What To Do If Your Partner Won’t Deal With His Erectile Dysfunction, According To A Therapist
Is takeoff tougher than it should be? 🚀
"My husband has an erectile dysfunction problem that he doesn't want to get clinically checked. And he's not interested in sex. We've had sex 4-5 times, unsatisfactorily over 3 years. There's no emotional, sexual connection. No conversation."
Erectile dysfunction may be the boogeyman in every man's bedroom, from performance anxiety to feeling emasculated, but it's a normal part of life that no one should be ashamed of.
Sex, family and marriage therapist, Jenifer Smith, says it's not unusual for men to be hesitant to get it checked out.
I mean, there is a reason everyone and their mother has woken up to a cringe-worthy Viagra commercial at 2 a.m. after falling asleep on the couch – and it's not because the pills taste great.
"It's not uncommon that men are just not ready to get checked yet. It's a big insecurity of, 'If I go and the doctor tells me something I don't want to hear, or it's something irreversible. Then what?'" says Smith.
"It's almost like the fear of the unknown."
Unfortunately, it sounds like your hub fits into this box, and along with not satisfying your physical needs, he's letting your emotional ones drift to the wayside as well.
And, that lack of connection and communication could actually be a symptom of the problem.
Smith says that, for some men, when they aren't performing in the bedroom, they often aren't performing in other aspects of the relationship.
"I've seen that a lot with male patients when they're not able to sexually perform, it does affect their emotional and even verbal correspondence with the partner because sex is so important for men," she says.
Although, it could be an entirely different issue that needs addressing.
I don't think there's one of my penis-owning friends who hasn't had trouble launching their rocket, whether it be nerves or a more complicated issue, so you're not alone.
Although, that doesn't mean you're not feeling lonely.
I would sit your husband down and try to have an open conversation about your sex life.
Smith recommends seeing a doctor together ASAP after coming together and having that heart-to-heart.
"I really encourage them to have a real honest conversation about it, and then [the] second step is going to the urologist or even to your PCP (primary care physician) to discuss what's been happening."
During that visit, Smith says you should be ready to share when the problem started, if there was an injury to the area, and any other relevant details to best inform your doctor.
Along with all that, you'll want to be ready to stand by your man.
"The partner should go with that person, [...] In this case, the wife would go with her husband to support him throughout this entire process from beginning to end," says Smith.
From there, you should find out whether or not it's medical or mental, according to Smith, and the doctor should give you the proper referrals.
"If it's not medical, or even if it is medical, he can still go and see a sex therapist afterwards to discuss what's been happening. Not only just for him as an individual, but what also is happening in the relationship sexually and emotionally so they can at least get that back on track before the sexual relationship," said Smith.
If he's not responding to that, maybe try and start rebuilding your emotional relationship first by trying a new activity together to open up the gates of communication and rebuild your connection.
Or, per Smith's suggestion, go to therapy yourself and figure out if this relationship is right for you.
But at the end of the day, if you're unhappy in a sexless and emotionless marriage, it's not your responsibility to stay that way.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Cheaper Than Therapy is a spicy new column and video series hosted by Brooke Houghton where readers can share their own anonymous questions and get expert advice for free. Brooke speaks from her own experiences as a single 20-something woman in Toronto and brings on expert guests from therapists to celebrities to help solve your relationship, sex and love issues. So if you can't afford therapy from an actual professional, ask her a question here and tune in next month for another episode of Cheaper Than Therapy.