Erectile Dysfunction and Your Partner

David Knowles, M.D. Health Pro
  • I would like to discuss the importance of partners and the relationships in Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and how they play an important role in the treatment of ED.

    Today many relationships suffer greatly due to the loss of physical relations due to ED. This can place a lot of strain on the other aspects of the couple’s lives and be the beginning of many problems they struggle with. It is important to discover the underlying problems in the relationship before the problems can be solved. This is why ED must be discussed openly between partners so it can be recognized and addressed. This can often be the first step to a number of improvements in the couple’s relationship.

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    It is vital that the partner be informed about the choice to seek treatment for ED. I often find when patients don’t tell their partner they are seeking treatment for ED, their partner often becomes upset or angry when they find out. After living with a partner with ED, they may become accustomed and comfortable with the loss of the physical aspect of the relationship. Returning to physical relations may be a shock. And when it is not a mutual decision, they can become angry or hurt. Treatment for ED should be a mutual decision by the couple so mutual support can be given. This can keep the relationship strong and even increase the success of the treatment.

    Let’s explore just how an understanding and cooperative partner can increase chance of success of the ED treatment. One of the most common complaints with the oral treatments for ED is the lack of foresight into when the opportunity for intercourse will present itself. An informed and sensitive partner can virtually eliminate this as a problem. When the partner understands that the other has used an erectile dysfunction aid, they can try harder to participate in physical relations during the time the treatment is effective. They can also inform their partner when they are interested in having intercourse so that the patient can take the medication early enough for maximal efficacy. I will often suggest to my patients that some of the pills be given to the partner so that they can decide when the romantic evenings will ensue and give them to their partner to take. This has helped a lot of my patients.

    A properly educated partner is also important in the use of the oral erectile dysfunction. One of the vital informational facts with the oral ED agents is the patient must be stimulated after taking the medication in order to achieve an erection. The pills do not automatically cause an erection, yet many people initially believe this. If the partner understands that the patient requires stimulation after taking the medication, they can help excite their partner at the right time to achieve a good erection. Also, if they understand that it will take some time after the medication is taken for maximum effectiveness, the partner may be more patient and wait before getting physical or prolong foreplay until the medication becomes effective prior to trying to stimulate an erection.


  • It is also important that the partner understand the risks of the medication. Often times my patients will return to the office and say their partner is afraid for them to take the medication. Many people have the perception that any heart condition makes the oral ED drugs harmful or risky. If the partner is informed and/or is present with the patient at their healthcare provider’s office, they can be educated about the safety of the medications. This can make them feel more comfortable with their lover using the medication. A worried partner does not make a good lover.

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    These are just a few examples where the partner and the relationship are vital and helpful in the treatment of ED. The condition and importance of the physical aspects of your relationship should be openly discussed. If a problem arises, like ED, it should be discussed early on. If treatment is needed, ideally both partners should go to the healthcare provider’s office both for support and for information. Once a treatment option is chosen, both partners should take active roles in the therapy. Keep the communication lines open and enjoy the success of your treatment.

Published On: April 27, 2008