IMPOTENCE | Erectile Dysfunction
(ED), also called impotence, is common, and there's a
good chance you know someone who has experienced it. And
if that someone is your partner, there's a good chance
you wish you were still able to experience the special
kind of intimacy sexual sharing can bring.
You might have started to believe that your partner no
longer finds you attractive. Or that losing interest in
sex is a normal part of life. You might have also
assumed that ED is a natural part of aging, an
inevitable by product of time. However, millions of
Americans are enjoying sex into their sixties and
Most men have an isolated erection problem at some time
in their lives, but for others it happens more
frequently. If your partner's inability to respond to
you sexually has becoming a recurring problem, he may be
suffering from ED, a treatable medical condition.
Even though ED is a physiologic condition that may have
nothing to do with you as a partner, it can still have
an unfavorable affect on your relationship. Not
surprisingly, couples who struggle with ED tend to
experience decreased levels of intimacy. Men with the
problem may avoid closeness with their partners (to
avoid start something they can't finish), and partners,
in turn, may withdraw from intimacy.
Erectile dysfunction can pose a real problem for couples
because of the negative effect it trends to have in a
man's psyche. A report from the National Institute of
Health concluded that "erectile dysfunction may be
associated with depression, loss of self-esteem, [or]
You should know from the start that ED probably has
nothing to do with you. But getting treatment does.
Because without the encouragement, support, openness,
interest, and love of a partner, many men simply will
not seek treatment.
Today, many people still share a common misconception
that ED is a psychological
or emotional problem. But this really isn't true. While
psychological factors can play a role for some men, the
majority of ED cases are actually associated with
certain physical conditions, medications, or lifestyle
Several diseases, including diabetes, high blood
pressure, and high cholesterol all may contribute to a
man inability to get and keep and erection. Prostate
surgery or any traumatic injury (such as one that
affects the spinal cord) may have a profound
effect as well.
Erectile dysfunction is also common, unwanted side
effect of some widely used medications. Drugs to treat
high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart
disease, or depression may contribute to ED. And certain
lifestyles choices may also increase the risk that your
partner will suffer from ED. Cigarette smoking,
excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, and
even stress can increase the likelihood that your
partner will suffer from ED.
Just how common is the problem? About 30 million
American men are affected by some form of ED. And
according to a landmark study, about half of all men
between ages of 40 and 70 suffer from some degree of ED.
You and your partner should take comfort in the fact
that when it comes to ED, you're certainly not alone.