More than half of men aged 40-70 have experienced ED at some point, yet a new survey has found that more than 80% of women underestimate how common the condition is.
This lack of understanding means women often find it difficult to discuss ED with their partners and many misunderstand the causes.
In fact, the research showed that 42% of women feel that their partner’s ED is their fault, with almost a fifth (19%) believing their partner no longer finds them attractive.
"I thought it was something to do with me" was a comment that was seen time and time again in the report results.
The survey of 2,000 people, compiled by Superdrug Online Doctor, also found that more than a third of women (35%) believe ED has had a negative effect on their relationship.
However, more than 40% of the women surveyed hadn't taken steps to find answers or treatments.
Of those women who did seek help, three quarters felt more positive about the situation afterwards and commented that "it made us closer to find a way to solve the problem" and "initially it made us feel less close but only for a short time. We are much stronger now."
The three most helpful sources were their GP (45%), online research (35%) and their own partner, with almost one in 10 claiming their partner was the best source of support.
The good news is nearly a quarter of women said they felt optimistic that a solution to ED could be found, a fifth (20%) felt better knowing they weren’t the cause of the problem and 13% saw an improvement in their relationship after seeking help.
To help couples get the conversation started, Superdrug Health Ambassador Dr Pixie McKenna has provided her top expert tips to get couples tackling ED together:
1. Don’t ignore the issue, not only won’t it go away, it is actually likely to worsen.
2. Take the problem out of the bedroom when you find the time to talk about it.
3. Don’t rush in and blurt things without thinking about what you are both going to say to each other and the consequences of those words.
4. It’s important to medicalise the problem by referring to it as ED rather than using words with negative connotations such as ‘impotence’.
5. Talking about it is one thing, the next step it tackling it. If you make progress in discussions, the next step is to make an action plan. If at first you don’t succeed don’t assume this means failed, it just means you haven’t yet reached a solution.
6. Remember the importance of romantic actions and gestures, that peck on the cheek or arm round the should reinforces your bond when you feel that you might be drifting apart.
7. Nominate a date night; relationships are not just about sex, romance can be key.
8. Be honest with each other. Speaking about ED is the time to lay your cards on the table and talk frankly about how life is going; stress and depression can be big players where ED is concerned, as can drugs and alcohol.
9. Do some background reading on ED and the affected partner or the other person in the relationship may recognise that the presenting problem represents far more than not being able to perform. It could be the symptoms of an underlying medical issue so don’t dismiss it.
10. Interact with a health care professional face-to-face or online to find out what treatments are available.