Erectile dysfunction (ED) doesn’t have to signal the end of your sex life. As many as 30 million men in the United States are affected by ED, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Many cases of it respond well to lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, or other treatments.
Even if your efforts to treat ED are unsuccessful, you and your partner can still enjoy physical intimacy and a satisfying sexual life. Learn some strategies to keep the spark in your relationship alive.
The most important tool for a satisfying sex life is communication with your partner, especially when you’re coping with ED or other challenges.
Talk openly about your desires and your fears. If you’re experiencing ED or low libido, your partner may worry that you no longer find them attractive. They may suspect they’re doing something wrong or undesirable. It’s important to reassure each other and remain supportive.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A good sex therapist can help you and your partner work through issues together and improve your sex life.
Anxiety is one of the biggest contributors to ED. In some cases, it may play a larger role than physiological problems. When you’re worried that you won’t be able to perform or enjoy yourself in bed, you’re less likely to enjoy yourself. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle.
Try not to focus on your ED when you’re getting intimate with your partner. Instead, enjoy the time you have together. Deep breathing exercises may help you relax. Massage techniques may also bring you simple pleasure and relaxation through touch. The more relaxed you are, the more ready you’ll be for a fulfilling and stress-free sexual experience.
Do you remember when you and your partner first started dating and every touch you shared was exciting? Do you remember what it was like to explore and discover each other’s likes and dislikes?
Try to relive that time together. Kiss and laugh and experiment. Take your mind off the clock and enjoy your time together. It’s OK if you need to do more touching and caressing to reach a state of arousal. You may even find that you love the extra foreplay and become more in tune with your partner than ever before.
Certain lifestyle habits can make ED worse. To help manage ED and enjoy a healthy sex life:
- quit smoking
- avoid heavy drinking
- avoid illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines
Certain medications can also contribute to ED, including some antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, painkillers, and drugs for Parkinson’s disease. If you suspect that your ED is linked to your medications, talk with your doctor. Ask them about alternative medications or other treatment options. Don’t stop taking medications without talking to them first.
Obesity is a contributing factor for ED for many men. Losing excess weight and getting regular exercise may improve your sex life.
Research reported in the Journal of the American Medical Associationsuggests that regular exercise and a calorie-restricted diet can help treat ED among obese men. Regular exercise can also improve your cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and overall well-being. This can help support a healthy sex life.
Some types of exercise may be especially useful. Scientists in the journal Sexual Medicine report that pelvic floor exercises can help treat ED. These “Kegel exercises” can also help treat urinary and bowel incontinence or “dribbling.”
Even if you can’t maintain a firm erection, you may still be able to orgasm. Even without intercourse, you and your partner can give each other a great deal of sexual pleasure. All you need is a little creativity.
Mutual masturbation can help you and your partner learn what you both enjoy. You can also use sex toys, such as vibrators, to stimulate each other. Both manual and oral stimulation can be very fun and satisfying.
And remember, sex doesn’t have stay in your bed. You can get intimate while watching a sexy movie or playing a risqué board game. Be adventurous and have fun!
For most people, physical intimacy is an important part of a happy and satisfying relationship. It’s possible to have a fulfilling sexual relationship even if you can’t maintain an erection.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications or other treatments to treat ED. You may have underlying health conditions that need to be addressed. For example, ED can be an early warning sign of heart disease.
For a truly satisfying and sustainable sex life, it’s important to take care of your overall health and practice good communication with your partner. Adjust your sexual expectations, adopt healthy habits, and find creative ways to satisfy each other’s needs.