“It may be HIS erection problem but it’s OUR love life”
We created StopTheGRBullies to give you useful information and advice on your partner’s erection problem and how to help your relationship when these problems occur. We explain how to discuss them with your partner, where to go for help and why it is important that he gets checked out by his doctor.
We also explain why it is important to address these issues together. In the majority of cases erectile dysfunction (ED) can be effectively treated, so talk to your partner about it and encourage him to discuss it with his GP and get the right treatment for him and your relationship.’
Your love life does matter and we hope that you will find this website helpful.
How ED affects your love life
Diagnosing a condition like erectile dysfunction (ED) can often be the beginning of a journey. Today’s treatments are generally effective and available from your doctor, but if you haven’t had sex for some time, it may be awkward taking those first few steps.
In this section, we explain why intimacy means more than sex, how to get that spark back in your life and how to enjoy a healthy love life right into your later years despite having been through ED.
Staying intimate despite ED
When a man with ED attends my sexual therapy clinic, I always ask him when he last had intercourse. For many of them, years have passed since they have even attempted intercourse.
I then ask him about the last time that he and his partner had a hug, or kissed or cuddled. The majority of men tell me that hugs and kisses stopped at about the same time that their erection problems started. The reason they give is that they feel it would be unfair to offer any kind of intimacy if they are unable to follow it up with fulfilling sexual intercourse.
Avoiding sexual contact
When their partner has tried to be intimate in a non-sexual way, they often respond by moving away, or going to sleep at a later time, or making some excuse about it being better for them to sleep separately. We can all be incredibly clever at finding ways to avoid sexual contact.
Of course, it is not always the men who avoid intimacy. Many women say that it is best to avoid any hugs because they don’t want to embarrass their partners by reminding them that they are unable to have sexual intercourse. They may make up excuses or they simply switch off their desire to have sex and make a conscious decision to live without intimacy rather than bring up a discussion about sex.
The importance of touch
Is there such a thing as being intimate without sexual activity taking place? Intimacy is a word that women use more often than men. I think it describes those hugs and cuddles that are so important. Intimacy means being treasured, loved and cherished; it is that feeling we get when a man touches our arm or strokes our face for no other reason than to say that he really cares.
I think that men also love to have a hug or a cuddle, but think it isn’t manly to ask for such contact. When men experience erectile dysfunction (ED), they often believe that it is not possible to be intimate without continuing to have sex. Therefore, if they are unable to gain an erection sufficient for intercourse to take place, they withdraw from intimate touch.
I think that it is important to explain to men that, even though intercourse may not be possible, there are many other ways of showing someone that you love and cherish them.
While you wait for blood tests and treatment, you have the opportunity to reassess how you show your partner that you love them. Don’t forget that there are other ways of being sexual and demonstrating your love without needing to have intercourse.
Explore new sensations
Many people need a bit of variety in their lovemaking. Sometimes women are not very clear when expressing themselves around intimacy, so talk to your partner about it. I don’t believe that any of us enjoy living without touch. It is one of the most important and valued ingredients of any relationship.
How to Be Close After ED
After having adjusted to life without sex due to your partner’s erection problem, you may be apprehensive about how to respond if your partner regains his erection and how to recover your intimacy.
If you have been through a difficult time in your love life, as your partner has been diagnosed with erection problems, you may be wondering how to put the spark back into your sex life.
Importance of touch
If you stop touching one another, even in an affectionate way, your chances of making love decline. Unfortunately, this is just what can happen when a man experiences erection problems because you may become afraid of airing the difficulty. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to become close after his ED has been treated, even if you are worried that the excitement you once felt has declined.
The simplest way to feel close to each other is to boost your day-to-day affection level. Increase the frequency of hand-holding, and kissing and hugging when you meet each other; snuggle up on the sofa while you watch a DVD together and always cuddle before you drift off to sleep at night.
This kind of touching is not always intended to lead to sex. Instead, it is about letting your partner know you care for them and want to be close. This kind of intimacy pays benefits because you will feel a deeper bond to one another.
You will need to keep up this kind of touching for several weeks to see positive results in your relationship. If your problems with sex have been linked to stress or anxiety, affection will help you both to relax, creating a better environment for sex when it does happen.
Take it slowly
The best way to approach sex is to avoid racing straight into full intercourse. Instead, begin with kissing and cuddling, sensual stroking and caressing; only attempting sexual intercourse after a few sessions of getting close again. If your partner takes medication to help him regain his erection, he will need stimulation to aid the process so you need have no fear that he will demand sex the moment his erection returns. Your shared role will be the same with medication as it was before the erection problems began.
Be gentle with one another and explore the changes that renewed sexual contact brings. If you take your time to do this, you can assess what you enjoy and what you find less arousing. If you experience difficulties integrating your sexual feelings, try talking to a psychosexual therapist about the issues.
(Find one at www.basrt.org.uk).
It’s likely that you also feel romance is lacking if your sense of intimacy has been lost. Now is the time to think about what made you feel good and what invigorated the relationship in the past.
If you used to put time aside to go out, enjoy a meal or a visit to the theatre or cinema, then do these again. Or a shared walk in the local park or countryside can give you much needed ‘just us’ time so that you feel close to one another. Leave each other affectionate notes, buy a gift with a loving message or cook a favorite meal. These kinds of warm gestures will help you both to feel the relationship is still loving and that you are thinking about each other when you are apart. It can also help to look again at photos of you both throughout your relationship so you have a sense of how far you’ve come, boosting your sense of couple esteem.