1. People & Relationships

Is Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction Damaging Your Marriage?

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Question: Is Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction Damaging Your Marriage?

I’m 34 and my husband is 30 years old. We have been married for 4 years and are having problems with sex in our marriage. For the last three years he has had a problem maintaining an erection when we have sex.

He has also become less interested in sex with me so the amount of sex we do manage to have has dwindled to less than once a month. I’m so frustrated sexually and emotionally over this and I have no idea what to do.

He refused to communicate with me about the problem or seeking advice from a doctor. I’m at the point of pulling my hair out. I’m a young woman and don’t want to live the rest of my life without a fulfilling intimate relationship with my husband. Please help me!

Becky

Answer:

Becky,

I will happily attempt to help you but I’m not sure anything will change if he doesn’t take steps to help himself. I think I can safely say that your husband is suffering with impotence and needs to see a doctor to determine what is causing him to lose erections.

Impotence can be a sign of medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes. I suggest you approach him in a loving way and let him know that you are not only concerned about the lack of sex in the marriage but also the possibility that the impotence could be masking a serious medical condition.

You may have more success with getting him to see a doctor if you make it about him and his health instead of him and his inability to perform in bed. There is also the possibility that he is dealing with low testosterone levels and needs testosterone replacement therapy.

Impotence can also be caused if there are psychological factors at play. If he is dealing with a lot of stress, has anxiety or depression or, maybe unresolved issues from his family of origin it may show interfere with his ability to maintain an erection.

Whatever the reason for the problem, impotence tends to snowball and become an even bigger problem due to a man’s fear of not being able to perform. One lost erection can lead to many lost erections if a man obsesses over the issue.

And then of course, there is the damage it can do to the self-esteem of the woman who loves the impotent man. Below are just a few of the feelings a woman in your position can experience:

  • Rejection
  • Sexual frustration
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Self-doubt
  • Unattractive
  • Abandoned

It is easy to internalize and blame yourself for his inability to perform in bed and begin to see yourself as less than desirable and attractive. The next thing you know you are feeling resentful of him which adds another layer to the problem in the relationship. One way to keep you from internalizing and taking responsibility for his erectile issues is to attempt to view the situation from his perspective.

Right now you may be thinking, “why can’t he get it up and keep it up?” I’d be willing to be he is thinking the same thing, “why can’t I get it up and keep it up?” Just like you, the issue is causing negative emotions and a loss of self-esteem in him. Below are a few of the feelings he may be having due to the problem:

  • Guilt
  • Despair
  • Embarrassment
  • Shame
  • Fear
  • Sexual frustration
  • Anger

He wants to have a fulfilling intimate relationship with his wife. The difference between him and you is, he is the one unable to function. Sense he is the one with the problem he is feeling sexual insecurity and probably questioning his masculinity. It has been three years of problems with erectile dysfunction for him; surely he is feeling as defeated and hopeless as you are.

Your way of coping with the problem is to communicate about it. It would seem that his way of coping is to compartmentalize, de-sexualize and refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. He doesn’t want to be viewed by you as a failure, especially not in that area of the relationship and he doesn’t want to view himself as a failure.

I encourage you to not only treat yourself kindly but him also. Get him to a doctor to rule out any health issues and to a marital counselor if it turns out there are psychological issues at play.

You are both young with many happy years ahead of you. This won’t be the first problem you need to tackle and find a solution to but it is one of the most important.

My best!

Cathy

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