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Coping with erectile dysfunction

(12 Posts)
teacherandguideleader Sun 05-May-13 07:40:45

I'm posting here because this is something that I can't talk about to friends etc.

My bf has erectile dysfunction. It was a year before we were able to have sex. Things were ok for a while, then we had a couple of times where it 'failed'. He now won't even try as he is so embarrassed if it doesn't work.

I don't know how long I can be in a relationship where there is no intimacy. I don't like to instigate anything at the moment as I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable and make him do anything he is not ready for. I also can't deal with the thought of being rejected because he doesn't want to.

Trouble is, other than that we have a great relationship. However, this makes me feel so down. He assures me it isn't me, but I can't help feeling like he doesn't fancy me or love me any more.

How do others cope? Any advice on how to manage my feelings?


Coffee1Sugar Sun 05-May-13 07:42:07

Do you have other physical intimacy? Oral sex? Fingers etc?

teacherandguideleader Sun 05-May-13 07:56:48

Not at the moment. At the start we used to and although we didn't have sex with each other we were still intimate and that was fine. I tried to be as understanding as I could. But since it started failing again (a couple of months ago) he has completely shut down.

He has admitted that I am the first person he has ever really had success with - with exes it was a case of it maybe worked once or twice.

The issue appears to be psychological, he worries about it failing which just makes it worse. It started working well when we discussed having a baby - I was in a school I hated and jobs were thin on the ground so we discussed bringing forward our plans, me sticking out my job in between maternity leave (if we were lucky enough to become parents) and then focus on my career afterwards. I then found a new job so a baby would not have been ideal and I went back on the pill. I think this is relevant because his ex had an abortion and he desperately wanted the baby - I think he is still scarred by this and maybe on some level is worried about the same situation happening again (although it wouldn't - timing may not be ideal but I'd be happy and he knows this, but I guess no one knows how the mind works).

I have had 2 exes how 'claim' to have had this problem - they didn't, they were just getting it elsewhere and didn't need me. This probably influences how bad I feel.

Sorry for this being so long, but this is really stuff I can't talk about in real life and it feels so good to be able to stop bottling it up.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 07:57:13

Is he getting treatment for the ED? Has he seen a GP?

teacherandguideleader Sun 05-May-13 08:06:03

No he isn't. I think he is too embarrassed to admit to anyone else that there is a problem. When we first got together I considered suggesting to him that if it hadn't worked within 6 months he should get help, but knowing it is psychological I thought that would probably make it worse as it would place more pressure on him.

I think maybe he should get some help. He is convinced his ex once spiked his drink with something and he said it was awful - I think he thinks that all the doctor will do is prescribe drugs. I'm not sure how to bring it up though without making him feel worse.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 08:11:49

You're miserable and your relationship is lacking a vital component. He knows this. If he really cared about you, he would overcome his embarrassment and go to the GP voluntarily. As it is - same as with his exes - he is doing nothing about it. If it's a mental problem, he needs psychiatric help. If it's a physical one, there is treatment.

So bring it up and be serious about it. If you couldn't have sex because he had a bad back you'd be accompanying him to chiropractors, no problem. I think you're probably at the same stage of frustration as the ex that spiked his drink and, if he doesn't start taking the problem seriously, no matter how nice he is you have to consider if a celibate future is what you actually want. Currently he's 'alright Jack'.... and I don't think that's at all fair.

prism Sun 05-May-13 08:27:01

I'm a bloke, and I've suffered from this on and off all my life. It got to the stage a couple of years ago when I went to the GP and was told in a rather offhand way that it's psychological, and, well, that was about it. I was expecting that he would prescribe me some Viagara to kick-start a return to normal behaviour, but he didn't. As it happens I was basically very fed up at the time, and once I wasn't, I was OK. But I would imagine that the Viagara solution would work, and I've heard from other men that it does.

Could I suggest that you go to your GP and talk about it yourself, as a way of coming up with a strategy? It definitely needs careful handling, as any kind of "pull yourself together" approach will definitely not work and make things worse. But there is plenty of help out there, and he obviously can have erections, so well worth doing. I imagine he might be thinking that if he goes for help and it doesn't work, he'll feel even worse about himself. Good luck.

teacherandguideleader Sun 05-May-13 08:34:57

Thanks. I'm trying my best to be understanding. We had a long discussion about it a couple of weeks ago where he admitted he didn't feel like a real man. I try to put myself in his shoes as I know there is a possibility I can't have children which makes me feel like a failure as a woman.

I know he probably needs to get help (maybe that should read we rather than he). He says the reason it worked before was because of my patience and understanding and the fact I didn't make it an issue. I wonder whether I should give myself a set amount of time (without mentioning it to him) and if it hasn't improved, then insist on help.

I have however just read another thread where people have been saying that erectile dysfunction likely means someone has a porn addiction, or is guilty because they have someone else.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 08:45:40

How long have you been together? You say there was no sex for a year, then a couple of times it was OK and now you're in a drought.... You know, sometimes people can be 99% what you want in a partner but, if the final 1% is really important and there is no chance of it being rectified, there's no shame in calling time.

XiCi Sun 05-May-13 08:49:39

OP, I've read that on MN before and think it's ridiculous and fucking insulting to men who suffer from ED to state they are cheaters or porn addicts. There are many causes of ED. Please encourage your DP to go to his GP.It may be that he has an easily treatable medical condition that is causing this. If not, and it is psychological they can help him to access treatment for that. It's a really common problem and they will be able to help.

prism Sun 05-May-13 08:57:52

Hmm. Interesting theory about the porn addiction or someone else. In my case it was definitely because of nerves- started at my first opportunity to have sex, and just couldn't get it up, presumably because I was intimidated by the thought of going through with it. Obviously things got better, and there are plenty of ex-partners of Prism who wouldn't believe this was me posting here, but the whole process of getting an erection is a huge confidence trick that, most of the time, works. But when it doesn't it's the most massive vicious circle of self-doubt.

Holidays help a lot too smile

DrEdUK Thu 09-May-13 16:34:25

Just to throw my two pence worth in... there are no guarantees that you can get ED treatment on the NHS.

You either have to have an underlying medical condition or for it to be causing you 'severe distress'

This is what the NHS have to say on the subject:

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