Erectile dysfunction is a very sensitive topic. You probably tensed up a bit just reading the words there. For men, having erectile dysfunction is a worse-case-scenario thing that nightmares are made of. It’s a very tricky thing. ED can have psychological or physical causes. If the cause is psychological, then one type of stress may cause erectile dysfunction in the first place, and then the stress of having ED can make matters worse. Chanting, “Please don’t fail me please don’t fail me” to his member only puts more pressure on the situation, and makes the chances of ED higher. But how can a man who has had that embarrassing moment not think those exact thoughts right before intercourse? His friends may tell him, “Just don’t think about it” but have you ever noticed that, when you’re not supposed to think about something that’s all you can think about? If your man has ED, he’s going through a lot. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t say to him.
Don’t say: You’re not the first guy this happened with
The last thing your partner needs right now is to visualize all of the other men with whom you’ve been sexually active. Even if you have been with other men who suffered from ED, don’t mention them to your partner. He won’t take comfort in thinking about your past sexual partners.
Do say: This isn’t uncommon
You can assure your partner that what he is going through isn’t abnormal, and that plenty of other men experience it at some point in their lifetime.
Don’t say: So you’re not attracted to me
Don’t start making your partner feel guilty and blaming him of not being attracted to you. While there may be some psychological element at play, it’s probably not his attraction level to you. If he weren’t attracted to you, he wouldn’t be naked in bed with you in the first place.
Do say: Is there anything I can do differently?
ED is nobody’s fault. But, there could be some emotional dynamic occurring in your relationship that is contributing to this. Communication can be your ally against ED. Ask your partner if there’s anything you can do differently to help him—in or outside the bedroom.
Don’t say: It’s okay; I’ll finish myself
To say, “It’s fine—I’ll just grab my vibrator and handle it myself” can leave your partner feeling like a failure. Look, you can and should give yourself an orgasm in a bit…but you don’t have to tell your partner you’re turning to your backup.
Do say: I’m happy even when we don’t have sex
Make sure your partner knows that this relationship is not just about sex. If he understands that he makes you very happy outside the bedroom, then that will relieve some of the pressure to make things go well inside the bedroom.
Don’t say: Again?!
I get it—it can be frustrating to be in the middle of foreplay, all hot and heavy and ready for intercourse and…have everything go south again. Literally. But you just have to refrain from expressing your frustration. It will only make things worse.
Do say: Would you consider seeing someone?
You partner is in a relationship and he does have a responsibility to do his part to keep your sex life alive. You both have that responsibility—you can’t just give up on your sex life. So ask him if he’d consider seeing a specialist to help him with this problem. It’s a reasonable ask.
Don’t say: You’re too young for this
There’s no such thing as a normal age for ED, and men of nearly all ages can experience it. You may think that you’re, in some backwards way, complimenting your partner by saying this, but you’re just stressing him out.
Do say: There are ways to fix this
If it’s physical, there are medications. If it’s emotional, there’s talk therapy and couples counseling. Remind him he doesn’t have to just accept this.
Don’t ask: Did this happen with other women?
Don’t ask him if he’s had ED with other women. Nobody wins when you ask this. If the answer is no, then you’ll be insulted. If it’s yes, you’ll just think of all the other women he’s slept with and get upset.
Do ask: How long has this been going on?
You can ask how long this has been going on. You don’t need to get into specifics of who else it has happened with or not happened with.
Don’t: Bring it up all the time
Don’t bring it up too often. If you’ve moved on from an incident, you don’t need to keep saying—out of nowhere, for the next several days—“Are you still upset about that thing that happened the other day? I promise it’s fine!” He may not have even been thinking about it.
Do: Assure him he can talk about it
Just make sure your partner knows that if he wants to talk about it, you’re happy to listen. Don’t make him feel like it’s a dark secret within your relationship.
Don’t: Put pressure on him
If he wants to just let it go for a night, then just let it go. Don’t keep attempting to seduce him again or find new ways to help him get it up. That pressure won’t help.