How can I help my partner deal with erectile dysfunction?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
A man with erectile dysfunction isn't the only one who's affected by it; the impact extends to his partner as well. As his partner, you may want to help but not know how. Here are suggestions for some things you can do.

Discuss the issue. Good communication is the foundation of an enduring relationship. Confront any concerns you may have about erectile difficulties by discussing your feelings and telling your partner that you care. Often it's best to talk at a time and place where both people will feel less vulnerable -- that is, not while in bed with your clothes off.

Reassure your partner that he is not alone. Remind him (and yourself) that millions of men have erectile dysfunction and that it's a treatable medical condition.

Learn about the condition and treatment options. Information truly is empowering. The best treatment for erectile dysfunction is one that you both agree will fit most comfortably with your lovemaking.

Offer to go with your partner to his healthcare provider's appointment. In general, couples who work together have the best chance of successful treatment. But if your partner prefers to see his healthcare provider alone, respect his privacy. There are other ways you can support his treatment.

Help your partner help himself. Keep in mind that bad health habits, such as smoking and heavy drinking, can cause erectile dysfunction. In a supportive and nonjudgmental way, encourage your partner to break these habits. What's good for his overall health is good for your sexual relationship.

Express your love in many ways. Expand your repertoire of intimate expressions. Lovemaking can be satisfying even without an erection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.