It can be tricky getting your other half to see a healthcare professional at the best of times, so trying to persuade your partner that a quick chat might be helpful when the issue is erectile dysfunction (also known as ED) is even more difficult. But since it’s an issue that affects 4.3 million men in the UK* – it might help him to know he’s far from alone.
* Men reporting occasional and frequent difficulty getting or maintaining an erection [ref. Kantar TNS Omnibus Survey Dec 2010 – in a survey of 1,033 men]
It’s a sensitive issue, though - for both you and him, and confidence can be badly knocked on both sides. You might worry that he no longer finds you attractive, while he may feel that being unable to get or maintain an erection is a direct reflection on his masculinity, or that it’s just a natural part of the ageing process he has no control over.
Happily, none of these things are true. ED is a medical condition that means not enough blood flows to the penis to enable a man to either get an erection in the first place, or maintain an erection long enough to be able to make love.It’s also common for men to get erections that aren’t hard enough for sex.
Understandably, it only takes a few episodes of erectile dysfunction to make your partner feel embarrassed about his ‘performance’, meaning he might make excuses to avoid getting intimate in case it happens again, creating a cycle of frustration and anxiety for you both. This can make things worse, and because it’s such a sensitive subject it can be very difficult to address, even in very established and loving relationships.
But there are ways you can support him. Remember firstly that this is a medical problem, it’s nobody’s fault, and as such, it might help to talk about it from that perspective. Try opening up the conversation by saying something like: ‘I’ve read that these sorts of issues can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Do you think it would be worth a chat with your pharmacist?’ Be prepared for a negative response, or even anger, and remember that anxiety often provokes both, especially towards those closest to us. However, it may help him think about erectile dysfunction in a different way and reassure him it’s not ‘his fault’, or because of anything he’s done or hasn’t done.
It may also help if you:
- Carefully choose your time and place to chat. Don’t bring it up when you’re both under pressure, such as rushing out to work in the mornings. Pick a time you’re both likely to be feeling more relaxed - perhaps over a glass of wine in the evening.
- Use neutral, non-blaming language. Don’t tell him it’s a problem he can no longer avoid, or ‘must face up to’. Try not to ask if he no longer finds you attractive. Having to take on your stress and worries will only increase the pressure on him.
- Stay positive. Even if his initial reaction was to snap or shut down, let him know you’re still there for him. It might be days or even weeks later that he feels able to chat more openly about it.
- Suggest some solutions that minimise any embarrassment he might be feeling. For instance, he could try talking to a pharmacist rather than his GP if he feels this is a less formal or stressful way to approach things. And there are products that can help, such as VIAGRA Connect®, which is available without prescription and helps to increase blood flow into the penis. It gets to work within 30 to 60 minutes of taking a single dose in pill form, and is effective for up to four hours. He can even order VIAGRA Connect® online from a registered online pharmacy (after taking a short questionnaire to see if it’s suitable) if he doesn’t feel comfortable having a discussion with a pharmacist.
- Gently remind him that there are certain medical conditions that increase the risk of ED. These include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Problems with the heart or circulation can also restrict blood flow to the penis. Making sure there are no underlying health concerns can help you both feel more relaxed and confident about a happy, loving future.
VIAGRA Connect® is the first medicine available without a prescription in the UK to help men with erectile dysfunction. VIAGRA Connect® is available to buy from the pharmacy and registered online pharmacies.
VIAGRA Connect® 50mg film coated tablets. Contains Sildenafil. For erectile dysfunction in adult men. Always read the leaflet.
For more information on ED and VIAGRA Connect®, visit viagraconnect.co.uk