Erectile Dysfunction Junction

Do you have any advice for coping when your partner suffers from low libido and erectile dysfunction? This was a communicated issue from the beginning of our relationship, but as work and other life issues have become more stressful his interest in sex has become non-existent. We haven’t had any sexual interaction in almost 2 months. It has left me feeling unloved and undesired but also a bit resentful as he’s not willing to see a doctor. The rest of our relationship is great but I miss the physical aspect of it. Do you have any suggestions?

There are a lot of reasons why someone may experience difficulty getting and staying erect. My assumption based on your post is that his low libido and his erectile dysfunction are connected and likely one in the same. It’s easy to jump to medicalization. Men are taught to connect a lot of their masculinity and their identity to their power, their sexuality, their penis. If their penis doesn’t work the way they want it to, it’s easier to discount that as a dysfunction – something that is outside of their control.

In many cases, low libido and the ability to get or stay hard are things that can be diagnosed at home, without going to see a doctor. My first question is always “what has changed?” and you answered this in your question. Work and other life issues have become more stressful. It’s impacting his ability to get in the zone (low libido) which influences what his penis is doing.

There are a lot of things that can influence libido and make it hard to get and stay erect. Life changes, life stress, depression, and medication are all super common reasons whys someone may not be able to put on their once predictable level of performance. Not to oversimplify this, but when the libido goes, it can be a huge shock to the system for anyone. Especially if your sexuality is deeply rooted in your identity.

It sounds like your partner knew that stress impacted his interest in sex and warned you ahead of time that this may come up. It sounds like your partner needs to find some ways to relax and detach from the stresses of his work and his life so that he can find the mental space for sex again. If he is depressed, medication may help, but medication could also further deplete his interest in sex. Having someone to talk to about the stress of work (a therapist) might help. Working together to find ways to wind down at the end of the day might also be of some help.

It’s hard to sit by and feel helpless when your partner is having a rough go of it. Your struggle as their partner is equally valid. Try to work together to find ways where your needs can be met in other ways. There are a lot of ways to be physically intimate that don’t require his penis to be hard. Exploring some of these options can help you feel more fulfilled, and may even boost his libido when he least expects it.

Massages, cuddling, naked cuddling, using sex toys together, masturbating, oral sex, fingering, dirty talk, pornography, or literotica. Having him be more attentive in other ways may fill some of the gaps.  Have him take a moment and chat with you at the end of the day with no distractions, go away on a short vacation together to re-connect, have a meal out or cook a meal together, read books together, play video games together, do some of the things you used to do together at the start of your relationship. Discuss ways where you can both initiate these things so it’s not all on him or all on you.

Finally, look at the issue you’re having holistically. I’m not saying going to see a doctor would be a bad thing, or that it wouldn’t help, but make sure that if he’s seeing a doctor he’s also considering the other things in his life that may be contributing to his libido that can’t be eased with the wonders of science. You’ll both be better off for putting in that thought, and that work, together. Good luck, and I hope this gets harder soon.

Have questions about sex or love? Submit at Ask Suggestive and I’ll answer it on my blog! Goal for this week: When your partner is going through a rough time, what is one thing that really makes them feel appreciated? We so often think of what we would want in moments of crisis, but this isn’t always the same as what our partner would want in a moment of crisis. Discuss care packages with your partner and how they can combine both emotional and tangible assistance as you work through difficult times together. 

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