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Better Relationship through Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Yep, You Read it Right.

Better Relationship through Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Yep, You Read it Right.

By Yvonne Sinclair M.A.

Picture this: soft lights, comfy bed, glass of something tasty, freshly showered bodies, loving couple, and soft music. Yep, we are getting some tonight. But the little man is napping. Now the big man keeps thinking, “Any minute now he will get with the program because I am ready.” Big man’s partner is thinking, “Maybe I need to think of something new to do.” In any case, the little man is not playing. Now we know that hot sex can happen without an erection. We can pleasure and enjoy and orgasm without the penis ever getting hard. However, it is nice when little man is in on the fun.

 I stumbled onto (well, okay, I was looking) a site called “Ask Men.” I found information about sex and erectile dysfunction. Maybe you didn’t know, and maybe you suspected, but these facts about sex are outstanding.

 *Sex relieves stress, lowers cortisol levels, and reduces our risk of stress-related diseases.

*Sex is exercise, and we all know the benefits of exercise for cardiovascular health and weight control. Rigorous sex can burn about 200 calories.

*British researchers have found that sex increases longevity, boosts immune function, and improves our sense of smell.

*You cannot overdose on sex; in this instance, more actually is better.

*Sex releases endorphins, and they help to control pain.

*Orgasmic sex promotes prostate health, according to some studies.

 Perhaps we can throw out the treadmill, cancel the gym, sell the elliptical, and just grab our partner. That will be more fun, and it will nurture our relationship. Instead of telling the buds at lunch, “I did an hour workout on the treadmill this morning,” we can announce, “We enjoyed an hour of great, orgasmic, pain-reducing, endorphin-enhancing sex this morning.””

All of this is true, but unfortunately, the treadmill just turns on.

 Humans do not work as automatically. When erectile dysfunction occurs, the fun stops. An erection is a complicated thing. It is tied to emotional well being, physical and mental health, situation, and little voices in our head. A woman has it easier; she just has to show up. Of course, women have sexual challenges, also. However, the challenges are not as obvious as a lack of erection.

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, does not necessarily coincide with lack of sexual interest. So, when the man is ready to exercise, and the little man is napping, someone is going to be unhappy. The little voices in his head may make it worse. If the man identifies his masculinity or machismo with his erection, dysfunction will be even more difficult for him.

 The reaction of his partner will also color the depth of the despair he feels. ED can truly undermine the close connection of a relationship. How the couple handle the problem will determine if ED enhances the relationship or harms it. Sometimes a man blames it on the woman, and sometimes the woman blames herself. If the woman has low self esteem, then she will be threatened by ED. She may feel she is just not sexy enough for her partner, or he has lost interest, or even that there is someone else. Getting the facts about ED will be an important start for the couple. They can use this problem to increase communication, caring for each other’s feelings, and increasing the emotional intimacy in the relationship.

  Erectile dysfunction can be a total inability to achieve erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections. In older men, ED usually has a physical cause, such as disease, injury, or side effects of drugs. A disorder that causes injury to the nerves or impairs blood flow in the penis has the potential to cause ED. ED is treatable at any age, and awareness of this fact has been growing. More men have been seeking help and returning to normal sexual activity because of improved successful treatments for ED.

The following information is from NIDDK. Erectile dysfunction, sometimes called impotence, is the repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. The word impotence may also be used to describe other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse and reproduction, such as lack of sexual desire and problems with ejaculation or orgasm. Using the term erectile dysfunction makes it clear that those other problems are not involved

 Most physicians suggest that treatment proceed from least to most invasive. For some men, making a few healthy lifestyle changes may solve the problem. Quitting smoking, losing excess weight, and increasing physical activity may help some men regain sexual function. Cutting back on any drugs with harmful side effects is considered next. Psychotherapy and behavior modifications in selected patients are considered the next step if indicated.  The steps after that include oral or locally injected drugs, vacuum devices, and surgically implanted devices. In rare cases, surgery involving veins or arteries may be considered.

Things to keep in mind:

*ED, is the repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.

*ED usually has a physical cause.

*ED is treatable at all ages.

*Treatments include psychotherapy, drug therapy, vacuum devices, and surgery.

*ED affects 15-30 million American men.

 The forgoing information about ED was gathered on the website for NIDDK, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.

If you are not really sure what is wrong, have an appointment with your physician. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart disease, high cholesterol, vascular disorder, or diabetes. It does not matter if the dysfunction is sustained or intermittent; the cause of ED does not matter; in any case, it will negatively impact your relationship. Couples sometimes find that the ED is caused by a health problem or poor relationship dynamics.

So, we can see erectile dysfunction is multifaceted. The treatment may be simple. Opportunities for treatment are available. Use the appearance of ED to deepen your communication. Get information about ED. Pills are not the immediate answer. Consult your physician. Use this problem to enhance your relationship and deepen your emotional intimacy.

 It would appear ED is not the end of the world. It can be, if the couple allows the problem to go untreated. When ED happens, both partners are not happy, and blaming one or the other is not helpful. Realize you are on the same page: hating this situation. Do not fight each other, fight the situation. Relationship help may come in the form of marriage counseling for the couple to come to terms with this potentially stressful situation. Either partner may feel to blame and getting the best relationship advice for marital help may include a professional. Romantic relationship problems can be complicated, be gentle on yourself and your spouse. Relax and learn to enjoy in non-traditional ways.

©Copyright 2011 by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT. All Rights Reserved. All material is owned and protected. Reproduction without the express written consent of the author is forbidden.

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