How to Help Your Partner Get Help for Erectile Dysfunction 

How to Help Your Partner Get Help for Erectile Dysfunction 

By:

Dr. Thomas Stock, MBChB (Hon) MSc.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) can interfere with a healthy sex life, which is a core need among most couples. You might suspect your partner has ED if he consistently can’t maintain an erection. He probably have hinted at it himself. Regardless, the only way ED can be addressed is for him to seek help, but it can be challenging to do so. In this article, we will show you how you can be instrumental in helping your partner overcome ED. 

It is NOT your Fault. 

First, you need to understand that your partner’s ED is neither your nor your partner’s fault. ED is a medical condition in which a man is unable to have an erection, usually due to poor blood flow or nerve issues. It’s not because he’s no longer attracted to you physically or that he’s falling out of love. 

He is just as frustrated as you about the situation and is worried that your relationship will end because of this condition. This means he is afraid to lose you. Blaming yourself or your partner is counterproductive. It just damages both of you. Instead, work on a cohesive plan to resolve ED, starting with getting your partner to seek help. 

How to Talk About ED 

The thought of bringing up ED can be daunting because it might disrupt the current peace in your relationship. But it must happen for your and your partner’s sake. He needs to get treatment not only so you can enjoy yourselves in the bedroom but also because he might be suffering from a serious disease. You also deserve to have your needs met. ED doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. By working together to resolve ED, you can strengthen your relationship and deepen your intimacy. 

Scenario 1: Partner Opened Up about ED 

Opening up about ED is not easy, especially because of the stigma surrounding the condition. For your partner to have brought it up himself, it must have taken a great deal of courage. Usually, men who have ED have been traumatised repeatedly because of it. They may have lost relationships over it or received shame in return. To ensure that you respond as best as you can to your partner, here are a few steps for you to take: 

  • Practise empathy
    Rather than jumping straight to discussing solutions, listen and empathise with your partner first. Giving your partner validation for their feelings will take the edge off the conversation. They also need it. Men barely receive emotional validation when it comes to emotions. Responding well to their emotions will help them not to be as scared of your reaction and make them more forthcoming with information. 
  • Discuss how ED affects you both
    This isn’t about blaming or complaining;. It’s about getting to the root of the issue. Your partner knows how ED affects him physically, but he may have missed some of its other effects. For example, he may know that ED interferes with your sex life, but he may not know that he’s emotionally withdrawing from you and that is making you insecure. This is a good chance to gently raise your needs and begin working together on countering the effects of ED. 
  • Reassure your partner
    Unlike with empathy, you don’t have to wait for your partner to say something to reassure them. You can proactively tell your partner that you love him, and ED is not going to change that. You can also tell him that you’re going to be with him throughout the process and you’re not going to start packing your bags. Even after you’ve already empathised with your partner, they’re probably still worried that they are about to lose you. 
  • Research together
    Now that you’ve had a heartfelt conversation and have likely rekindled your emotional intimacy, it’s time to get down to the facts. Information is your best friend when it comes to tackling ED. Research as much as you can about ED. Your partner is likely to do the same. You can even do it together or discuss your findings with each other. The goal is to practice teamwork as you educate yourselves about ED to decide your strategy or next steps. 

Scenario 2: You Want to Tell Him about ED 

So, your partner hasn’t said anything, but you suspect that he has ED. How do you even bring it up to him? Should you even bring it up to him? First, you NEED to tell him. Communication is crucial in relationships. This is also both a relationship AND a health concern. But when raising something as sensitive as ED, you need a combination of tact, empathy, and logic. Here’s how to effectively execute that: 

  • Educate yourself about ED
    Information is your best friend as mentioned in scenario 1 so begin by learning more about ED. You can start by browsing our resources so that you can familiarise yourself with medical knowledge about ED. You can even learn tips that both you and your partner can already apply before you’ve even spoken to a doctor. Make sure to also learn about what’s false about ED because there are many unhelpful misconceptions about it. 
  • Share your findings to your partner
    Since you’ve done your research, you are now armed with facts and ready to have the conversation. Share what you’ve learned with your partner. Emphasise how important it is to get ED treated and answer any questions your partner may have. Showing him that you’ve thoroughly researched this will make him feel that you care and that this is serious. It will also help him calm down if he can sense that you are being objective about it. 
  • Talk about the gravity of ED
    Making your partner understand that ED is serious is the most helpful thing you can do for them. Again, ED is a medical condition, meaning your partner’s health is compromised as we speak. It can be psychological, but it can also be something as serious as atherosclerosis. If atherosclerosis is untreated, it can lead to a heart attack. In fact, men may experience ED 3 years before a heart attack occurs. 
  • Reassure your partner
    Regardless of what scenario you end up with, reassuring your partner is necessary. Bringing up ED will stir bad memories and can even trigger your partner’s trauma. To ensure that they remain receptive to what you have to say, comfort them. Tell them how you love them and that’s why you want to work on this together. Emphasise how they are not alone in this process and will not be abandoned for it.

Extra: What if Partner is Uncooperative 

You might be wondering, what if he brought up ED and then didn’t do anything about it? Or what if you’ve brought up ED and your partner decided to avoid the topic altogether anyway? In both scenarios, your partner is feeling overwhelmed about his ED and/or he may be overthinking how things can go wrong. To be able to help him through this, you can take the following course of action: 

  • Give him space to process
    He’s probably feeling emotional right now or he has a lot of thoughts running on his mind. Let him process it by himself first. He needs to accept the reality of the situation before he can be ready to act. Of course, you must be reasonable to yourself with the time you’re giving him. It’s not fair for you to wait for a year before he’s ready to do something and it’s also going to be risky for his health to wait that long. 
  • Gently reopen discussion
    This isn’t something you can sidestep or postpone indefinitely. You need to talk about it. If he wasn’t receptive at first, it may be because he wasn’t calm yet. By following step 1, he can be in a better mental state. Make sure you also agree on an intentional time to talk. For example, rather than talking about it after a hectic and stressful Monday, you might want to talk about it on a weekend so both of you can sufficiently decompress afterwards. 
  • Use "We" and "Us"
    Your choice of words can make a drastic difference in the outcome of your conversation. For example, constantly using “you” can seem pressuring, alienating, and hostile during delicate topics or conflicts. Your partner will feel attacked and perceive the conversation as a confrontation. By switching to “we” and “us,” you can invoke a sense of togetherness. 
  • Seek a counsellor as needed
    If he’s still being defensive or apathetic about the situation, there might be more going on mentally. It may also mean that you need the help of a psychologist to mediate. By getting a counsellor, you can find the underlying cause of whatever is bothering him so that the discussion remains productive and does not end up in a fight. And even when discussions are going well, you can still talk to a counsellor in individual therapy to help both of you process what’s going on. 

What Comes Next? 

You’ve finally had the conversation. Pat yourself on the back. It was hard and scary to bring it up, but you did it anyway. Now, you are one step closer to solving ED together. But to progress, you need to start taking decisive action. We have listed below the crucial steps you must take so you can steadily beat ED out of your life:

  • Get checked for heart issues and diabetes
    ED is often a symptom of a bigger health condition. The top two diseases linked to ED are heart issues and diabetes. If your partner has not got checked for either, he must see a doctor ASAP. You can check the symptoms online but it’s still better to be sure. Some people only get checked for diabetes when they already need to cut a limb. Your partner can also raise ED to his GP so they can rule out other underlying conditions
  • Find other ways to be intimate
    ED is usually difficult for your partner because of the bedroom. They are worried about whether they will satisfy you or not and if you will think less of them as a man. You can take the pressure off by either finding other ways to bond with each other or adjusting your sex life. Instead of focusing on intercourse, you can try other forms of sex. 
  • Assist him in lifestyle changes
    Since your partner has ED, he will have to make the necessary lifestyle changes. There are various resources online about lifestyle that’s tailored to a man with ED. For example, he can start consuming more food that helps with erection or opt for a diet that increases testosterone. His doctor will also advise lifestyle adjustments for him, and you can help by holding him accountable to it while being emotionally supportive. 
  • Get expert treatment
    Since ED is a medical condition, you need to treat it. Often, multiple factors and diseases affect a man’s erectile strength. In Men’s Health Clinic (MHC), we use the multimodal approach so that we can determine and treat all the factors that are causing your partner’s ED. We have nutritionists, psychologists, sex experts, and doctors that will work with you and your partner. Book an appointment to begin healing from ED. 

Final Thoughts 

ED can make your partner’s life difficult and cause issues in your relationship, but it shouldn’t stay that way. By using healthy communication and tackling the issue as a team, it is more than possible to eliminate ED. Not only will your partner regain his confidence, you will also emerge as a stronger and happier couple. And if you want to make your shared journey to ED recovery as easy as it can be, enlist the help of pros like MHC so you can focus on what matters the most– becoming closer to your partner than ever. 

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