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    How to support your partner with erectile dysfunction

    On this page
    1. Dealing with erectile dysfunction
    2. Being a partner to someone who has erectile dysfunction
    3. Communication is key
    4. Make some adjustments to your sex life
    5. Take the initiative and help your partner improve their symptoms
    6. Learn about ED

    Couple arm in arm

    Is your partner having some trouble in the bedroom? They’re not alone. Approximately 1 in 10 men in the UK will experience a problem related to sex during their lifetime, whether that’s erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE). It can be a challenging time for your partner, but we know that it can also be a difficult time for you too. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand the causes and treatments for erectile dysfunction, and how you and your partner might work together to tackle the symptoms.

    Dealing with erectile dysfunction

    Most men will struggle with ED at some point in their lives. Your partner can take comfort in the fact that plenty of other men have been in the exact same position, and it’s very much a treatable issue. It’s true that ED is more common in older men. It’s usually thought that this is because as men age, their blood flow slows, which can be a result of high cholesterol or blood pressure. However, that doesn’t mean that younger men don’t experience ED. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 1 in 4 men seeking treatment for ED are under the age of 40.

    From health conditions to lifestyle choices, ED can be prompted by a number of different things. Stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can all cause ED, and in some cases, ED can be the first indication of an underlying health problem. Although your partner might shy away from discussing their sexual health problems with a GP, it’s really important that a healthcare professional checks out any underlying causes. Remind your partner that GPs discuss these problems with patients on a daily basis, so there’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.

    Health problems aren’t the only cause of ED. Studies have found that smoking and illicit drug use affect a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection. Kicking these habits will help your partner make their ED a thing of the past. Don’t forget that ED could also be a side-effect of any medication that your partner is taking. They could chat to their GP about this, and find out whether there are any alternatives. For further information, advice about ED and the difference between treatments visit our ED information pages.

    Being a partner to someone who has erectile dysfunction

    If your partner is experiencing ED, it can be hard to know what to say and do, to make them feel better. Lots of men feel embarrassed about ED, but as we’ve discussed already, it’s completely normal, and lots of men experience it.

    So we’ve pulled together some of tips for broaching the subject of ED and your sex life with your partner. We’ve also got advice you can give them on lifestyle changes, which might make their symptoms better.  

    Communication is key

    Sexual health problems such as ED can put a real strain on your relationship. Not only can it be very frustrating for both you and your partner, but it can also lead to anxiety surrounding sex, whether that’s doubts as to whether there’s still a spark in your relationship or worry that you’ll be unable provide sexual satisfaction. You may find yourself avoiding sex, which in turn can create distance in your relationship. It doesn’t have to be this way. Try to remember that ED is not anyone’s fault, and take comfort in the fact that, with the right treatment, it is easy to overcome. Try to be open with your partner. Tell them about your worries, listen to their concerns, and support each other on the journey to seeking treatment for ED.

    Make some adjustments to your sex life

    In the meantime, try swapping sex for seduction. Move the focus away from intercourse and find other ways to pleasure each other. Perhaps spend more time on foreplay, kissing and cuddling, or try something new like watching or reading something erotic together.

    Take the initiative and help your partner improve their symptoms

    There are lots of things your partner can do to try to improve the symptoms of ED without taking any medication. The risk factors for ED are actually the same as for heart disease, and can be reduced by making certain lifestyle changes. And whether they help with your partner’s ED or not, they’ll definitely help to improve their general health. Why not make changes together? That way you’ll be able to support your partner, and your health will also benefit.

    • Losing a few pounds – If your partner is overweight, they might find that slimming down helps to improve the symptoms of ED.  Visit our weight loss clinic for more information and advice.
    • Quit smoking – Did you know that you’re more likely to quit smoking if you use a prescribed treatment than if you go it alone? Visit our online stop smoking clinic for comprehensive advice and support.
    • Eat a balanced diet and keep active – You’re more likely to make a permanent change to your diet and fitness if you make small changes initially and build up over time.
    • Try to reduce stress and anxiety – Between money troubles and work worries, life can be a bit overwhelming. Arrange to spend some quality time together to enjoy each other’s company in a new environment.
    • Cut back on the boozeExcessive alcohol consumption can cause ED, as well as a range of other health problems. As a rule, you should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.
    • Say no to illicit drugs – As well as being very damaging to our health, many recreational drugs can affect the ability to get or maintain an erection.

    Learn about ED

    Encourage your partner to look at their options, and together you can take the first step to getting your sex life back on track.


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