Ask Emily: How Can I Save My Sex Life – and My Relationship?
Q: DEAR EMILY,
First off, I love the show – thank you for everything you do! I’ll jump right to it – my husband has been struggling with erectile dysfunction for a few years now and it’s taking a toll on both of us. I want to stress that he hasn’t been ignoring it – he’s had prescriptions for both Viagra and Cialis, and they usually do the trick. However, the results have been less reliable lately.
The bigger issue, though, is that I think the situation is getting him depressed.
He’s 56 and until this started, we had a very active sex life. I’ve been listening to you for a while, and I know that communication is a lubrication – so we talk about it often, but that’s led to some tense situations and now we’re both feeling the weight of this condition.
I want to come up with a way to help him, or at least let him know that he’s not letting me down, even though that’s what he winds up thinking every time I bring it up. Help me do what’s right here, Emily!
Cyndy, 54, NM
A: DEAR CYNDY,
Thank you for sharing your situation – I know it’s not exactly easy. The thing is, it’s also not that uncommon – so don’t feel alone. Before anything else, you need to address your husband’s overall health – both physically and mentally. If prescriptions aren’t doing the trick anymore, you want to rule out any underlying changes – because they could be signs of something else. Once you’re sure all is well in that department, then it’s time to look at the emotional side of things.
I’m SO happy to hear you’ve got an open line of communication, and even though it’s leading to some tension, you’re doing the right thing by addressing it. Just keep it up, and most importantly, keep it positive. Let him know that you’re his partner in figuring this out and he doesn’t have to do it alone.
Even the best communicators need a little help now and then. Couples therapy is beneficial for so many people in all kinds of relationships – and especially when you’re dealing with conditions like this. Erectile Dysfunction can be amplified by things like stress, anxiety and depression, so without any outside help, it’s possible that the cycle will keep going. Not to mention, therapy could be the key in getting him to understand that he’s not disappointing you – you just want to figure this out so the both of you will be happy.
Now, there are other options besides this. If his current doctor isn’t offering new solutions – I’m a firm believer in second, and even third opinions. There are new treatments out there that go way beyond pills that not every doctor is privy to. One I’ve been particularly fascinated with is a procedure called GAINSWave®. It uses soundwaves to restore blood flow to vessels that are blocked by plaque buildup. It seems very promising, especially when pills just don’t seem to be getting the job done.
I even recently interviewed Dr. Judson Brandeis, a urologist and clinical director for GAINSWave. He talks about how common ED is, the impact it has, and how this procedure is making a difference for a lot of men (and their partners).
I hope some of that will inspire you to keep working at this, Cyndy. I know you and your husband have a lot of great sex ahead of you! Good luck!