Tips for Sexually Frustrated Couples
It’s Not the End of Sex
18 million men in the US are affected by erectile dysfunction. Many cases respond to medications, exercise, and surgeries available to treat ED. Unfortunately, not every case of ED can be improved.
Even if you are unable to benefit from pharmaceutical treatment and other therapies to improve erectile dysfunction, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on sex. You and your partner can continue to enjoy a sexual life and intimacy that is very satisfying.
Communication is Key
The most important tool toward a satisfying sex life when coping with ED is communication with your partner. Talk openly about your desires and your fears.
Your partner may feel that some aspect of your ED may be due to you no longer finding your partner attractive. They may feel that they are doing something wrong or are undesirable. Reassure each other and be supportive.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A good sex therapist can help you work through any issues and really improve your sex life.
Learn to Relax
Anxiety is one of the biggest contributors to ED, perhaps even more so than physiological problems. If you worry that you will not be able to perform or enjoy yourself, it becomes much less likely you can perform or enjoy yourself. It’s a vicious cycle.
Try not to think about it. Just enjoy the time with your partner. It’s important to relax.
Try deep breathing exercises together, or learn massage techniques to bring simple pleasures through touch. The more relaxed you are, the more ready you are for a fulfilling, stress-free sexual experience.
Relearn How to Play
Remember when you first started dating, and each touch was exciting? Remember learning each other’s likes and dislikes, teasing and being playful?
Try that all over again. Relearn each other. Kiss and nibble and laugh a bit.
Don’t worry about time or trying to get to an end. Just try to enjoy each other.
Sex is about more than “tab A into slot B”. It’s okay to have to do a lot of touching and caressing to reach a state of arousal. In this, men and women become more alike as they get older, and you may be more in tune with your partner than ever before.
What to Avoid
Erectile dysfunction is made worse by certain behaviors.
To regain a healthy sex life, quit smoking.
Alcohol is especially bad for maintaining an erection in older men, and heavy drinking inhibits erections in all men.
Illicit drugs can be connected to impotence, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines.
Other medications can contribute to ED, including certain antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, painkillers, and Parkinson’s medications. Talk with your doctor about finding alternatives. Do not stop taking your medications.
Exercise Has A Lot of Benefits
Obesity is a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction, and aerobic exercise has been shown to improve ED. Improving your cardiovascular health is a positive step in obtaining sexual health.
Even more promising, pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help improve the sexual health of both men and women. Improving the strength of these muscles can improve the ability of the penis to engorge with blood, as well as help improve urinary and bowel incontinence or “dribbling”.
Playing with Toys
Even if a firm erection cannot be maintained, it is completely possible for a man to orgasm. Even without vaginal or anal intercourse, a couple can give each other a great deal of sexual pleasure with a little creativity.
Sex toys, like vibrators, can be used by both partners to stimulate. Mutual masturbation can allow each partner to learn what the other enjoys. Manual and oral stimulation can be fun and very satisfying.
Be adventurous. Sex doesn’t just happen in the bedroom, but can start while watching a sexy movie or playing a risqué board game. Have fun!
Don’t Give Up
Intimacy is an important part of a happy, lasting relationship. You may have to change your definitions and expectations, but you can have a fulfilling sexual relationship even without a mythical “rock-hard” erection.
And don’t think that popping pills, especially without a doctor’s prescription, will fix the problem. ED can be an early warning sign for more serious conditions like heart disease. For a truly long, satisfying sex life for your whole life, take care of your overall health.
- Alterowitz, R. & Alterowitz, B. (2009, April 27). Intimacy with Impotence: The Couple’s Guide to Better Sex After Prostate Disease. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://books.google.com/books?id=6N_2kfNhbi0C
- Dorey, G. et al. (2005, September). Pelvic floor exercises for erectile dysfunction. BJU International, 96(4), 595-597. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05690.x/pdf
- Drugs that May Cause Impotence. (2012, October). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004024.htm
- 18 Million Men in the United States Affected by Erectile Dysfunction. (2007, February 1). Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2007/selvin-erectile-dysfunction.html
- Erectile Dysfunction. (2012, February 10). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/DS00162/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- Erectile Dysfunction Fact Sheet. (2010, September). McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/erectile_dysfunction.html
- Esposito, K. et al. (2004, June 23/30). Effect of Lifestyle Changes on Erectile Dysfunction in Obese Men. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(24), 2978-2984. Retrieved July 2, 2013, from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=198993