Erectile dysfunction? Here's how to take the pressure off in the bedroom
Reviewed by our clinical team
If the man in your life experiences erectile dysfunction (ED), there’s a good chance it’s putting pressure on your relationship and causing him stress.
The good news is that men living with ED don’t have to suffer in silence as there are plenty of treatment options available. Your partner’s first step should be going to his GP as he may have an underlying health condition that needs addressing.
However, ED isn’t just a problem to tackle with a trip to the doctors – there’s plenty that you can do at home too. With that in mind, read on for our top tips on how to spice up your sex life and make things easier and more enjoyable for your partner.
Expand your definition of sex
ED aside, one of the best things you can do for your sex life is get a little more creative in the bedroom – and we’re not talking about edible body paint.
Lots of us equate sex with penetration, but there are worlds of fun and pleasure to be had from oral sex, fingering, mutual masturbation, intimate massage and using sex toys. So if your partner is struggling to get erections, remind him that there are other pleasurable acts you can both participate in that don’t require him to get or stay hard throughout.
Remember: a man doesn’t need to maintain an erection to enjoy sex and have orgasms, so it’s OK to mix things up. You can find out more about non-penetrative sex here.
Ask him what feels good
Talking about sex isn’t always comfortable, especially if you’re both aware that your sex life could be better. But one of the best ways to improve your partner’s experience in the bedroom is to ask him what he likes, and to share what you like too.
Getting honest about your fantasies and preferences – whether it’s dirty talk, roleplay, sex toys or just a new position – is a real turn on and a great way to bring you closer as a couple. And you can have lots of fun planning your next encounter!
Make sure he’s comfortable
Comfort is really important in sex – in every sense of the word!
Before sex try to make sure that your partner feels as relaxed and safe as possible. He might need to take a warm shower beforehand or request that you dim the lights. Or it might be a case of sitting down and talking through what he wants to do – if he’s not able to get erections, he may need to make it clear that penetrative sex is off the table.
Spend special time together outside of the bedroom
Good sex is not just about setting aside a couple of hours a week to meet in the bedroom. It should take place in the context of a loving and intimate relationship bolstered by plenty of quality couple time.
Try to set aside a few hours each week to cook and eat together, go out for drinks or to see some live music, or curl up on the sofa with a good movie (no phones allowed).
When you’re stretched for time remember that a hug, a kiss and saying “I love you” can go a long way.
Embrace ED tablets
ED tablets like Viagra and Cialis aren’t a cure for erectile dysfunction but they’re a really effective way to combat symptoms in the short term. Some people feel that there’s a stigma around using these tablets, but there’s usually no reason not to give them a try.
Depending on the type, ED tablets take 30 minutes to one hour to work, and normally have to be taken on an on an empty stomach preferably without alcohol.
Take your time
If your partner is having treatment to improve his ED it might take time to get your sex life back on track. Though it’s understandable to feel let down or even unwanted if your partner is turning down sex, it’s important to give him time to work through it at his own pace. Feeling pressured into sex is likely to heighten his performance anxiety and decrease his enjoyment.
Try sex therapy
It’s difficult to admit but, sometimes, erectile dysfunction is caused by issues in the relationship. It may be that you still both love each other, but that health changes, money worries or other stresses are getting in the way, and making it difficult for you both to get pleasure from sex.
Going to a sex therapist can be really helpful as your therapist will help you pinpoint the issues you’re having, and suggest ways to resolve them. It’s also an opportunity to speak honestly and openly to your partner about how you feel. To learn more, visit the Relate website.