9 ways to support your partner with erectile dysfunction

Is your partner’s erectile dysfunction causing problems in your relationship?

If so, you're not alone. Many couples find themselves grappling with the challenges that come about when a partner experiences erectile dysfunction (ED). 

It's important to remember that ED is a common condition that affects millions of men worldwide, and it doesn't have to be a barrier to intimacy or happiness in your relationship. 

In fact, there are many ways you can support your partner and strengthen your bond during this time. In this guide, we’ll explore 9 effective strategies that can help you navigate the complexities of ED, fostering understanding, empathy and a renewed sense of connection. 

By doing so, you can create an environment of love, acceptance and support, enabling both you and your partner to thrive together. 

This can be done whilst dealing with erectile dysfunction in a new relationship, or even an older one! We’re here to help.

How impotence affects relationships 

Erectile dysfunction (impotence) can be tough to deal with if you’re experiencing it yourself, but we also understand how erectile dysfunction can affect your partner, too.

It can lead to a breakdown in communication, emotional strain, decreased intimacy, self-esteem issues and overall relationship dissatisfaction. The individual with ED may feel inadequate and the partner may feel rejected or unattractive. 

However, with open communication, understanding and support, couples can navigate these challenges and find ways to foster intimacy, strengthen their bond, and maintain a fulfilling relationship.

So, let’s dive in and explore the 9 different ways you can support your partner with erectile dysfunction.

  1. 1. Talk to your partner

When discussing erectile dysfunction with your partner, it's important to choose a suitable time and place for an open conversation. Use thought-out statements to express your concerns and feelings, demonstrating empathy and understanding.

Avoid blame or judgement to create a space where they can share their thoughts and feelings freely. Encourage seeking professional help together and explore treatment options such as medications, devices or therapy. 

Emphasise the importance of emotional intimacy in your relationship and assure them of your patience, support and commitment to finding solutions as a team. 

By approaching the conversation with sensitivity and openness, you can strengthen your bond and go through the challenges of ED together.

  1. 2. Learn about erectile dysfunction

To better understand erectile dysfunction and support your partner, it’s essential to learn more about it. 

This can be done by researching reputable sources, consulting healthcare professionals, attending educational events, reading relevant literature, seeking support from online communities and engaging in open discussions with your partner. 

By actively learning about ED, you can become an informed and supportive partner, increasing the chances of finding suitable solutions.

  1. 3. Recommend that they go to the doctor

Encouraging your partner to visit a healthcare professional (such as their GP or a specialist) is a great way to support them. 

By going to the doctor, your partner can receive an accurate diagnosis, personalised treatment options, expert guidance and support. Additionally, it allows the doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns, too.

Highlight the positive step it represents towards finding solutions. It can be helpful to accompany them to appointments, if allowed, especially if they’re nervous or embarrassed. 

  1. 4. Be proactive about lifestyle changes 

Being proactive about lifestyle changes is an essential part of supporting your partner with erectile dysfunction. 

Encourage regular exercise, a healthy diet and quitting smoking to improve cardiovascular health and blood flow. This can also help to prevent medical conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.

Losing weight (if overweight) by exercising and eating healthily may even help your partner’s ED; smoking, too, is one of the known causes of sexual dysfunction in men, so it’s important to adopt lifestyle changes to see if there’s any positive changes.

  1. 5. Learn about treatment options 

To support your partner, it’s important to learn about the available ED treatment options. Conduct research to understand different approaches, such as medications, devices, injections, hormonal therapy and surgeries.

It’s best to try devices first, like a penis pump, that work to help you achieve and maintain an erection. Some treatments might work better for some than they do for others, and it could take some trial and error before finding the right treatment option for your partner.

Consider the potential side effects and risks associated with each option and discuss them with a healthcare professional if you’re unsure. Additionally, explore the benefits of lifestyle changes and psychological support alongside medical treatments. 

Be supportive throughout the process, attending appointments together if necessary and offering emotional support. 

By gaining knowledge about treatment options, you can actively contribute to decision-making and help your partner find the best approach to manage their ED.

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  1. 6. Switch up your sex life

Switching up your sex life to support your partner with erectile dysfunction involves exploring alternative, intimate activities and focusing on emotional connection instead.

Experiment with non-penetrative activities, such as manual or oral stimulation and using sex toys. Be open to trying new techniques and positions, and extend foreplay to boost arousal. 

  1. 7. Find other ways to express your love

It's important to find other ways to express your love beyond sexual intimacy, especially if your partner is dealing with erectile dysfunction. Doing so might even take their mind off the problem!

Provide emotional support by being there for your partner and spend quality time together, engaging in shared activities, for example. Show acts of kindness, offer physical affection and support your partner's interests and passions. 

  1. 8. Don’t forget your own wellbeing

While supporting your partner with erectile dysfunction, don’t forget about your own wellbeing! Take care of yourself by seeking support from others, prioritising your physical and mental health and setting boundaries.

Engage in self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Practice stress management techniques and communicate openly with your partner about your own needs and feelings.

Remember, prioritising your wellbeing allows you to be a stronger support system for your partner.

  1. 9. Face it together

Facing ED together as a couple is essential for providing support. Create an open and non-judgmental space for communication, where both partners can share their feelings and experiences. 

Educate yourselves about ED, attend appointments together and explore treatment options as a team. Experiment with alternative forms of intimacy and seek professional help if needed. 

Offer reassurance, maintain a positive outlook and celebrate any progress!

Supporting your partner with erectile dysfunction requires empathy, understanding and open communication. 

By following the 9 ways outlined in this guide, you can provide the support and love needed to navigate the challenges of ED together. 

From creating a supportive environment to exploring treatment options, finding alternative ways of intimacy and taking care of your own wellbeing, each approach plays a vital role in strengthening your relationship.

Remember, ED does not define your relationship, and with patience, understanding and a commitment to face it together, you can overcome the obstacles.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 12 June 2023
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