Many couples still feel embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about Erectile Dysfunction(ED) and this is the same even when they discuss it among themselves.
“People are generally reluctant to talk and discuss sensitive things, and Sexuality and Erectile Dysfunction(ED)are very personal things,” said Jed Diamond, Ph.D., a therapist and the director of MenAlive.
Talking About Erectile Dysfunction (ED): It’s Not You, It’s Me
Part of the issue is that both men and women personalize Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and make it about them, he said. “Women think, ‘What’s the matter with me? Why isn’t he turned on to me?’ And when you talk to men, they say, ‘What’s the matter with me? Why can’t I perform?’ But sexuality and problems with erections are not something to be ashamed of or something to judge,” he said.
Erectile Dysfunction(ED) is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection that is sufficient for sexual activity. It can be caused by a physical condition such as heart disease that causes restricted blood flow to the penis, injury, medication side effects, or psychological factors.
Erectile Dysfunction(ED) may be a red flag that there is something seriously wrong elsewhere in your body, and owning up to it today could actually save your life, Diamond said. “If you have a problem with blood circulation to your penis, other parts of the body may also be affected.” It may mean you have nerve damage from diabetes, for example.
In a study published in the journal Circulation, men with Erectile Dysfunction(ED) were at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or death when compared with men who did not have it. “Get checked up and see if you are healthy,” he added.
“I make a point of telling everyone I see that it is my job to prove that they don’t have a physical problem causing the Erectile Dysfunction(ED), but if they do, we treat it,” said Joseph Alukal, MD, director of reproductive health and benign diseases of the prostate and an assistant professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and urology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
One reason people don’t talk about Erectile Dysfunction(ED) is that they don’t believe there is help available, but there is, he said. The stigma of Erectile Dysfunction(ED) has lifted somewhat due to the advent and availability of drugs, such as sildenafil (Viagra), that treat Erectile Dysfunction(ED), but there is still a long way to go.
Getting Over the Embarrassment
Even though male sexual health is more open for discussion, it’s still not always easy to bring up. “Men will tell me that they struggled for years and it took forever to decide to talk to someone — they admit that they are still anxious,” he said. “Some men have become more comfortable discussing Erectile Dysfunction (ED) with their partner, but it’s not out there, like everyone talks about their weight, and may never get there. It is still very private and personal.”
There is definitely a psychological component to Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and, at times, ED can be totally psychological. “I encourage every man to talk to a sexual health therapist,” said Alukal. “I say go home and discuss it with your partner, and tell them you may go see someone — and ask them to come along or see someone as well.”
“Clearing the air can help take away the stigma and shame that goes with a secret,” agreed Diamond. Secrets lead to distancing and more secrets, he said. “Men don’t want to admit it to their wives, so it can lead to affairs,” Diamond said. “Being with somebody new and different can be arousing and exciting. Your manhood comes back, and soon the only way you can feel like a man is to have sex with women other than your wife.”
Talking and Discussing Erectile Dysfunction not only improves your sexual life but also helps to preserve your relationship.
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