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    A Partner’s Guide to Erectile Dysfunction

    Get to the Root of ED continued...

    In younger men, Shoskes says, the problem is most often psychological. Stress, depression, and performance anxiety, especially when in a new sexual situation, can be the cause.

    Medications, especially beta-blockers for high blood pressure and certain antidepressants, also can lead to erection problems.

    In most of these cases, ED medications like Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra can help. “They work, they have few side effects, and they’re not addictive,” says Kerner.

    If pills don’t do the trick, there are other options, including vacuum pumps, injections that the man gives himself, and implanted devices. If you have a heart disease, though, these medications may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor.

    In some cases, frequent masturbation may cause a man to be unable to perform with a partner.

    If your partner’s problem is low testosterone (symptoms include lack of sex drive and very low energy), testosterone therapy can lead to “dramatic improvement,” says Shoskes.

    What You Can Do

    These six suggestions can make it easier to cope with your partner's ED.

    1. Try something new. “Very often a big, big first step is just enhancing arousal,” says Kerner. This can mean ramping up foreplay, reading or watching something sexy together, or coming up with a suggestion for something you haven’t tried before, says Kerner.

    2. Take the pressure off. Take the emphasis off the penis, says Kerner, and “try something else for a little bit of time.” That can include oral sex, sex toys, and a vibrator, he says. “Try putting his hand on the vibrator and showing him exactly what feels good.”

    3. Have a conversation. Start with your own feelings about the situation, and be empathetic, says Kerner.

    4. Go with your guy to the doctor. “The patients who are the most successful are those where the sexual partner is a true partner,” says Shoskes. “If the woman can come in, that’s a huge help.”

    5. Have patience with pills. These drugs work, but erections don’t happen on command.

    6. Encourage him to get heart-healthy. “Good heart and vascular health ends up being good penis health,” says Shoskes. “It may not reverse erection problems that are there already, but it certainly may reduce their progression.”

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    Reviewed on December 13, 2015

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