Maybe you have been avoiding intimacy in the bedroom altogether to avoid any awkward feeling of being unable to get or keep an erection. Or perhaps you have just noticed that you have been experiencing a lower sex drive, and you may be wondering what you can do to improve the situation.
Before anything else, you must know that there is nothing inherently wrong with or unusual about changes in your sexual desires or ability to keep an erection. Of course, as you get older, your sex drive and your ability to keep an erection decline. But, sometimes, trouble with getting or maintaining erections can be a sign of another problem — either physical or emotional — that needs to be addressed. In these cases, the issues you may have currently with getting or holding an erection usually disappear, and most people feel much more confident and excited about intimacy again.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
According to the Mayo Clinic, erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for penetrative sex. While having trouble getting or keeping an erection from time to time is absolutely no cause for concern, when it becomes more frequent, it can affect your self-confidence and cause stress.
One important thing to get out of the way right off the bat is that problems keeping an erection are extremely common, and the older you get, the more common erectile dysfunction is. Causes for erectile dysfunction can be physical or emotional, and frequently both play a part in your ability or inability to keep an erection.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction usually include persistent trouble getting an erection, keeping an erection, and a reduced sex drive.
Signs You May Want Support
If you are feeling uncomfortable or otherwise concerned about your ability to get or keep an erection, you may be wondering what you can do. Talking about erectile dysfunction can feel embarrassing or cause anxiety for many people. Still, in reality, this is an issue that can frequently be solved by addressing the underlying causes.
There are a couple different types of support that you may find when it comes to coping with erectile dysfunction. The first type of support that you may want to seek is medical support. We know it can feel embarrassing to talk to your doctor about something as personal as your sex life, but sometimes erectile dysfunction can be linked to specific health conditions that your doctor can help you work through. For example, suppose you are experiencing other symptoms alongside erectile dysfunction, or you have diabetes or another known disease with links to erectile dysfunction. In that case, you may want to bring it up with your doctor.
Another type of support that you may want to have is therapy. There are a number of different types of therapy, and when you are looking for solutions for what is going on in the bedroom, you may want to opt for sex therapy (either individually or with your partner), which brings us to our next section.
How Sex Therapy Can Help
Some people have a misconception that “sex therapy” means therapy through sex. This is not what sex therapy is. In a nutshell, sex therapy is about working with a therapist to change sexual behaviors and overcome the issues you may have in your sex life.
This branch of therapy can be done individually or as a couple, and both of these variations have their own benefits. Sex therapy is about helping you to understand how emotions can easily tie into and affect your sex lives. When it comes to erectile dysfunction, this can take shape in the stress from your life or feeling distanced from your partner, affecting your ability to get an erection. There are also many other ways that what is going on in life around us can affect our sex drive and performance in bed.
What to Expect From Sex Therapy
A large part of sex therapy (especially in a couples session) is recognizing that no matter the problem, both partners share the responsibility to solve it.
In sex therapy, you and your partner will learn about sexual techniques and how to better communicate with each other in and out of the bedroom about your sexual desires and needs. Sex therapy can also help you to change any negative or stigmatized attitudes or opinions you and your partner may have about what sex is and what it “should be.”
Sex therapy sessions may involve things like:
- Talking about the possible causes for any sexual problems either of you may be having
- Performing psychological tests
- Talking about the natural changes to our bodies and sexual desires over time
- Receiving suggestions to help enhance sexual enjoyment for both you and your partner
Tips for Coping with Erectile Dysfunction
Everyone copes with things in their own ways. But, when it comes to dealing with something like erectile dysfunction, you can follow a few tips to ensure that you are coping healthily and productively.
For some reason, many people think that to be a “man,” you need to be strong, have everything figured out, and have satisfying penetrative sex. Where does this idea even come from? For many of us, it comes from what we hear from caregivers, friends, and even the media. But is any of that even true?
What makes a “man”? What makes up masculinity? Redefining what it means to be masculine can help alleviate some of the pressure you put on yourself to perform well in the bedroom and satisfy your partner “as a man should.”
Take Care of Yourself
Sometimes erectile dysfunction is connected to health issues. Because of this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can sometimes actually help to prevent or solve problems with erectile dysfunction.
Try to exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, and get enough sleep. These are the three most important things we can do to care for our bodies.
Talk to a Therapist
We know we’ve already talked about sex therapy and how it can help you and your partner work through any sexual problems you may be experiencing. But, another helpful benefit of speaking to a therapist is that often you can more effectively discover and address the underlying issues that are affecting your ability to get or keep an erection.
This means that therapy can not only help you to accept and understand changes to your body and your sexual needs, but it can also help you to solve the underlying issues you may be having. Issues that negatively affect your ability to have and enjoy sexual intimacy with your partner.
If you’d like to get started with a sex therapist and receive personalized guidance and suggestions on how to best cope with and work through erectile dysfunction, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow.