You think your husband has erectile dysfunction and your marriage is suffering

ED has been “in the closet” for far too long – it is past time to take it out and address it just like mental illness that is plaguing our marriages (we’ll tackle that subject soon).

Many couples think that because the husband is incapable of having a proper erection, he must be dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED). Perhaps this is true, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be true.

What is erectile dysfunction?

According to the Mayo Clinic, erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. [If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, this could be a sign of impotence and needs to be addressed]. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.

I know of a true story where a woman sought counseling for herself because her husband was impotent, or she assumed he was because he hadn’t had a proper and lasting erection for three years.

This lady recounted that over the past three years, she has tried a myriad of “things” to get her husband in the mood for sex. If he consented to having sex, (which she stated was not the norm), the experiences were awkward or anti-climactic. He would be “bottom-line” with no fooling around, no cuddling, or foreplay. It was as if he just wanted to get it over with. “Typically,” she said, “the experience was short, which meant there wasn’t much arousal on my part.”

In the beginning, she said she would be angry and hostile toward her husband. She thought he was having an affair, or that he was gay and had lost interest in her. Her imagination worked overtime, and she even thought perhaps he had been molested and was having a delayed response to the trauma. Clearly, she was at a loss after three years. So, she reached out to a counselor who helped her tremendously, and consequently, helped her husband to save their marriage.

This is just one example of the thousands of stories out there where couples are at a loss over ED. On its face, ED in marriage could appear as the problem, but when you dig into the root of why it is occurring, you will often find that it is a byproduct of something deeper, more systemic than simply non-performance sexually.

The American Urological Association reports ED affects nearly 30 million males. This report reflects males who sought medical solutions. It doesn’t account for the millions of men who haven’t sought medical help because they are in denial or simply haven’t chosen to address the problem.

The erect penis has always been a symbol of a man’s virility and sexual prowess. So, what happens to a man when he is impotent?

Kenneth and I have counseled couples dealing with this disorder. Oftentimes, we will research and probe our clients to help us help them and other couples dealing with the same issue.

Kenneth recalled his one-on-one sessions with men suffering from sexual dysfunction and said that once a man got past the initial denial, there was commonly a sense of embarrassment and even helplessness. There was also a great sense of relief once a man knew there was genuine hope – modern medicine has viable options that can reverse ED.

Where there was once little to no hope, hope now abounds! God created human sexuality to be enjoyed by men and women who are married to one another – having a functional, healthy sex life is an invaluable part of a good marriage.

What are the possible causes of ED?

Here is a list of causes of ED such as: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, degenerative disease, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, depression, anxiety, stress, not getting enough sleep, a bad diet or exercise regimen, and drug use.

How can ED affect your marriage?

Obviously, there are many ways ED will and can negatively affect a marriage, the worst being a pathway to infidelity and/or divorce. If your marriage is contentious, stressful, toxic, or traumatic, this can also contribute to ED. If the spouse is no longer heterosexual in his thoughts and behavior, but still married to a female, this is another hurtful reason for ED. There are more ways that I could list.

What should you do if your marriage is suffering from ED?

We recommend:

  • Speaking to your doctor to rule out underlying health issues.
  • Finding a Biblically based, holistic counselor who can give you tools as you walk through solutions
  • The wife to stand in the prayer gap for your spouse as if it were you in need of help – because you are. ED affects both of you
  • The husband engages in transparent communications with the wife, and seeks help medically

Psalm 139:14 tells us this: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. By the time we become adults, each of us has 60,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies – more than twice the distance around the world. The total length of capillaries in the human brain is about 400 miles. Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And we are also human, with bodies that malfunction and break down.

ED has been “in the closet” for far too long – it is past time to take it out and address it just like mental illness that is plaguing our marriages (we’ll tackle that subject soon).

We are here for your marriage if you need support as you navigate this matter; we help couples in this area.

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