Difficulty in maintaining an erection or just having an erection is a problem that afflicts men and a possible trigger for relationship problems.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common but little-talked-about condition due to fear, taboo or social shame. About 30 million men have problems getting an erection in the United States alone. Not only do the men suffer, but the partner is also affected by the situation.

How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction?

By definition, erectile dysfunction is the inability, persistent or recurrent, to obtain or maintain a proper erection until the end of sexual intercourse. This inability can be measured through three critical situations:

  • You can only get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have sex.
  • You achieve an erection, but it does not last long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
  • You cannot get an erection at any time.

Erectile dysfunction has a powerful negative impact on a man's perception and self-concept of male virility that often extends to the partner. It is often described as an ''undermining'' factor for the relationship.

How is erectile dysfunction perceived by the partner?

As erection is a reflex response to sexual stimuli, the woman may think it is her guilt since it does not occur automatically during sexual intercourse.

The female view of erectile dysfunction is complex. The woman may feel insecure, distrustful, and not desirable or suspect that he may be ''interested in another woman''.

The most common thoughts are: "he doesn't like me anymore," "he doesn't get excited with me anymore," "he has another woman''. These thoughts trigger insecurity and, subsequently, communication problems.

Progressively, these beliefs may cause low self-esteem, anxiety symptoms, and depressive thoughts in the partner. She may say vague complaints or indirect comments, failing to be explicit unless asked about it.

Another common consequence of ED is when the woman has a negative and avoidant attitude towards the men. Rejecting the partner due to sexist preconceptions and lack of information, considering him "impotent," with the wrong considerations that the term implies, leaving the man to his own resources to face his problem.

In ED, communication is crucial for both partners, but especially for the man, who must first face the fact that he has erectile dysfunction to understand that he must speak himself.

On the other hand, the partner must learn to understand this condition. They must be educated about, and together as a couple, look for a solution and experiment with other alternatives to continue enjoying pleasure. Erectile dysfunction in the male mind

ED affects the man psychologically, diminishing self-esteem, self-confidence, and security, leading to feelings of guilt, frustration, anxiety, and depression. This can lead to the following attitudes:

- Emotional distancing and avoidance of physical contact decreasing the possibility of an encounter that makes sexual intercourse possible.

- As a way of "compensating" the lack of intercourse, the man shows a woman overprotection and excessive concern for her general health and well-being, developing excessively complacent behaviors and attitudes.

How to cope with erectile dysfunction as a couple

If you or your partner have Erectile Dysfunction and you are looking for alternatives to not let your relationship be ruined, here are some essential facts to keep in mind to overcome the stigma.

1. Erectile dysfunction is highly treatable.

Despite being a little-talked-about condition, the truth is that it is easily treatable today. Many treatment options depend on the cause, including lifestyle changes, exercise, and dietary adjustments to phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor medications such as Sildenafil, Tadalafil, and related drugs.

1. It is a common condition.

About 30 million American men have erectile dysfunction. This condition affects both young and adult men, increasing in rate with age, so don't feel alone. Many men suffer from it, but only very few talk about it.

2. Erectile dysfunction does not end sex.

Sexual pleasure goes beyond, and sex is not defined by an erection or penetration.

There are many alternatives to feel satisfaction during sex without penetration. Physical intimacy can range from kissing to oral sex and other exciting practices.

Both you and your partner can reach orgasm without penetration if you just use a little creativity. Many couples experience a complete climax even through text messages or phone calls. So it's time to experiment and leave conventional sex aside.

3. Sex does not define the relationship.

Many couples tend to undervalue the whole relationship and all the lived-together experiences when erectile dysfunction strikes. But there is more to a relationship than sex, even though sex is an essential part of it.

Sex is only one piece of the relationship puzzle. If this part is missing, then it is time to reinforce others, such as intimacy, love, and recognition between both.

Understanding, listening carefully to each other's words, laughing, kissing, and strengthening the loving bond are defining points of a real relationship.

If you are both committed to overcoming ED, listening and being there for each other is part of this journey.

4. Change your lifestyle habits.

Diet, daily physical exercise, reducing alcohol, and smoking are fundamental lifestyle changes to improve erectile dysfunction.

Smoking causes alterations in blood pressure and blood flow that can decrease the penis blood supply and interfere with the erection.

Similarly, regular exercise three to five times a week helps increase blood testosterone, a male hormone necessary for male attributes and erection.

5. Try to relax.

Stress, hectic life, worries, and anxiety are some of the psychological triggers of erectile dysfunction. Try to relax from time to time, take time for yourself, to focus on your breathing and inner sensations.

This will help you better manage stress and diminish the mental influences that limit erection.

When to seek help?

You should consult a physician if you worry about whether or not you have erectile dysfunction. Do not feel ashamed or afraid. Fortunately, Doko’s online medical care platforms protect your privacy and safety because we know it is not easy to overcome the diagnosis.

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