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I'm worried ED will ruin our relationship(36 Posts)
Long time poster but NC for this.
I am 34 and have been in a relationship with a 43yo lovely chap since May this year. It's getting serious - meeting each other's parents and siblings and planning to move in together next year. I've kissed a LOT of frogs and this one is different - an actual considerate, kind, loving man.
He's had ED problems from the get go. He said he'd had problems all his life really but after a while in a new relationship things tended to settle down as he gained confidence. (Plus apparently he doesn't have any problems during one night stands ).
Fast forward to now. Now he can maintain an erection and ejaculate with a combination of oral and hands (team effort), but he hasn't yet been able to sustain an erection during sex. It's not really getting any better.
He's been reluctant to go to the doctor but I eventually managed to get him to go and he's had various blood tests and urology appointments. No underlying health issues and nothing physically wrong with his plumbing. In all likelihood it's psychological. He was made redundant over the summer and is struggling to find a new job, so his anxiety is fairly high at the moment overall (and probably not helping).
I have been patient and supportive - trying all sorts of things to stimulate and inspire him. A cock ring hasn't done the trick. I've tried to keep it light and unpressurised, but recently I have been finding it harder to suppress my frustration and disappointment as yet another session ends with him using his hand or just giving up.
The other day we had managed to get an erection and start in missionary, but then it faded within about 30 seconds. I'm not proud but I burst into tears. I can't help feeling that (because I am a bit overweight) deep down he might not really find me attractive - it seems to be when he's looking at me/my body that he loses it. And all these stories about how he's been OK with other women!
I'm so worried about the future. I thought this was the one - that we would have an amazing sex life together (once his initial nervousness died down), that we would be able to have kids. If it never gets better I don't think I could bear it.
I'm already finding I don't really want to initiate sex any more because I know it will be unsatisfying and even a bit upsetting. I am so tired of thinking about his penis so much! I want our relationship to be more than this but it hangs over us like a cloud.
He says now that he'll talk to the GP about Cialis or similar. I am wondering if that would be a superficial fix for a deeper problem.
I would welcome perspectives on this. I haven't had to deal with this before. Does anyone have any experiences they could share? How can I make myself feel better about this? How do I talk to him about this without adding pressure, making him more anxious, and making it even worse?
It does sound like a lot to deal with in a new relationship. Traversing it is going to mean excellent communication - in and out of the bedroom. It's one of those things where if your relationship makes it through it entact and with you both genuinely satisfied, you'd have a massively sting foundation for the future.
My experience of ED is very different from yours as when my late husband was ill - basically side effect from the treatment he was having. So I don't know what advice I can offer except that female orgasms are very rarely dependant on PIV. If yours is then you've got a problem. As you also have if this chaps attention is on his orgasm and not yours. (We learned quite quickly to focus on me first...)
I don't know much about ED caused by psychological issues but it would make sense that when he was less emotionally involved and less invested that it was perhaps easier to perform than with you? But he shouldn't be talking about ONS unless you really want to and it doesn't sound like that's helpful for you..?
Has he tried Viagra? If not, that would be my advice.
Thanks for replying Somerville. I don't orgasm through PIV alone - and he's happy to give me plenty of oral. Which is lovely, but I do love having sex. And, in the future, I am thinking about how we will need to conceive to start a family...
I think he spoke about ONS to reassure me that it has worked before. I guess he didn't realise it would make me think that the issue was me, not him. I think I'm quite insecure though.
Hi Husky - we have spoken about that. But he hasn't done anything about it... he doesn't like the idea of taking drugs.
Would he be happy to live without sex?
I think you're taking an awful lot on, tbh.
I was in a relationship with someone who had this issue years ago. It was a huge issue in our relationship and we didn't end up together long term, not entirely because of this. He would tell me that he had had success with someone else (that turned out to be a big lie) and he refused to engage with any services, despite me saying I would support him. You have jolted the part of me that felt rejected by it though, I had forgotten about that. I completely understand that feeling for you, I have low self-esteem and it hit something really deeply there, even more so as he told other people we had a good sex life and something about that lie made it so much more intolerable.
As difficult as it may be, I have hope when I read your post, that perhaps this can be dealt with the two of you together, that perhaps if a solution can be found you will come out stronger. Obviously none of us know the outcome when we are stuck in the middle of something but I wish you luck whatever direction this goes. I also urge you to listen to the part of you that questions is this is about you, as that part needs attention, you don't want to lose yourself in this.
My newish partner suffers from ED. Like you I became quite anxious regarding myself although I consider myself to be reasonably attractive my self confidence took a battering.
I became obsessed about the shape & size of his previous partners, how wild was their sex life until my anxiousness added to the problem. At no point did he ever make me question myself.
I started to read everything I could about ED & realised the nights things were definitely NOT happening where linked to events that had happened during his day (exW, children etc).
We have many passionate evenings without intercourse but like you I do like penetrative sex. Eventually, he went to the doctor & was prescribed Viagra & well what can I say ? They are very tight with the prescriptions so we have to save them for more 'special' occasions .
I would definitely encourage your DP down this route. Good luck
Does he get spontaneous erections in his sleep? Does he wake with morning wood? If he doesn't, it points to a physical problem but if he does it could be psychological.
Sildenafil, which is the generic version of Viagra, is now available on NHS England prescription, or on private prescription (though you need to shop around as there are some rip-off pharmacists out there). Having suffered from ED a lot due to a medical problem which it took something like 15 years for the doctors to find (the medical profession is still not very clued up on male sex-related problems), I find that sildenafil usually does the business in that it produces a good erection (though can make it more difficult to ejaculate at the end). There are some side effects but you get used to them.
ED can also be indicative of problems that at first sight might not seem to be connected. It's often caused by Type 2 diabetes for example, or heart problems.
In your position I would encourage him to try some sildenafil and take it from there.
(When I first got sildenafil DW asked me why. Now she asks me to take one.)
Don't worry about bursting into tears. I've burst into tears about my husbands ED many times though these days I try to make sure he doesn't see because I worry he'd feel worse.
I've also felt unattractive and unwanted. Though everything I've read has said, whilst normal to feel like that, it's probably not due to those things (though, no matter how many times I read it, I still worry about it). My husband says he just wants to make me happy, he's terrified of losing me, I'm all he's got. I think it's this anxiety that creates the problem. He worries about losing his erection, so then it happens and it becomes a vicious cycle.
We've not tried any pills yet. I've heard some couples find they only needed them a few times, just to break the cycle and then they don't need them anymore. So maybe trying them isn't a bad idea.
OK first of all you have my sympathy and understanding, this situation can really affect your confidence I know. My husband has had this problem on and off his whole adult life, it's not a physical problem for him either it's definitely psychological, he thinks it's something to do with his mother's repressed and puritanical attitude to sex. Anyhow we've been dealing with this on and off since we first met 11 years ago.
The trouble is it becomes a vicious circle, it's a sort of self fulfilling prophecy for them. The only advice I can give is keep talking to each other about it, keep reassuring each other, and make each other feel loved in other ways. There is a book that has helped us when we are feeling down about it, it's on the Relate website in their shopping bit (click on quick links then bookshop).
The GPs cannot prescribe Viagra on the NHS unless it's for a physical cause, my husband did manage to get a private prescription for some and they help just to give him a boost of confidence when he really needs it - but they are not a cure. Don't be tempted to buy them on the Internet it's too risky.
If he's a good man then hang on to him and try and see this through. Oh and tell him to shut up about his one night stands!
If he can orgasm through wanking is death grip the problem?
Lots of places now have funded Psychosexual services accessed through GP referral or through you local sexual health service? Or London have national referral services if you can get there and your local hospital doesn't have one.
Relate also offer private support and aren't horrendously expensive.
ED is fairly common and like a poster said above, great communication, not focusing purely on Penetration and keeping up intimacy is all a good start.
Thanks for replying all! I really appreciate it.
Oohh - he was very overweight for years and was single/sexless from late 20s to late 30s. So he has lived without sex for long periods before (not happily I think, but he's not a great one for being proactive and rectifying a bad situation).
Meemolly - I do hope you're right. If we ended up breaking up (with this as a contributory reason) then it would be awful. Thinking about the pain it would cause him makes me extremely sad.
itsjustamess - yes I'm wondering if the days he's had a particularly frustrating run-in with a recruitment agent are the days when it's particularly bad. His slightly lackadaisical approach to job hunting is a whole new thread, however...
Talbot - he does get morning wood. I am convinced it's all in his head, really.
Monkey - I am sorry you're having problems too
missy - I will try to find that book, thanks.
niceup - I thought that. He seems to have to go so fast when he's using his hand - it's not really representative of a mouth or a vagina. He's stopped, ahem, pleasuring himself when he's not with me, so he's trying to wean himself off it. But it seems very engrained even so.
fempsych - do you think there would be huge waiting lists for that sort of thing? I'm again worried that bringing this up with him would be more evidence of me nagging and seeming to be obsessed about this. Plus he's not really a one for talking about his innermost workings - I'm not sure how well talking therapy would work for him - but I guess it's impossible to know that before you've tried it?
Just a word of caution here. A family member was with a guy for 12 yrs with similar condition. GP eventually prescribed Viagra, then guy decides he is really a homosexual instead!
From everything you've said (and I know we only obviously have the limitations of being on a forum) it sounds very rooted in his psychology. It sounds like a good idea to try and 'wean' off self pleasuring, or perhaps to experiment with different hand positions, or anything that is less based in what he has done for so long on his own. Good luck.
I understand the crushing disappointment, feeling unattractive and reticence to intiate anything. My symtpathies.
If he gets a morning erection, chances are its in the mind/bad habits. I would second looking into death grip especially if he went so long without sex. that's what he'll be used to. there are things you can try for dealing with death grip.
I'm too far down the road and am divorcing. ED was another nail in the coffin. I wasn't the best dealing with it and I didn't really have the internet when we started out.
What could be some things to try about death grip?
Sounds very "normal" for a person who has had little experience, some low self esteem issue and wight problems, to be honest.
One of my best friend and her DP went to therapy for something similar. They are fine now. As far as I remember they follow some (fun) guideline who I believe are pretty standard/first thing couple are asked to try.
For example no sex allowed but lot of touching, sharing showers, bath, massage, put the focus on the whole body... cannot remember but you get the idea. Than they both agree on adding each time something extra. She told me it was very rewarding and there was pleasure in having some kind of restrains too. And so on...
I am sure you can find lot of literature on line or ask your GP
He should be reassured too that the pill is ok too, and a temporary solution so he can gain confidence and with that relax more about the all thing
Hope it works out for you two guys
You've been with this guy six short 'honeymoon' months. That's like a teeny tiny nanosecond. You're at the very, very, beginning of finding out what he's like. What you do know is he's lackadaisical re searching for job (if it's 'worth another thread' it's significant) and the ED is a big deal and he often 'gives up' and you haven't really been able to have the sex you want.
I would suggest shelving plans for moving and having babies. Just put all that on hold and see how the ED thing pans out. Too much pressure for a very young relationship.
Lots of good advice here.
Handy I agree it's early days, but I can't help trying to plan forwards. His age and mine are considerations about parenthood. Although I know I am pretty young I feel like he's the only guy in decades that I've thought could be the one. Going back to start over and find another... makes me worry i would never be a mum.
I think going and finding another might be quicker than sorting this problem out, OP, tbh.
This all sounds like a nonstarter and not just because of the ed. I really wouldn't be considering planning a family while there are such issues - the job situation, self esteem and confidence in general mean he isn't sounding like great father material right now.
I'd have a serious talk and then think about cutting your losses if there's no sign of him addressing things, otherwise you may find yourself caring for a baby and a man child.
Could be one of many possible situations
Excellent advice from BoxingHelena. I've found giving a massage can be a real turn on too
Has to be a total ban on masturbating when you're not there
Sildenafil can be prescribed online from companies like Lloyds for less than the price of a cheap meal out. So no excuses there
Hope it works out for you
My DH has ED tendencies. He has viagra and one that lasts for longer (I forget its name). I have read a lot about it and basically his brain gets confused and thinks it should stop having an erection sooner than it should. Viagra helps to maintain the erection. It doesn't make it happen when he's not turned on but it stops it subsiding at the wrong moment.
I have cried about it. There was some time when I had been trying to make him orgasm and couldn't and then realised that really there wasn't much in it for me and I wasn't sure I could keep on like that. He went to the doctor and got some viagra.
We don't use it every time - it seems to have helped retrain his brain and generally his erections do last long enough for PIV sex generally now.
I always knew the ED was there and I knew that I wanted to be with him and that this was just something about him,like I have poor eye sight. You need to do what you feel comfortable with.
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