Getting Intimate: Talking Together About ED
Find New Ways to Be Sexual Together
When you’re in the mood for having sex again, get creative. “In the routine of a long-term relationship, many couples get into a rut. They only use one or two positions. They rush through foreplay. Especially when people are very busy with the other aspects of their lives, there’s a tendency to rush to the finish line,” says Weston.
That kind of goal-directed sex, she says, puts a premium on getting an erection quickly -- adding to the pressure many men feel. Explore other ways of being physical that don’t depend on a firm erection and penetration, such as caressing or massaging each other.
Seek Outside Help
Talking to your doctor about erection problems is essential. Your doctor can rule out health problems associated with erection difficulties, such as heart disease or diabetes. Your doctor may also recommend an erectile dysfunction medication.
Some men depend on oral drugs (like Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra) to get an erection, says Zamboni. “But other men use them for a little while to regain their confidence and then no longer need them.” If ED drugs aren’t enough to address the problem, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who can discuss other options, including other medications, mechanical devices, or penile implants.
For some men, erectile dysfunction is caused by low sex drive related to having a low testosterone level. In that case, testosterone can help boost libido. Persistent erection problems can lead to depression and anxiety. Resolving the emotional aspects that interfere with intimacy and erections may help ease erection problems.
Many couples also benefit from seeing a sex therapist. “Even if erection problems have a physiological cause, sex therapists can help couples talk more openly and feel more intimate,” says Weston.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Erection problems aren’t resolved overnight. Even in the age of ED medications, a strong and intimate relationship depends on sharing feelings. Every relationship has its ups and downs, after all. Feelings get hurt. Sexual attraction waxes and wanes. Keeping the lines of communication is essential to both emotional and physical intimacy. “Sexual intimacy isn’t a beginning and ending process,” says Zamboni. “It’s something a couple works on every day of their relationship.”