Wifey Wednesday: Keeping Sex Alive When You Face ED (Erectile Dysfunction)

 

Sex Life and ED in Marriage: How to keep your sex life alive

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can link up your own marriage posts in the linky below. Today we’re concluding a 3-part series on sexual dysfunction in marriage, and today we’re going to wrap it up by talking about ED in marriage–and how to keep your sex life alive.

We talked on Monday about the different causes of ED (erectile dysfunction), and how to deal with them. And yesterday we tackled premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation. We looked at how porn was often, though not always, the underlying cause of ED and other problems.

But what about when porn isn’t the problem? What about when it is a physical issue, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight?

Here’s an email I received from one woman, for instance:

ED has been an ongoing health issue for my husband for years. It happened gradually, but now we never have sex. Of course that has left a huge void in our marriage. But we’ve been together 29 years, so it’s not a deal breaker either. He’s seen a doctor who found an enlarged prostate, and he takes meds for that. The other stuff to enhance erections are not covered by our insurance, and we can’t afford the out of pocket expenses. He’s also very sensitive to some meds and does not like the long string of side effects that can happen from those.

So how has that affected our relationship? “There is other intimacy you can have,” you say? Well, when a man loses his ability to perform sex, he also gradually loses his other intimacy practices. i.e., playful touch, hugging, flirting — basically anything that might lead to sex. It’s disappointing to us both — we talk about it rarely — it’s hurtful. I get resentful sometimes that he won’t knock down the doors of every medical institution to “get it fixed,” like I imagine he should want to. But the truth is, that even with couples who still have a healthy sex life, it takes work, and sometimes planning to make that time happen. It’s easier to skip because you are too tired or whatever so you get content not having sex. Same thing for us, only it’s because it’s too hurtful to try and disappoint. I feel like we’ve settled.

Am I happy with the sexless part? Not at all. Do I Iove my husband? Dearly!

I still have hope that one day God will restore this part of our marriage. But I’ve accepted that He might not as well.

What do you do when ED, or other sexual dysfunction, is a physical problem, but you don’t want the sexual side of your relationship to end? You do want to feel intimate. You do want to feel pleasure. You want to be able to laugh again without this BIG THING between you–this feeling like you’re distant, and you’re settling, and things will never be totally good again.

I want to give just a few thoughts today, and hope that others who have gone through something similar will chime in, too. I’m not going to talk about how to cure ED today, since I talked about that on Monday. I want to just talk about how to revive your sex life even if things still aren’t working like clockwork.

Acknowledge that He is Grieving about His ED

If your husband can no longer have intercourse, chances are he’s really grieving. A huge part of his life–what many would say is the most important part–seems gone. Let him air these feelings without having to fix them. Now is not the time to say, “but we can still do X…” Just let him vent. And hold him. And tell him, “I will always love you, and we will get through this, and we will find our way.”

But let him grieve.

You Need to Be Able to Communicate About the Sexual Dysfunction and what it Means

That being said, you can’t stay in the grieving process. You have to move on, and you have to find your way through towards a new kind of intimacy.

Now, you aren’t going to be able to do anything if you can’t first talk about the issue. So the question isn’t really “how can we save our sex life if he has ED”, but rather, “how can we keep talking about our sex life if he has ED, and not ignore the elephant in the room?”

Here’s some general guidelines for keeping these lines of communication open. And these suggestions build on each other–as in do #1 before #3.

1. Laugh everyday. Do things together OUTSIDE the bedroom and work on your friendship.

2. Find other hobbies to do together so that you still feel like a unit.

3. When you talk about wanting a sex life, stress that you want intimacy, not intercourse. Stress that you do not think he is a failure or that you want him to be different; the issue is simply that you don’t want to lose what you still can have. Your life is simply different, but your relationship can still grow.

For more ideas you can see my post here about how to talk to your husband if he has no libido, since the issues are actually quite similar.

See Sex as More Than Intercourse

Sex is about being intimate together. It’s about becoming one flesh. It’s about sharing something with one person that you don’t share with anybody else. It’s about becoming open and vulnerable together.

And you can do all of those things without intercourse.

Obviously intercourse is the culmination of this, and when health problems aren’t a factor, I would never recommend giving up intercourse. But if intercourse just doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop being sexual beings.

Sex can be about being naked together; sex can be about doing full body massages with massage oil, switching places. Sex can be about taking baths together and talking about your dreams for the future. Sex can be about deep kisses.

Talk to him about how you still want these things in your life. Our letter writer wrote that when ED hits, it’s not just sex that she loses. It’s kissing and touching and affection, and it doesn’t have to be this way. Let him know that you still want to touch him. Again, acknowledge his grief, and tell him you’re grieving, too. But you’ve lost intercourse. You’re not willing to lose everything else, too.

Do What You Can Despite the ED

Some men have intermittent ED, where it works sometimes and it doesn’t work others. Or perhaps he suffers from premature ejaculation where he doesn’t like to have to sex often because he’s afraid he won’t perform well. Agree that you will do what you can–meaning you’ll have intercourse when it works, and when it doesn’t, that’s okay. But it’s not a PASS/FAIL system. Don’t think of each sexual encounter being about orgasm; think about it being about pleasure. See how much pleasure you can give each other, whether or not you come to orgasm.

In fact, start talking about it that way. Instead of, “can we make love tonight?”, or “can we have sex tonight?”, let’s say, “can we feel good together tonight?”

If he honestly can never reach an orgasm, he may be reluctant to do anything sexual. But you can ask him to help you feel good anyway, and see if you can help him feel pleasure when he can. And remember–you can still massage and kiss and feel close. If an encounter doesn’t go the way you had hoped it would, don’t get upset, just go with the flow. It’s really okay. Yes, you’re missing something you once enjoyed, but you still have your husband. You can be sexual without intercourse. Be grateful for what you do have, and think positive things, instead of casting a negative pall over the marriage.

Schedule Your Sexual Times

The default when sexual dysfunction like ED hits your marriage is to cut way back on sex. He doesn’t even want to try. And then when you initiate, he may turn you down. You feel rejected, and he feels like a failure, and you don’t want to keep bringing up those feelings, so you stop initiating. Yet every night, there’s that unspoken question, “should we try anything?” Even if nothing is said, it’s there, between you. And you feel it every time you roll over and turn your back to him as you go to sleep.

One way around this that works well for some couples is to schedule sex. It isn’t necessarily the time that you have intercourse; it’s the time that you spend together naked, massaging, feeling whatever pleasure you can, kissing, and just dreaming and talking together in bed.

I firmly suggest, as forcefully as I can, that shortly after the diagnosis of some sort of sexual dysfunction (with a physical cause), that you agree that at least once a week you will have a “sexual night”. Make it regular, like every Tuesday or every Saturday, and don’t change it except in extreme circumstances. That way you both know what to expect, you don’t feel rejected and nervous and on edge all the other nights of the week (because you do know what’s coming), and he can start anticipating things so that he can also get in the right frame of mind.

Now, this isn’t going to work if you can’t talk about things, which is why it’s so important to work first on communicating. I realize that many people will say, “my husband just won’t do this”, because he feels so much like a failure he’d rather shut down completely than be reminded of what he’s missing. But that’s not a good solution, and couples would be better off if they saw this. So I’d keep at it–keep praying, keep talking to your husband, keep laughing, and keep communicating, stressing intimacy and pleasure, not intercourse. Don’t give up. See a counselor if you have to. But intimacy is still possible, and is so important in your marriage. Don’t write it off just because sex doesn’t work like it once did.

I’d love to know: how is this working in your marriage? How have you find talking to your husband about this? Have you found ways around it? Let me know in the comments!

Christian Marriage Advice

Now it’s your turn! Link up the URL of a marriage post in the linky below. I feature at least two on my Facebook Page each week, which can get you a lot of traffic! And remember to link back here so that other people can read these great marriage posts.

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Comments

  1. Spiritfire says:

    Thanks so much for addressing this issue… Hubby and I are also on this road…Funny how we didn’t realize, what we lost until we lost it.. We both deeply grieve for what was lost… But also know we are better people now than before… I am certain that it has to do with his weight and he can gain back what was lost.. but even if he doesn’t the healthy life we have adopted is better for us both…. Our intimacy is HIGHER then ever…With each other and with God.. :)

  2. Thank you for this article. We are young but my husband has low testosterone. I’ve felt very discouraged but found your article encouraging.

    • I’m sorry, Annie! I know that it is a hard road. I’d just encourage you to seek out medical help for it, because I know so many marriages that have totally turned around with the right treatment.

    • If I may ask, what were the symptoms that led you to suspect low testosterone? I’m concerned my husband may have this. Thanks.

      • Something to be aware of is potential health risks of getting testosterone shots or testosterone replacement therapy. I recently heard that some men have had adverse side effects from getting testosterone this way. (No doubt, there are articles about this on the Internet.) Perhaps a healthier and safer way to address low levels for the husband is to look into adding certain herbs, fruits, etc. to the diet that help the body to make more of its own testosterone (such as high quality ginseng tea). I have heard that vigorous exercise 2 or 3 times a week can help the body to make more of this hormone. Going to the gym or the weight room can help in that regard. (When younger and regularly pumping the iron, I did not have low levels of testosterone.)
        Larry B of larrysmusings.com recently posted…it is society’s faultMy Profile

  3. Here’s what I’ve learned, in three years of marriage to an older man who suffers from ED.
    1. Amen to the planned – especially if the ED is made worse by certain medications. If we plan ahead, my husband can plan a relaxed day where he takes fewer painkillers or other ED-worsening meds that day. If he relaxes, the Viagra works better.
    2. Oral. Just sayin’. He can usually have an orgasm even if he can’t get a full-blown erection. Makes him happy. Makes me happy to make him happy (he makes me happy too, though that doesn’t take much!).

    • Thanks for that, Liz! I’m glad to hear that the planned does work. That’s what I assumed and what I heard from some others, but glad to hear it’s a good idea!

    • Liz- I have floated this proposal on my blog and am glad to see there are women who realize that oral and manual sex may be more needed as men age and lose sensitivity. In his “Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer Guide”, Dr. Patrick Walsh explains that by age 60, the average male has throughout his body has only 60 percent of the nerves he was born with. You can well imagine how this would effect his sexual organs. Without meaning to disappoint those women who feel PIV sex is the ultimate experience, when men age the mouth and hands may be far more effective than the smooth, less griping vagina for stimulating the less sensitive penis. I always fear it sounds suspiciously self-serving and is seen as an attack on women who do not want to engage in oral sex with their husband, but it is a suggestion based in reality for the aging male. Bless you for realizing it and having the courage to put it in print here.
      Dan recently posted…“Look away! I’m hideous.”: Part 5My Profile

      • Yes, oral sex can be used successfully during foreplay to help the older husband to achieve and maintain an erection. Then, at the proper time, the couple can switch to intercourse. The oral sex does not have to be performed to “completion”. Does this help in all cases of ED? No. But, it can and does help some couples. Oral sex ought not be shunned simply because it is shown in porn. (PIV is also shown in porn.) It can be a beautiful practice for the loving couple.

  4. I was pleased to see you supporting there is more to sex than just intercourse. With aging partners, this can become the order of the day and adjusting to that reality is necessary to pursuing a fulfilled sexual experience.
    Dan recently posted…“Look away! I’m hideous.”: Part 5My Profile

  5. After a heart attack I ended up with ED. Fortunately I do not need any nitro medication and my cardiologist prescribed pills which work very well. All we have lost is spontaneity. Love making has to be planned ahead. When my wonderful wife suggests I take a pill I need no second bidding! The only downside is the financial cost, but it is still less than a dinner out and much more fun.

  6. Catherine says:

    We have had to deal with this issue because my husband was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at the age of 50. We opted for surgery, complete removal of the prostate and cancer. He is now 7 years cancer free! We learned a great deal about how a mans body works. Erection, ejaculation and orgasm are all separate. A man can have an orgasm with out an erection, he can have an orgasm with no ejaculate. We didn’t believe it when the doctor told us, but since we have found out it is true. Much trial and error, doctor visits and trials of different ED pills, medical devices made to make and maintain an erection have given us fodder to argue, laugh and find fun and pleasure. It wasn’t easy, I didn’t like having to let my husband know an hour or so before I was ready to go to bed. This led to some stand offs, frustrations and deeper communications. The pills are too expensive to “waste” and for a while I just wanted to quit trying to figure things out. Neither of us was happy with that but we have a strong marriage with many other shared hobbies and life experiences. Feeling desperate a few months ago I decided to search out some answers to figuring out what we could do to get the spice back. That is when I found Sheila’s blog and bought her book. Wow, did I have some past ways of thinking that needed to change. Her book walked me through it. It also helped me understand my husband even better. We have put into practice so many of the things I learned from her book. We are now even closer and communicating on a much deeper level. I said all that to give hope to others that are working through this issue. Intimacy can come back and be there, even if intercourse is not always possible. Sheila’s advice is right on and doable.

    • My husband is now cancer-free for two years. We use the pump, but I find it not as satisfying. And I struggle with low libido. Sometimes we just have to laugh. I found Sheila’s series on 28 days to great sex to be extremely helpful. Thankfully my husband has been fairly game to try things and truly enjoys making me happy. A really good vibrator is nice too. In a weird way, my lack of libido has helped us to deal with this current challenge to sex. We had sort of got used to not having it! I wish we could have more sex and I wish we could do my preferred positions (his erections aren’t firm enough for anything except side to side.), I’m pretty blessed we caught the cancer early enough before it had spread…unlike several other men I know who are fighting for their lives.

  7. My husband and I have been struggling with ED for years. For the last 15 months he hasn’t been able to get an erection at all and it’s really been hard on both of us. We have tried everything but nothing works. We even stopped trying for awhile because we were both so tired of the disappointment. Then God spoke gently to my heart and helped me to realize that intimacy was still important in our marriage. Even if we couldn’t have intercourse, we could still have intimacy. We now have our time together every Saturday, and though at times we still struggle with feelings of disappointment, we have learned how to have a wonderful time just being together. I get more enjoyment out of helping him feel good than when he helps me. Thank you for this post. Every suggestion is what we are doing for each other now and it helps to know we are not alone that there are many others going through this very thing.

  8. For me the most difficult part of my hubby’s ED (although he does use vit. V) is the lack of spontaneity, especially as the higher drive spouse. Sometimes I’m really in the mood and he’s just not able to right then. I never ask for him to just pleasure me in the moment because of feeling selfish about it and he never offers. I know he prefers to be intimate when both of us are able to. But often when we wait it’s usually the following morning when he’s ready and then it’s me trying to wake up, get in the mood again, all the while he lays there ready for a quickie. So whether I can climax or not, it’s me then waiting for him to be ready again and usually it’s not until days later, and he never offers to get me there later that day, we just wait until he’s able to go again. And it’s a struggle for me to know when to ask or even want to try initiating when I’m usually turned down and after so long of that it is easy to begin wondering what’s wrong with me.
    It can be a hard road to walk down and I’m trying to find peace and contentment in what we have. I’m 49 and he’s 58, and my hubby is the love of my life and my best friend, but honestly, I wonder what will happen in the upcoming years regarding our intimate relationship. I don’t want to just settle for very little intimacy, but I guess as Sheila said in her post, intimacy is not just about sex.
    I’m trying to learn not to be selfish in thinking I want more out of our intimacy and pray that I can come to a place where I don’t get upset when things don’t turn out as I as hoped.
    Amy recently posted…A guest postMy Profile

    • I wanted to weep as I read your comment. It is my story as well. I am so sorry. I am praying for you both.

      • Thank you, Jen. I just keep praying and keeping loving through it all. And I’m determined to try and be more open with my hubby about my needs too.
        Amy recently posted…A guest postMy Profile

    • Have you talked to him about how you feel? I know this was a struggle for me also. I always had that higher libido, so I know what it’s like to get turned down all the time. It feels like he’s rejecting you. But things wont change even a little if he doesn’t know how you feel. Maybe you can ask him if once in awhile he would be willing when you’re ready and he’s not.

      • We’ve had plenty of talks about how I crave more frequency in our love making, but I have never been able to ask for him to help me out on those times he isn’t ready. But I guess it’s no different than the advice given to women on taking care of their man’s needs when they themselves aren’t in the mood or maybe unable to have intercourse, kwim?
        I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to ask him. I think I’m afraid he will think I’m only interested in the physical release, but honestly when it only happens barely a handful of times monthly I do crave it.
        Anyway, it’s something I’m praying about. Thanks for the comment. :)
        Amy recently posted…A guest postMy Profile

    • Oh, Amy darlin’. Where have you been. I miss your blogging. I don’t remember if we have talked about specifically this or not, though I do remember discussing vitamin V.

      “I’m trying to learn not to be selfish in thinking I want more out of our intimacy…”
      DO NOT FEEL SELFISH in requesting him to pleasure you. DON’T! I know you well enough to know you would not be offended if he asked the same of you. In effect, he is asking and you are already accommodating him by waiting for him to be ready. I don’t want to beat him up because I know you think the world of him, especially after #1. I will ease the pain somewhat by comparing him to a child you have borne. You can love that child dearly and forgive them a multitude of transgressions, but at some point you have to insist they become responsible for their actions, especially those that affect others. Admitting I don’t know the whole story. I am still going to tell you, you have to lay down the law. I’m not saying to disrespect him or his authority, but it seems he needs to be called out for his own selfish in-actions. If he refuses to do oral, he can to manual. If he is inept and hurtful with his hands, request he assist you with operating a vibrator. Helping you achieve orgasm is an act of intimacy the two of you can share. It is also very possible that, like some women, once he gets involved, he may find the time spent satisfying and fulfilling.

      “I’m afraid he will think I’m only interested in the physical release…when it only happens barely a handful of times monthly I do crave it.” And he should have a problem with this? Has he EVER masturbated in his entire life for release? Duh. You are interested in release, crave it more than a handful of times a month. Own that. Let him know how you feel not having regular orgasm; how it affects you mood and sleep pattern and how you are afraid you will become resentful of his lack of consideration.

      Yeah, this is tough stuff to share with a mate. But what if not discussing it meant an unfulfilled intimate life?
      ” I wonder what will happen in the upcoming years regarding our intimate relationship. I don’t want to just settle for very little intimacy.” You know that is where you are headed if you do nothing. He is a grownup and needs to respond to you like one. If the old sex is not working, HE needs to quit living in the past with his hopes pegged on vitamin V and start living in the sexual present. He will likely mourn the old rock-hard, long-standing erections of the past. I certainly get that, but if he continues to live in denial and refuses to change, it will take the heart right out of your marriage. Not because sex will be missing, but because you will resent his lack of effort to keep intimacy alive between the two of you.

      “…it is easy to begin wondering what’s wrong with me.” Darlin’, there’s noting wrong with you. You enjoy sex…a lot. You apparently need regular sexual release to keep you mood level. Not to sound too clinical, there are a lot of hormones that accompany arousal, sex, and orgasm. I don’t want to sound flippant or denigrating, but, in my opinion, you are a “junkie” for the chemical hits that come with sex. A junkie in the same sense that an overweight person is a junkie for the emotional and physical high that comes with certain food chemistries. You aren’t an addict, but like a diabetic, you need to keep your blood and brain dosed up to feel and be healthy. I hope I haven’t painted too negative and offensive a picture with that analogy. You know I think better of you than to make you sound dependent.

      I suggest this book if I haven’t already: “Sexual Intelligence” by Marty Klein. I can be found in the library most likely.I would have done an Amazon link, but I respect that Shelia’s may not want to appear to endorse this book with a cover photo and link back to Amazon. The hardcover is going for a bargain of $9+change right now. He is Jewish but does not write from a particularly religious perspective if you get my drift. You won’t find him quoting much scripture. I do think everyone, particularly those aging or burdened with physical issues need to consider his concept of redefining what sex is and how we do it when we are presented with perturbing changes.

      Time for tough love, Amy. Prayer is not to be overlooked, but God also expects us to use the wisdom gained from prayer and do something with it.
      Dan recently posted…“Look away! I’m hideous.”: Part 5My Profile

      • Hey Dan, thanks for the reply and encouraging words.

        When I wrote the comment above I admit it was out of frustration and sadness, so therefore I think some of it came out sounding like my hubby is a selfish lover and does not care about taking time to pleasure me. And that is not the case at all or at least not intentionally. Some of what I would perceive as selfishness is simply him not always knowing my desires because I’m not very good at verbally expressing them.

        My hubby is more than willing to pleasure me through oral and/or use of a vibrator during lovemaking, and we just discovered the usefulness of a bullet for me during intercourse too which has been great for us. ;) So, the problem isn’t so much that hubby won’t do those things, it is me needing to ask him to do those things for just me when he isn’t in the mood or physically able to have sex. And that’s where I almost feel weird about it and/or selfish. But you are right, I wouldn’t hesitate to meet his needs if he asked.

        And yes, orgasm is a real mood boost for me and helps me sleep and it does for most everyone I would suspect. I would say I definitely need my ‘fix’ pretty often. :) When it’s been 6 days without I’m becoming grumpy and very discontent. BTW, when we were first together we had much more frequent sex so I have been able to see just how much the infrequency affects me emotionally and physically.

        I believe that the main reason hubby does not take the initiative to just pleasure me alone is that he really wants to be a part of it too, kwim? And for him, PIV is the ultimate experience, he has told me this when I’ve offered other things.
        I think we are also dealing with a decrease in his libido on top of the other issue. As he has told me, his desire for me has not diminished it’s just getting his mind and body to align at the same time that is difficult. His mind wants to, but his body does not always cooperate. And sometimes his body is cooperating, but his mind is having a hard time getting in the game, kwim?

        Anyway, I could write a whole lot more, but since I do have a life outside the computer I should get out there and enjoy it! LOL And today is a great day considering I got some much needed sleep last night, if you get my drift. ;)

        As far as where I’ve been, just walking through my mid-life crisis trying to make out where the road ahead of me is leading. I have so many things I start to write about and then the words just don’t make it onto my blog. I’m still ‘here’ just looking for contentment and peace in this very moment. I’ll be back real soon. ;)
        Amy recently posted…A guest postMy Profile

  9. I could cry over these comments. This is my story. We know the cause of my husband’s ED but in some ways that makes it worse. Other than the medical issue and the resultant consequences, he is a wonderful, thoughtful, generous man. As someone above said, I am the “higher drive” spouse. I love that man but his denial of the extent of his medical problem is hurtful. I would hope he would want more for us. While this sounds selfish, it’s not. I want him healthy. I want a long life with him and I want intimacy with him long into life. I may not get either. So while I read what we can do to make it easier for them, I wish, just for once, that someone would be honest and say this absolutely stinks. It hurts to be denied intimacy, and later a touch or a kiss… because it may lead to sex, and no physical touch like massage…because it might lead to sex, no date nights…because it might lead to sex. Trust me to know what is going through your mind…you are scared. And I am terrified that you will later decide to leave because you think that would be better on the long run. I have told him all of this. And that makes him feel bad. And we continue in this awful spiral of hurt, pain, tears, and discouragement. I am alone in this pit because I dare not tell my close friends and embarrass my husband. And that only leaves me more lonely so we don’t go “there.” He won’t go to therapy even though I’ve told him it is affecting our marriage. So please, quit telling me to think of him. I do everyday. I put him first so no one will no know and he can live in his denial. And I pray that one day he will see it as his responsibility to get help and be healthy for himself and for his marriage and for his family. And I cry myself to sleep almost nightly. Long after he is blissfully asleep.

    • purplecandy says:

      Jenny, my heart goes to you, I felt really touched by your message. There is just one thing i can tell you : you can go for therapy/counseling alone. Of course, if both of you consider it a marriage issue, it is better you both go together, but since he seems to “disagree” on that point, you can still go by yourself, get the help you need to feel better, and to walk through this. I am very sure it will eventually help your husband do his own part of the work.
      Praying for you…

  10. historychick says:

    We deal with PE and ED. Do I love my husband? Absolutely! Is our sex life good? For him. No matter what we try, all the focus ends up on him and his needs. If things work well, he’s done immediately and I’m left unsatisfied while he sleeps like the dead. When things don’t work well, everything stops while the focus shifts to getting him ready which doesn’t let me enjoy anything. Sex has two results: he gets to feel relaxed and sleep soundly while I spend at least an hour, usually two trying to get to sleep no matter how exhausted I am. (I may slap the next person who tells me sex helps you sleep!) There is frustration for both of us, but far more for me. He knows it’s not good for me and that bothers him, but nothing we’ve tried has worked. I’m glad you’re talking about these issues, because for us, these things began in our 30s.

  11. gurian6 says:

    My husband is unable to physically have sex (ever again – the “miracle meds” don’t work for him, probably due to physical damage secondary to surgery) and we need to focus on other forms of intimacy. Are we always joyful? No. Can we grieve and then move on to new forms of intimacy? Yes! But I found it still hurt when the thinking seems to be that there is something that will “fix it”, for example, oral or manual stimulation, implants, injections, etc. When the nerves are destroyed, nothing will help to gain an erection. Fortunately we have a WONDERFUL Christian gynecologist who is supportive and open to our venting. Do we talk to others about our situation? Rarely, because we have found that others want to “fix it” and bring up all the “old” options that did not work, thereby causing a renewed sense of hurt and failure (if it works for others….). I have an awesome hubby and nothing can take away my love for him. It is not contingent upon the function of a specific part of his body. Just sayin’

  12. May I suggest as an alternative to scheduled sex once or twice a week, to schedule it EVERY NIGHT! For well over a year now, my wife and I get naked every night before bed. Neither of us has any expectations, but at a minimum, we hold each other and cuddle and kiss and talk, and if something happens beyond that, great, if not, great. Probably 70-80% of the time we wind up having really good sex, despite the fact that often one or both of us go into it really thinking we’re not up for it. Oh, and we do the same thing pretty much every morning, too. If you love your spouse, and enjoy being naked and touching and talking,then just do it – you may surprise yourself!

  13. I was so thankful to read this article. I am 43 yrs old and married for the first time in October of 2013, I married a young 62 year old. Starting the night of our honeymoon he has had erectile problems. It seems to only be remedied by prescription medication, which is so very expensive. Oh, did I mention he is a penny pincher. As you can imagine those two items are not a good combination. I have a cheap husband that can not maintain an erection. What do I do? We have not had one night of completely fulfilling sex to date. Most of the time it is extremely hurried in order to take advantage of the erection he does manage to get. I am frustrated….we are newly married and still developing good communication habits. This is a sensitive subject, that he is not very willing to approach. Does anyone have any advice?

  14. Finding this article is bittersweet. I am fighting tears as I grieve the loss of what I expected our marriage to be, based on conversations we’ve had prior to marriage. I am encouraged that I am not alone. I am definitely the higher libido one, and in prior relationships my husband was high drive too. On the wedding night I wondered if it was nerves, or too much anticipation, but the things we talked about were very different from the experience we shared. I love him dearly and this is an issue we will work through. Right now I am fighting hard against the feeling it’s me. If I looked like, or perhaps performed like, someone in a previous relationship of his, maybe this would not be an issue. I know he notices women with a much more petite, slender build than me. (I am within a healthy weight range and am often mistaken for 10 yrs younger, so my self-care is not the issue. Plus, I am the same size I was during our dating and engagement). I feel compelled to work at losing so$e weight and slimming down a bit just to know for sure it’s not me.
    At this point he is struggling with initiating anything because he feels he is letting me down. And I am to the point of tears because of the need for physical release, grieving this unexpected place we’re in, and feeling selfish for needing the release as I do. I am angry with God that waiting till marriage to consumate our relationship has turned out this way. He is frustrated that he can’t perform as he has in all other relationships, and I am supporting him in every way I can think of. I know he is devastated. Meds are not working for him. I have suggested we are on a journey to find our new normal, and have enceouraged him to journey with me. We have decided to be intimate with no expectations of intercourse, so he isn’t stressed at the prospect of sisappointing me, and I’m not in a place where I can be disappointed (I’m no longer constantly thinking ‘will this be the night?’). I would love intimacy every 2-3 days. It’s been closer to once every 2 weeks. I can’t discuss this with anyone and feel pretty much alone. All of my friends wish their husbands would ‘leave them alone’. I would be very happy if I was in that situation!
    So this article has helped me not feel so alone, and has brought the tears I’ve supressed to the surface. Let the grieving process continue, so we can move forward. One day I will be able to help others with this experience. For now I will seek God to help us work through this challenge.

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