Why Erectile Dysfunction Is Not Just A Man's Problem
Erectile dysfunction. It’s a topic that no man wants to talk about. But the reality is that for lots of couples, it is a condition that affects many aspects of a relationship. This article explores some of the common myths and truths surrounding erectile problems and addresses one glaring omission in much of the literature: it’s not just a man’s problem.
Erectile problems: What do they involve?
We’ve all been there. Under the duvet, low lighting, soft music. It’s all happening. Then, nothing.
For both men and women, this is often felt as a loss of arousal. Both sexes have erectile tissue in their biology. For females, this includes the clitoris and tissue in their vagina. It is subtle and discrete, but every woman knows the feeling of being hyper sensitive when aroused.
For males, the result is much more obvious. Male arousal is seen in the form of an erection, which hardens and lengthens the penis.
If a woman loses her steam, it makes little difference to sex. For a man, the results are dramatic. If brain and penis fail to connect, sex is a challenge. This is known as erectile dysfunction.
So, what does it mean?
The good news is that when a man cannot sustain an erection, it is not normally a medical problem.
The bad news is that it’s not the partner’s fault. Erectile problems are normally due to stress, anxiety, or tiredness. All of these things are normal parts of daily life, which is why 22% of 40-year-olds have experienced the problem, and 49% of 70-year-olds live with the condition routinely.
Indeed, medicine tells us that the old myth that men are always happy to drop their clothes and leap between the sheets is just that: a myth.
The truth is that a complex system of stress and reproductive hormones pull the strings. If hormones are out of whack, no amount of delicious lingerie will make a difference.
Where do I stand in all of this?
Sex is integral to many relationships, but not as integral as many people think. Around 2% of marriages are thought to be sexless. For Europe, this equates to more than 14 million people.
Studies also suggest that sex is surprisingly rare. During the average lifespan, we have sex only 5,778 times, which accounts for 0.45% of our time.
So, if you’re struggling between the sheets, you are not alone.
How can erectile problems affect me?
For women, the problems are not particularly different from the men. If a man can’t perform, the first response is often one of anxiety. For the man, this might be the root cause of the problem. For the woman, it’s an inherited outcome.
Women start to believe that they are not attractive or desirable and are not capable of arousing their partner. Lowered self-esteem can be challenging for a woman and can increase the anxiety that a man feels.
Self-blame can be damaging and toxic in a relationship. This is why reading up on the medical reasons for erectile problems can be helpful.
But what if I really am not attractive anymore?
Some women make the assumption that their partner’s failure to perform is because he has been cheating.
Evidence suggests that this is the opposite of the truth. Cheating partners often make surprisingly good lovers, because they are eager to perform.
If your guy has a low libido, they’re most likely to keep it as quiet as possible. This is when they need the most support.
So, what to do?
As we’ve already seen, erectile functions – whether male or female – tend to be due to conditions such as anxiety.
magic pills such as Viagra do exist and are readily available. However, it’s
worthwhile having a thorough look at the situation.
If your partner has suffered a bereavement, trouble at work, or financial stress, it’s entirely possible that he simply needs a few cuddles and to be made to feel safe for a while. After all, this can be an unforgiving world, whatever your gender.
If the problem is on-going, it could be health related, and dragging your other-half to a GP may be the best solution.
Either way, you are a small part of a much bigger picture. Erectile dysfunction may be a problem because it deprives you of sex, but your part in the narrative is much more important.
Understanding why your partner is struggling is the key to understanding that erectile problems are more than just his problem, it’s your problem. He needs you. Go and care for him, and together you can once again disappear blissfully beneath the sheets.