Impotence Imposes on Relationships
Expanding Definition of Sex
One of the benefits of treatment -- be it medical or
psychological, or a combination of the two -- says Donahey, is that it can
educate both partners about ED. It's important to realize, for example, that
just as a woman's sexual responses may change as she ages, so, too, do a man's.
"A man's sexual response rate also slows down as he gets older,"
Donahey points out. "Whereas in his 20s, he might have been aroused simply
by looking at his partner, in his 40s or 50s, he may need more direct
stimulation of the penis. A woman shouldn't take this as a sign that her
partner finds her unattractive."
Donahey also suggests that couples expand their definition of
what sexuality is so that they can maintain their physical intimacy. "Be
more flexible," she advises. "There's more to sex than just intercourse
... try manual stimulation, oral stimulation, stroking, kissing. These are all
a part of an intimate relationship and can lead to an orgasm for both
"Men can have an orgasm without an erection," Donahey
says. "Many people don't know that, or don't believe it, but it is
Many couples are reluctant to even begin any kind of physical
contact for fear of further disappointment. That, however, can lead to even
more of a physical distance between the couple, which can eventually take its
toll on the relationship. "It's important to maintain that sense of
intimacy," says Donahey. "Don't make intercourse the determining