It's a common problem which can strike at the heart of a relationship - and women are just as affected as men.
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Rachel from Friends once famously shouted at Ross, "just so you know, it's not that common, it doesn't happen to every guy, and it IS a big deal!"
It's safe to say she was referring to Erectile Dysfunction.
Although this outburst came during their umpteenth break-up, are Rachel's feelings representative of what all or most women feel about ED?
While we can imagine how men feel about ED (not positively), what about their partners? It's their sex life too, after all.
Contrary to what Jennifer Aniston's character may believe, erectile dysfunction is more common than we think.
More than half of men aged 40-70 have experienced Erectile Dysfunction and in addition to the turmoil it causes them, ED - and how they deal with it - adversely affects their partners. The female perspective in numbers
How much do we know about it?
Many of us don't know a lot about ED - 80 per cent of women underestimate how common Erectile Dysfunction is.
Who or what do we blame when it happens?
Sadly, it's ourselves a lot of the time.
42% of women feel their partner’s ED is her fault, and 19% feel it's because their partners don't find them attractive any more.
What do we do when it happens?
Often, not a lot. 40% of the women surveyed said they didn't take ANY steps to find answers or treatment.
Men are under pressure to perform sexually, so if you remove that ability, that's a lot for them to deal with.
For men with ED, making excuses and avoiding addressing the issue at hand seems like the easiest option.
When asked to identify the reasons they thought their partner used to avoid sex, 19% of women said their partner has claimed to be too tired for sex.
Nearly 14 per cent said he used the age-old "not in the mood" excuse, and 12% alleged he had drunk too much.
Interestingly though, 29% of men reported that they gave no excuse at all!
It's happening to my relationship - what should I do?
An expert in this field, Dr. Pixi McKenna sheds some light on what can be a difficult situation to address.
1. Don't ignore the issue !
Not only won’t it go away, it is actually likely to worsen.
2. Take the problem out of the bedroom when you find the time to talk about it.
3. Don’t rush in and blurt things without thinking about what you are both going to say to each other and the consequences of those words.
4. It's important to medicalise the problem by referring to it as ED rather than using words with negative connotations such as 'impotence'.
5. Talking about it is one thing, the next step it tackling it.
If you make progress in discussions, the next step is to make an action plan. If at first you don't succeed don’t assume this means failed, it just means you haven't yet reached a solution.
6. Remember the importance of romantic actions and gestures, that peck on the cheek or arm round the should reinforces your bond when you feel that you might be drifting apart.
7. Nominate a date night
Relationships are not just about sex, romance can be key.
8. Be honest with each other.
Speaking about ED is the time to lay your cards on the table and talk frankly about how life is going; stress and depression can be big players where ED is concerned, as can drugs and alcohol
9. Do some background reading on ED
The affected partner or the other person in the relationship may recognised that the presenting problem represents far more than not being able to perform.
It could be the symptoms of an underlying medical issue so don’t dismiss it
10. Interact with a health care professional face-to-face or online to find out what treatments are available
Talking about the findings of the research Nicola Hart, Head of Healthcare Services at Superdrug Online Doctor said:
"The results of the Superdrug "It's Not You, It's Not Me, It's ED” survey are surprising.
As this survey shows, Erectile Dysfunction affects both partners and we encourage couples to seek help for the condition from a trusted healthcare provider.
"A free and confidential consultation is available online at Superdrug Online Doctor." Nicola Hart, Head of Healthcare Services.
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