Ask the Loveologist: Not Hard Enough

My husband has been having some trouble having and maintaining an erection lately. We have never had this problem before and he assures me that he is not fooling around with another woman and that he still wants me. We don’t have sex very often anymore and I think it is because he is afraid it won’t work. He won’t go to the doctor about it either and says he is not going to use any of those drugs that are advertised on television. Is there anything that I can do to help him? I miss having a sex life and I know it is not helping our relationship either but he refuses to talk about it.

Thank you for asking this question. Interestingly, most of the questions that I get about erectile dysfunction or ED come from the female partners rather than the men themselves. This is not surprising I suppose given that 90 percent of men never seek treatment for this problem. In a US survey, it was found that two thirds of the men never raised the issue with their doctor for fear of embarrassing them or because they thought their sexual issues would be dismissed or not be treatable. In Worldwide studies, the incidence of ED is never less than 10 percent and often as high as 30 percent depending on the study demographics. It is estimated that ED affects 100 million men worldwide (18 million in the US) and that this number is expected to double by 2025.

The tragedy of all of this silent suffering is that not only can medical intervention frequently help with this condition, but ED symptoms are also early warning signs of a variety of other illnesses that need diagnosis and treatment. Erectile dysfunction can result from a wide variety of conditions both psychological and physical. While ageing is definitely the most significant predictor, a man’s overall health and well-being is also a big factor in its likelihood. Other factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include cardiovascular disease, nerve or spinal cord damage, cigarette smoking, low testosterone levels, prescription medications, depression, stress and anxiety.

Getting and keeping an erection is a complex process that involves psychological impulses, adequate hormones, a functioning nervous system and healthy vascular tissue of the penis. This is why seeing a doctor when incidence of erectile dysfunction is occurs fifty percent of the time or more is so important. Figuring out what part of the process is causing the problem can provide a range of options to deal with it. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as cleaning up your health habits: ie Stop smoking, eating well, maintaining regular exercise and reducing stress. There are also a wide range of alternative therapies that have helped many men improve their overall health and recover from ED symptoms.

Not surprisingly, avoiding sexual intimacy is also related to erectile dysfunction symptoms. In a Finnish study, it was found that men who had sexual intercourse less than once per week were twice as likely to develop ED symptoms than men who had sex weekly. More frequent sex reduced the incidence of ED symptoms even more. So the use it or lose it phenomenon of sexual functioning applies to both men and women, and ongoing sexual inactivity can lead to disorders that can later make sexual activity difficult.

The most important thing that you can do for your partner is to get him to see a doctor to diagnose the situation. Sharing some of the resources and information about this issue and how common it is might make it easier for you to discuss together.

Sexual pleasure can happen in so many ways that have nothing to do with intercourse, but they require communicating and touching. Encouraging him to love himself enough to seek the care he needs is a great way to rebuild the intimacy you want in your relationship.

Wendy Strgar is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. Wendy helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. As her online presence continues to grow, Wendy has become a trusted and respected source of information on lasting and healthy relationships. ďI feel like I am inventing a language to give intimacy back to the people, take the fear away and open a space for physical love to serve as the glue that holds relationships together.” Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.


Parvez Zuberi
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

Thanks for info

Chad A.
Chad A6 years ago

Thanks for this. I find that more frequent intercourse and working out relationship issues and a little patient intimacy usually works things out the best for me...

Mara R.
Mara R7 years ago

An alternative would be to take natural testosterone.You would get your doctor to give you a hormone test and then ask for a natural testosterone supplement to bring your level up to a more youthful one, preferably as a cream your apply to your skin (transdermal cream).
Bio-identical hormones are safe, drugs will always have adverse effects, which will result in more drugs being prescribed to (supposedly) remedy them.
Raising your natural testosterone level will benefit your bone status, your immune system, and your cardiovascular health as well!

Steve R.
Steve R7 years ago

I am 59 and although I don't suffer from ED per se, I have often felt that it's not quite satisfactory, and can lose oomph during intercourse if you know what I mean.

So I went to see a doctor and simply asked to be checked to see whether I could safely take cialis.

I have never looked back. I take one every 3 or 4 days and I am always ready, willing and able.

And most important - I don't feel the least bit ashamed about it, especially since my wife is very happy that she can be impulsive anytime she chooses.

So guys - cut the macho stuff - there's nothing to be ashamed about in this stress ridden world we live in. If you don't take advantage of the help available, and as a result, your sex life dwindles, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Julia J.
Julia W7 years ago

Men think their symptoms will be dismissed because they ARE dismissed, often, especially when the patient is young. The doctor just says "Eat better, excersice". Well, I don't remember the last time I met a 25 year old who ate well, but most of them don't have ED. Doctors need to take this seriously, too. Because if a man does gather up the courage to talk to his doctor and is then shot down, it only make the problem much, much worse.

Denise Sparrow
Denise Sparrow7 years ago

Nooo, I will not have an affair, because of the ED problem with my husband, I respect and love him FAR too much, and it is true that our insurance will not cover diagnosis or treament for the problem. But I really do miss having sex with him. So I certainly will show him some of the natural solutions and suggestions that were put forward in these comments. Thanks guys. Any further suggestions will be greatly appreciated. It really is a good thing our relationship is not based solely on the physical. We still cuddle and hug but that only turns me on and frustrates me more. *sigh*

Savannah Alli
Fareena Narine7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Savannah Alli
Fareena Narine7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Ken G.
Ken G8 years ago

Is it not into not hard enough Janine I'm not into or love? Well actually It's both I'm not into. As for the love part, I lost it for the 'love' gig because I got more into earning trust and respect from one another then being in love. The not hard enough part is kind of nice for now cause I despised the effort it took in getting along with sexual partners I've been involved with.

So my character showed, I'm not into it. LOL

janine k.
janine k8 years ago

Ken G,
If you have to ask what it is, you're not in it. :)