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11 Jul 2019 (Last updated 01 Sep 2023)

What to do if your partner has erectile dysfunction

Pleasure Tips 3 min read
What to do if your partner has erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is not an issue that vulva owners experience first-hand but often still encounter in many partnered sex situations. As stressful as it is for those with a penis, it can also be quite disarming for vulva owners that have sex with them, and it can lead to putting all the focus on the penis' pleasure and being penetration-obsessed; two things that do little good for both partners. Here's some honest advice from a men's health expertabout erectile dysfunction. Simple tips for no drama.

Erectile dysfunction IS common.

We've established the physical and emotional benefits of a healthy sex life, but most of us can vouch that sex isn't always a walk in the park. To have a mutually beneficial, healthy sexual relationship, both partners must be comfortable and confident between the sheets. Yet, issues in the bedroom often get in the way.

52% of men have experienced Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in their lives, which illustrates that problems in the bedroom are both frequent and widespread, especially for men or non-binary people. But how does this affect us as vulva owners?

For those of you who have sex with penis havers regularly, you know how your partner’s inability to perform can lead to awkward moments, and you don’t always know how to react. But there’s no reason for taking it personally. In reality, many causes of erection issues go beyond your relationship, like stress, sleep disorders, or high cholesterol. Sometimes, ED can even be an early indicator of a more serious health issue like heart disease.

There’s no doubt the symptoms of this issue can significantly impact the sex you’re having with your partner and your relationship as a whole. Erectile dysfunction does not only cause difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, but it can also lead to performance anxiety for both partners.

So what can you do to make the struggle with ED less stressful for you and your partner?

3 ways to enjoy sex erection-free.

ED only ruins sex if you let it! If you tend to be very focused on penetrative sex, make this an opportunity to explore more options on the menu.

1. Divert attention to yourself. One reason erectile problems can feel so upsetting is how heteronormative and penetration-centric the representation of sex is still today. But truth is, if you enjoy the partnered sex, there’s a lot of fun to be had solely from outercourse. Your partner doesn’t need to have an erection to explore your body and bring you shivers of pleasure. Invite them to do so, and indulge in the moment with you. They will probably enjoy it too!

2. Explore other areas. Sex isn’t always just about the penis; stimulating different body areas can be arousing. Explore some other erogenous zones for men, like the ears, nipples, and the soles of the feet. Spending more time on different pleasure areas can take some pressure off the penis meanwhile still giving them some sexual satisfaction.

3. Try something playful. Talk to your partner and see if there’s anything you’d both be willing to try in the bedroom. Whether watching porn together, acting out fantasies or introducing sex toys in the bedroom, a change of scenery might be what they need to get hard.

Don’t make it a taboo.

Be open, honest, and most of all patient. We’ve all heard that communication is key to a healthy relationship, but it’s especially important for a healthy sex life. Be upfront, offer words of affirmation, and ask what you can do to make the experience better for your partner.

If this becomes an ongoing thing, encourage them to seek medical treatment. 60% of men refuse or hesitate to go to the doctor when faced with medical problems, yet treatments for erectile dysfunction are both affordable and attainable. Try pointing them in the direction of a doctor who can diagnose the root of the problem or prescribe an ED medication like sildenafil that will relax blood vessels in the groin. It’s no secret that men need a little push when it comes to self-care… and many other things.

Guest author: Capri – men’s wellness advocate at Hims.

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