two blood orange petals unfolding to reveal a green stem against a pink backgroundShare on Pinterest
Design by Alexis Lira

Q: My partner has ED and I’m scared that we’ll never have sex again! Is there anything I can do to help? Are there ways to treat ED without medication?

The best way to help your partner is by providing a safe and nonjudgmental space.

If your partner is having trouble obtaining or maintaining an erection, the last thing they need is to take on more stress or upset.

It’s OK to be frustrated at the situation, but it’s best to save this for your journal or a vent session with a close friend.

You may also find it helpful to expand your definition of sex.

If you want to try something different in the bedroom

If you and your partner define satisfying sex as having penetrative sex with an erect penis, it’s worth exploring other forms of pleasurable sexual activity.

Sex play with a soft penis, for example, may allow for a different and gentler type of intimacy, one that your relationship might appreciate.

Once safety and acceptance are in place, you and your partner can begin to explore different types of touch that create arousal and pleasure.

If you want to recommend a few treatment options

And if you’re passing along information to your partner, be sure to share that it is possible to treat erectile dysfunction without medication — especially if you adopt an antioxidant-rich diet.

Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet, in particular, can help ease erectile dysfunction by improving overall cardiovascular health.

You may also consider talking to your partner about adopting a mindfulness-based practice (remaining open, curious, and nonjudgmental). By doing so, they’re more likely to be able to focus on learning what feels pleasurable instead of focusing on performance.


Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, one of only a few programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Dr. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including O: The Oprah Magazine, HuffPost, Playboy, Women’s Health, Thrive Global, and Midweek Publications. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.