30 responses

  1. James
    April 7, 2014

    While porn is a huge problem, don’t think that younger guys can’t have health and psychological issues. A guy who stays up until 2:00AM playing video games probably isn’t taking good care of himself and there may be a genuine physical issue, though this is rare.

    Additionally, if a man is overly nervous or overly excited around sex, his blood pressure can spike, which makes maintaining an erection physically impossible. If he can get an erection, then he may struggle with premature ejaculation. This seems like it could be the problem with the younger couples you describe. Problems with ED and premature ejaculation only put more pressure on him. These men may masturbate or turn to porn because these are self-controlled fantasies and there is no pressure. It becomes a vicious cycle.

  2. Roger C
    April 7, 2014

    Over the last few years (I am 51), the “quality” level becomes really erratic. I don’t think I’ve ever had a case where I could not get aroused at all but I certainly get cases where my wife can feel something missing and/or I don’t last as long as she needs. We look at all the usual suspects (sleep, alcohol, emotional closeness, stress, etc.) but frankly it all can seem pretty random. We honestly don’t know why some encounters seem awesome and others are so much less satisfying.

    How do people feel about the “Viagra” type products? If a fifty-something man is basically healthy but wants more “consistency”, is it advisable to experiment with these products? Are there downsides?

    • Sheila
      April 7, 2014

      Roger, I’d definitely talk to your doctor about it and try it! I mean, we start needing reading glasses when we hit our 40s. Our bodies just change. If there’s something out there that can help, I think it’s worth a try. So just talk to your doctor.

    • Caligirl
      April 11, 2014

      Try the Encore pump. Very effective. No drugs and no prescription required. Under $200.00

  3. lisa
    April 7, 2014

    Sheila..Thank you so much for this post. We’ve been going through this for some time and you’re spit on! From the feelings of insecurity in myself to the way it’s messed up his mind. We’re working through it and your series is much appreciated. I’ve already purchased The Good Girl’s Guide To Sex and we’ll be reading it together. God bless you.

    • Sheila
      April 7, 2014

      So glad I can help! It’s a difficult thing to write about because it’s so different for each couple. I hope I can shed a little bit of insight on it, but I know that everyone walks through it a little differently.

      • lisa
        April 7, 2014

        I hope you know I meant SPOT on :)

  4. Julie
    April 7, 2014

    Having spoke to quite a few couples on this and also researching on various christian blogs I would also like to list these things that can cause ED:
    1) extreme stress & tiredness, but especially work and maritial stress at any age
    2) extreme disrespect towards the husband, both sexual and non sexual. From refusal over a long period of time to not respecting a husband. Men’s preformance is not just tied to the physical, but the psychological and how they are treated will effect, to greatly effect, depending on the level of severity.

    • Larry B of larrysmusings.com
      April 7, 2014

      Point number 2 by Julie is relevant in more marriages than we care to admit. There really is an emotional and psychological component to male sexuality that is often either overlooked or trivialized in the US and Canada. Many husbands may withdraw emotionally and not really desire sexual intimacy if they are being disrespected by their wives.

      I would also point out that on the physical side, a more natural diet can help in this area. Exercise and getting enough sleep each night can help to alleviate ED in some men. Vigorous exercise, such as regular training in the weight room, can help the body to make more of its own testosterone. Prescription medications (for other medical conditions) can make ED worse for some men. For the wife, whose husband is suffering from ED, try taking more time in foreplay. This can help some men to achieve and maintain erection. Keep the stimulation going as that can help.
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  5. Amy
    April 7, 2014

    My husband and I have been married for 2 1/2 years (second marriage for both of us), he is 58 and I’m 49. Hubby has been on blood pressure meds for over 10 years and dealt with ED since that time. And needless to say, he does require the use of vitamin ‘V’. ;)
    Since he had already been dealing with this issue before we got married it doesn’t seem like a big deal to him and I certainly don’t think any less of him for it, it’s just how it is. But I would say the one issue, at least for me, is having to schedule lovemaking which can be difficult during those times I’m wanting to connect sexually suddenly and he just isn’t ready. We usually just agree to wait until the next morning or later in the day, but for me that can get frustrating when I’m in the mood and suddenly have to just stifle that desire until a later time. Then suddenly he’s ready and I wake up sleepy and not feeling very sexy, kwim?
    So, I guess to sound a little selfish here, I think it’s harder on me because I have a higher drive than him and we can’t just make love at the drop of a hat.
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    • Kendra Burrows
      April 7, 2014

      I sure hear you, Amy! You don’t sound selfish at all. Life is full of adjustments and compromises, and our society is used to thinking about guys compromising to have sex less often but don’t think about women doing the same. In fact, some men have argued that it might be more difficult for women because they haven’t been practicing controlling their needs since they were 14 years old! ;-) Hang in there dearie! Keep communicating with your husband. My heart hears you!
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      • Amy
        April 7, 2014

        Thanks for the kind words, Kendra! This has certainly been an issue for me, not so much the ED, but how to gain a little more spontaneity if that’s even possible. And yes, communication is key in all aspects of marriage, but especially during a difficult time as this. :)
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  6. Robert
    April 7, 2014

    Different blood pressure meds can have different effects. I believe beta blockers can cause ED. I was on Toprol, a beta blocker, for years ,and had periodic problems with ED. Then my doctor switched me to Lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor), and it’s been a LOT better!. I also had a brief period of ED when I was on Lipitor – not a known or listed side effect, and it may have been unrelated, but I changed my diet and got off Lipitor and that helped a lot.

    Although it’s often a more difficult, long-term solution (no “quick fix” as in adjusting meds), you cannot understate the importance of diet, exercise and stress reduction. Since I’ve been eating better, exercising more, and consciously working at de-stressing my life, I have virtually no problems with ED. I’m 57, and very often get and maintain an erection as good as when I was in my 20s.

    As far as the performance-anxiety/stress vicious cycle, my wife has been so wonderful when I would have some difficulty, and we now agree that at a minimum, we hold each other naked and just kiss and talk and enjoy being close, with no expectations or pressure. Sometimes that’s all that happens, and we’re both very happy with that, but more often than not, after 5-10 minutes, well, let’s just say there’s no ED around any more!

  7. Deanne
    April 7, 2014

    My husband and I have been dealing with this problem off and on for years now. For along time he was using Viagra and it worked great! Then about 3 years ago it stopped working. He went to the doctor to find out why and see if there was anything else he could try. That was when he was diagnosed with diabetes. We were able to get his blood sugar under control and things started working again. Not regularly, but we were able to have sex again. But that has not been the case for the last 15 months. We have tried everything!!! and nothing works. It has been a long emotional year for us. We are learning to find real intamacy with what we have and learning to surrender it to the Lord. I never thought that at 41 I would have to give up sex, but were praying through this and know that God is using this to teach us something. Thank you for this post, I have been one that has struggled with thoughts of “Is it me”? Thinking I was part of the problem. It’s nice to know that I am not the only woman out there who struggles through this with her husband

  8. Will
    April 7, 2014

    I certainly agree that men, especially over 50 with high blood pressure, really need to make their doctors pay attention to their concerns about ED and meds. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, home to one of the top medical center complexes in America (UAB) but it is very, VERY hard to find a urologist or GP who will actually take ED concerns seriously. The drug companies seen to give them marching orders where BP meds are concerned. The latest/greatest most expensive non-generic is what they always prescribe, and the ones I have seen act like you are a complete idiot if you suggest they try something that won’t kill the moment in the bedroom.

    Another word of caution for the wives of men with some ED issues – if hubby is like me, and the togetherness and intimacy of sexual oneness is way more important than ejaculation, don’t doubt hubby’s word when he tells you it’s ok. The act is just as pleasurable for me and while a “normal” conclusion is preferred, as long as we are together and loving one another during the act, a “misfire” or two is no biggie, and NO, it is not a reflection on sweet wifey’s physical attraction.

    • Sheila
      April 7, 2014

      Will, that’s very encouraging. Thank you! I’m talking about the togetherness and intimacy on Wednesday, and I hope that many couples can move towards that view of it.

  9. Megan G.
    April 7, 2014

    This is such a great post! We’re in our early/mid 30s, but we’ve talked about how we want to handle it if/when it happens. I like how you stressed handling it matter of factly, even if it feels really emotional at the time. I’m making a mental note! My dad had a long term affair while he was married to my mom, and deep down, I really struggle against the idea that all men do this (or want to). My husband is a wonderful man who is aware of the pitfalls and is very careful in his relationships with women at work, having appropriate boundaries, etc. But, it’s still hard for me – I know that’s my baggage, though. Hearing you say to handle it matter of factly may help me have an appropriate reaction if it even needs to be discussed.
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  10. LJ
    April 7, 2014

    My husband and I have been married for 3.5 years and have been dealing with ED the entire time (we are in our 20s).
    We were both virgins and did not expect that we would be dealing with this issue, let alone for so long… We’re trying to get pregnant and ED is our biggest roadblock. We have tried all kinds of solutions: we have seen a counsellor, have seen our individual physicians, have tried Viagra, have read some great Christian books on sex and intimacy, and have spent a lot of time in prayer… But nothing seems to help.
    Personally, I am so frustrated and depressed with our situation. It is not the kind of topic that I can go to my girlfriends for advice, and it is isolating. We both have a low libido as a result and don’t know what else to do.

    Thank you so much for addressing this topic!

  11. ARBrown
    April 8, 2014

    Sheila thanks for tackling this topic . However it is sort of frustrating to see the same information over and over. Not all men can take ED drugs nor can they take shots nor does the pump always work. It would be nice to have a frank discussion of what it means to be sexually intimate outside of intercourse. Dr. David Schnarch in one of his books wrote the following” what if you never can you have intersourse again” Does this mean you are not sexually intimate anymore-of course not. Also PLEASE beware of the fact that ED can be a forerunner of major heart health issues. So after living with this issue for the last 19 years and being in a sexless marriage for 4 out those ninteen years this is what my husband and I have done- talk and redefine what it means to be sexually intimate with each other, Mind you that we have married for 32 years- it was only after I addressed the white elephant in the room that things began to turn around. We play and we have fun-are we initimate again- yes -does intercourse enter in to things- not often and not successfully. Are we making it work-yes. So Ladies- go for the brass ring- talk to your husband about what you want outside of intercourse. Men- understand that intercourse does not define who you are and what it means to make love to your wife. MOST of ALL sex is meant be bonding and fun – so go have fun.

    • Sheila
      April 8, 2014

      Don’t worry–that post is coming on Wednesday! I just couldn’t fit everything in one post, or the post would be too long!

  12. CJ
    April 9, 2014

    I’m wondering what I’m supposed to do when 1. Money is tight and can’t afford the doctor (especially for a non life threatening condition). and 2. Hubby doesn’t really care that he can’t get an erection. He just shrugs it off as “Well, I tried, but it just isn’t working” and that’s good enough for him?? HE doesn’t think he has a problem, even though he knows it’s a problem. He had problems to start with, I’m assuming, because of high blood pressure, and even after getting on meds, he still has the problem. Doctor who gave him the blood pressure meds just says “Well, it shouldn’t be a problem”……and pushes us out the door :/ I’m barely 40, we’ve been through a lot of stress, the death of our oldest son to cancer 2 years ago, and we need this connection…..Despite the fact that our sex life has never been fantastic, I’m not ready to be in a sexless marriage.

    • Sheila
      April 9, 2014

      Yes, CJ, that is really tough. Unfortunately, as I said in the post, if the communication isn’t there and you can’t both agree it’s an issue, then it’s so much more difficult to deal with it. I’d just recommend keep plodding through and trying to talk to him. I’m so, so sorry about your son, too. I’m sure that this has really contributed to everything. I pray that you’ll be able to cling to each other through this really awful pain.

  13. Sandra Houtz
    April 9, 2014

    We had/have this issue due to his blood pressure issues … he takes meds for that and of course one of the side effects id ED, so he has a prescription for Vitamin V (Viagra) our insurance does not cover it either … but we had the doctor prescribe 100 mg. and he cuts them in half and we save some money that way versus buying the 50 mg tabs at $20 a tab … very expensive and of course there is no generic yet as Pfizer is fighting to keep the patent in tact :( He doesn’t need the med to much anymore as he has lost some weight and adjusted his eating habits and that has all helped in that department … but Shelia is spot on with not focusing on just intercourse … there is so much more to “sex” in marriage than just the pure physical “intercourse” … :) Explore other avenues of pleasure that maybe you have never thought of … it’s quite exciting to think outside the “vagina” for a change!

  14. Elisa
    April 12, 2014

    One common cause of ED for folks I know, including us, is prostate cancer. It’s a devil’s choice. If you choose radiation, then there are few options if the cancer returns. If you choose the surgery, you can do radiation if the cancer comes back. But even with the new DaVinci surgery, ED is often a result. And if the man has the hormone therapy, all desire is gone. Thankfully my husband is cancer-free two years out. But ED is a struggle. We tried Viagara and its clones. Nope. We tried actually injecting the drug into his penis. (Ew) Nope. Now we are using the pump. It works, sort of. We are very limited on positions because his erection is not firm enough for my favorites. And it is big process. By the time he has finished getting ready, I have lost my mojo. Add to that we both have stressful, exhausting jobs and just don’t have the energy to go through the whole process. It is so frustrating. Still, at least I have my husband, so I try to focus on what we do have.

  15. Abbi
    May 5, 2014

    I’ve been up for a few hours searching for recent articles to give me to some indication on how to deal with this situation. I am 29. My husband of 9 years is 32. He has been diabetic for 8 of those years, along with a few other health issues and has struggled with ED now for a year. A year and a half ago he decided to take control of his health, resulting in a total lifestyle change, losing 50 pounds, lower medications, the works. everything improved but the ED. Recently he’s become very depressed about it and I’m just not sure what to do. He’s stopped working out which had been his stress relief and he’s totally unmotivated in just about every area/aspect of life. It’s really hard and I just don’t know what to do for him.

  16. Wendy
    September 6, 2014

    That “don’t” about don’t make it about you is wrong. It’s about both of you. It’s natural to have those thoughts, especially if it’s your first time dealing with ED. It’s all about the poor man who’s willy won’t work. Guess what? It’s also about you and how you feel rejected by this failure. As women we’re told to be sympathetic, to seek help, to do all these things that good wives do for our husbands. Yet it’s not just about him. It affects your relationship, it affects his manhood and willingness and your overall need for that intimate connection. So, yeah, it’s ok to make it about you too.

  17. DEE
    September 29, 2014

    I am 31 y/o female my husband is 42 y/o when we were dating 5 years ago I noticed he had some issues maintaining an erection, but it was not every time when we were intimate. My husband is the most sweetest and companionate man I have ever known. Over the 5 years his ED has increasingly got worse so much that I gave him an ultimatum. The ultimatum was he needs to get to bottom of why the ED is happening and how to correct the ED or we will need to call it quits and put off our wedding plans. It is 2 years from the time I said this to him and now we are married, but the ED is worse. He has went to the MD; no low testosterone, no diabetes, no high blood pressure. He has started working out daily and loss weight; ED still present. Psychologically he is not affected by porn; he does not really like porn so that is not an issue. I have ask have he had any type of sexual trauma from his past; he has had none. I am and have been a very supportive wife to my husband concerning this issue. I am young and before my husband had a very healthy and active sex life that I miss and crave for again. Marriage is through sickness and through health, but I am not sure what else to do. I have recommended to him that maybe we need sex therapy, since he has stated that he was never really intimate when he was younger like other guys. I have even asked him did you have any feelings to males, which he stated “NO”! Maybe he lacks how to be intimate? Will sex therapy help him?

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