation 

Try and offer helpful advice and thoughtful ways of helping your partner tackle his ED. Maybe you could look at experimentation with sex toys, increased foreplay or even watching porn together. If the problem is psychological it may just be that he requires more foreplay before having sex, or perhaps there are certain sexual acts he likes that he has not told you about.

Being open with one another is imperative. It could also be lifestyle factors, for example if your partner smokes or drinks heavily this could be causing the ED, so in a sensitive manner try and ask your partner if it would help if you both did not drink as much, perhaps reduce nights out where drinking is heavy. You may also want to avoid drunk sex. 

4) Avoid patronising language 

The worst thing you can do is talk down to your partner, make him feel like he has a problem or become patronising. ED is incredibly common and there are many reasons why this condition happens. Try to remain aware of what you are saying, offer helpful ideas and input.

Dont jump straight to discussing medication, instead perhaps talk about what he feels during sex, perhaps ask if theres anything you can do to increase his sex drive, or if perhaps therapy might be something of interest. 

5) Do your research 

Doing your bit to understand ED is really important, and your partner will be grateful when he realises that you have an understanding of this condition.

There are many health sites which offer advice for ED such as the NHS, and tips and tricks for helping your partner get in the mood and increase sex drive. You may also want to help your partner look into treatment options and see what will work for the both of you. 

What are the treatment options for ED?

The most common treatments for ED are Sildenafil tablets and Tadalafil tablets. These medications all work similarly to each other however there are subtle differences in how long they take to work and remain effective for. More than 66% of men report having improved erections after taking one of these tablets.

What are Sildenafil tablets?

Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra and comes in three strengths. The recommended dose is one 50mg tablet 30-60 minutes before sexual activity with the effects lasting for up to four hours.

Sildenafil is available over the counter at some UK pharmacies however it can be more cost effective to order through a registered online pharmacy. Most common side effects are headache and nausea, indigestion, blurred vision, hot flushes and dizziness.

What are Tadalafil tablets?

Tadalafil is the generic form of the treatment Cialis and they work in the same way. Tadalafil comes in tablet form, between 2.5mg and 20mg doses. Depending on dose, depends on how regularly the tablets. standard dose is 10mg taken daily and although it is slightly costlier than Viagra it is more useful if you have a more active sex life.

Depending on dose, depends on how regularly the tablets. standard dose is 10mg taken daily and although it is slightly costlier than Viagra it is more useful if you have a more active sex life. The 2.5mg and 5mg are a lower daily dose option that are taken every day. They allow you to achieve and maintain an erectile spontaneously, without the need for scheduling doses.

The 10mg and 20mg dose are taken 30 minutes before sexual activity and can last for up to 36 hours. This is why they are referred to as the weekend pill. 

Sildenafil and Tadalafil tablets are the most cost effective treatments available but it is important both to note that these tablets do not increase sex drive and only work with sexual stimulation. 

Photo by Deon Black