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Erectile Dysfunction

Posted by Amy Baldwin on

Joy asks:

Amy,
Okay...well, this feels funny sending an email but...anyway....I have been seeing a man who is older (in his early 60s) and I am in my late 40s. I am very attracted to him and we have slept together numerous times. However, he rarely can keep an erection.

I am attractive and sexy. I have tried to please him orally, with my hands, and even asked him if he would like to masterbate (to show me how he pleases himself). He is not responsive at all and is reluctant to talk about it. I really like this man. He stimulates me with his hands and it is satisfying, so I am getting some pleasure, but for him, am not sure what else to do. It makes it difficult that he does not even want to talk about it - or anything else sexy in bed. I have asked him what I can do to please him and he tells me I do. I asked him if there was someone else he is with (thinking that perhaps mentally he may feel guilty). I also asked him about his health and he indicated that he had "borderline" Type 2 Diabetes (there is part of the problem).

What else can I do?

Thanks,
Joy

Dear Joy-

An important question for you to ask yourself is, if you are viewing your partner’s erectile capabilities as a problem, exactly who is it a problem for? Is this a problem for you in terms of the pleasure you desire? Is it a problem for your partner? Or is it a problem that affects the sexual satisfaction and wellness of you as a couple? The reason why I am asking these questions is because it sounds like you may be more concerned with your partner’s satisfaction and pleasure rather than that of your own. If he truly feels content with his/your sex life as he says he is than perhaps you are doing an exceptional job pleasing him already.

If, however, his erectile capabilities are a problem for you, then you may want to look further into what more you require in order to feel sexually satisfied. Communication is always important, and you may want to sit down with your partner and express your interest in creating a more open dialogue about your sex lives. One critical word of advice: try to have this discussion outside of the bedroom to avoid provoking defensive feelings and responses. Do not wait until the situation arises where he is feeling vulnerable because his erection has just diminished and now all of the sudden he is being “attacked” with questions and critiques about his sexuality. Choose a time when you are both in a good mood and have no obligations other than to focus on yourselves, and ask him to sit down with you on the couch or at the kitchen table (basically, anywhere other then the bedroom) to discuss your relationship together. It is always helpful to use “I" statements, expressing your needs, desires, and concerns while avoiding using language that accesses blame and sometimes hurtful accusations. Let him know how important it is for you to have open communication with your partner, and ask him if perhaps he can do the same for you.

In terms of erectile dysfunction itself, Diabetes is often associated with ED due to various impairments of the nerve and blood vessels, as well as the muscles used to create and maintain an erection. It sounds like your partner can still get an erection; however, it is the act of preserving the erection that is the problem. While there are medications such as Viagra that help with the blood flow needed for an erection, if there is damage to the vessels in this area, unfortunately these medications may not be able to do the trick. If there is no damage to the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles, the problem may be of a more mental and/or emotional origin. This is where communication is key in working through any internal issues associated with sexuality.

There are also many wonderful and satisfying things you two can do together that does not require a rock-hard erection. Oral sex can feel amazing for both people, and just because the penis is soft does not mean physical touch or oral stimulation does not feel pleasurable. Many people also enjoy various forms of non-genital touching (i.e. kissing the neck, the ears, etc). You just have to find what works for you. Finally, there are also other ways to have sex without having a firm erection, such as “The Soft-Entry” method as mentioned in The Multi-Orgasmic Man by Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams. This book covers everything from multiple orgasms to alternative sexual practices, and is worth checking out to better understand the male sexual response.


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