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Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast
Today’s episode of the Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast is about the difficult situation that arises when a partner feels as though the presence of erectile dysfunction in the relationship is their fault. As a certified sex therapist, our podcast’s host has seen this issue affect many couples in a very negative way.
The Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast is dedicated to educating and empowering men to address erectile dysfunction, improve confidence, and enhance the satisfaction in their relationships. This podcast is hosted by certified sex therapist, Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST.
Transcript of Episode 15 – Why Erectile Dysfunction Is Not Your Partner’s Fault
On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the experience of the partners of men experiencing erectile dysfunction. One of the most challenging aspects of erectile dysfunction is the impact that it has on a man’s partner. Let me be clear, having erectile dysfunction is difficult for the man who’s experiencing it, and it can also be very difficult for his partner.
Changes to the sexual repertoire can be difficult as couples adjust to the realities of erectile dysfunction and can detract from sexual enjoyment and comfort. Communication issues can also emerge as a man may be reluctant to openly discuss his challenges and his partner may be equally as hesitant to raise the issue. Both of these issues will be discussed on future episodes.
Today, we are focused on another common challenge, and that is when a partner thinks that they are responsible or at fault for erectile dysfunction. If you have listened to this podcast, you already know that erectile dysfunction is a multi-factorial condition.
Generally speaking, a partner is not the sole cause and is likely not responsible for erectile dysfunction. So why do partners assume that they are the cause? One of the interesting things about erectile dysfunction is that men who are experiencing it will try to figure out what is causing it.
They tend to focus on what seem like the obvious causes, but these obvious causes are often informed by what is convenient or what allows a man to deflect, or alternatively, what makes a man feel insecure. Partners are no different, they often find explanations that fit with their own insecurities.
The first is aging. As men age, the likelihood of erectile dysfunction increases. It is fair to assume that their partners are aging too. Our culture and society put a premium on youth, and people are sensitive about losing their youthful stride and energy. For heterosexual couples, the female partner can be harboring her own sensitivities about a changing body, fluctuations in libido and life transitions.
The notion that aging is synonymous with a fading of sexual drive and interest does not have to be true. In my clinical experience, I have never heard a man say that he needs a younger woman in order to perform. The truth is, more often than not, aging men struggle to keep up with their partners and often appreciate their partner’s interest and more robust libido.
Another common insecurity revolves around physical attraction. As we mentioned earlier, physical attraction is only a part of what can impact erections. Yes, it is a real component and can create some genuine challenges.
Sometimes those concerns will have to be spoken about in order to create an optimal environment to gain and maintain an erection.
But more often than not, it is a convenient excuse, and that is how your partner copes with the distressing condition. If your man has erectile dysfunction and isn’t talking to you about it, don’t assume that it is an attraction issue.
If he has implied or overtly blamed you, please remember, it is unlikely that he actually knows what is causing his ED.
I have seen this countless times in my office, men discover more about the complexity of their erection process and experience regret and remorse about having blamed their partners.
A common question that partners of men experiencing ED will encounter is whether he is having an affair? It is common that men experiencing erectile dysfunction will avoid sexual engagement. Changes in initiation, frequency, and avoidance by either partner can raise concerns about infidelity.
There is a common belief that he must be getting it from somewhere, and if sexual activity is not happening at home, it can be concerning. When a man experiences erectile dysfunction, a partner may conclude that he only experiences ED with them, but must be fine when he is with other people. So no one can tell you that your partner is or is not having an affair.
I’m aware that infidelity is relatively common, however, erectile dysfunction alone is not an indication of infidelity. Most commonly, a man with erectile dysfunction is experiencing shame and embarrassment. Many men turn inward and don’t want to engage or talk about their situation.
In the vast majority of erectile dysfunction cases, the last thing a man experiencing ED is interested in doing, is engaging with yet another person.
A common question — or worry — that partners also experience is whether they are enough for the man who is experiencing ED? This is a bit tricky, and can be misleading. So I want to be careful with my words.
In all likelihood, you as a person are enough for your partner. You are good enough, attractive enough, engaging enough. But relationships do wax and wane, people are closer and further apart at times, and attraction and desire for sexual activity can fluctuate.
You can’t expect to be able to bridge all of those gaps all of the time, and it certainly is not your fault if they are not being bridged. The factors impacting a man’s erectile dysfunction that make a partner wonder if they are enough, are generally a couple’s issue.
A couple’s challenge is our challenge, and it is not just your challenge. Your partner may have specific wants and likes, and your ability and openness to be flexible can make a difference. I understand that everyone has boundaries and limits, and sometimes the gaps between partners are too challenging to be able to fill.
That is still not any more a reflection of the partner as it is of the man experiencing erectile dysfunction. Partners are very likely to blame themselves for a man’s erectile dysfunction. In most instances, this is not the reality.
Men who are already struggling with erectile dysfunction for individual reasons can experience even more pressure when their partners are pressing them for answers and explanations.
For men, it is important to be aware of the above concerns that your partner may be harboring or expressing. For partners, in particular women, it is important to understand that you are not the cause of your man’s erectile dysfunction.
Reaching this understanding that a man’s erectile dysfunction is multifactorial will help both men and women become a part of a sustainable solution and help to achieve better erections and sexual satisfaction for everyone.
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Ready to talk to an ED expert? Erection IQ founder Mark Goldberg helps men resolve erectile dysfunction. He offers individual, one-on-one services to men throughout the world through a secure, telehealth platform. It’s 100% confidential. You can visit the Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change website to
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