Coping with Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to the difficulty or inability to keep an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. While any man can suffer from this condition, it is most prominent in senior men or individuals who suffer from an underlying health condition. Because sexual arousal is such an essential part of life, this diagnosis can be incredibly devastating for the patient and their partner.
ED is more than just a physical condition. It can certainly be a source of embarrassment, stress, and emotional turmoil for patients and their sexual partners. However, ED can be managed, and people can still live a satisfying life with this condition. Here, we will discuss some real-life tips on coping with ED day-to-day and what you can do to set yourself up for the best chance of success.
1. Be Patient With Yourself
ED is a complex condition that may take some time to sort out the proper treatment plan. Be patient with yourself as you move through the process. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others to try out.
Keep in mind, many people with ED also have underlying health concerns, such as diabetes. If that is the case, then you may need additional time to get that condition under control as well. Each day is a move in the right direction. The first step is diagnosing it.
2. Have Open Communication
While it may be difficult to communicate openly about your feelings, it’s necessary when it comes to handling ED long-term. You should be open with your partner and your doctor about where you are at mentally with the condition.
Your doctor may be able to offer resources for therapy, and your partner can support you if they understand what you are going through.
Speak about how sex makes you feel or what makes you feel angry or overwhelmed. Keep in mind; partners often struggle with understanding their role in this process. Be sure to be expressive, so they know what kind of support you need.
3. Focus on Becoming Heart Healthy
Many individuals with ED suffer from other conditions. Focus on creating the healthiest, most active lifestyle you can. Keeping your cardiovascular system in good shape may not reverse the symptoms of ED, but it can slow its progression.
Maintaining your health sets you up for the best chance of success and can help reduce the chances of the development of other conditions that may also influence sexual arousal.
4. Experiment Sexually
There are multiple ways to experience sexual pleasure without focusing primarily on the penis. Instead, consider other forms of pleasure sure as oral sex, masturbation, or just intimate cuddling.
For some people, taking control of intimacy on your terms helps to relieve the pressure and stress associated with the inability to get an erection. While for others, redefining sex goes a long way in assisting them to come to terms with their situation while still feeling a sense of control.
5. Get a Support Network
People who are most successful at combatting ED are those that include people in their process. The support of a committed partner can go a long way toward making patients feel comfortable and at ease with their treatment plan. Invite your partner to come to doctor visits and keep them updated on where you are at with your treatment plan.
6. Talk Therapy
Don’t underestimate the emotional toll ED can have on your body and mind. If you struggle with anger, frustration, and stress associated with ED, then it may be time to seek additional resources. A therapist can help you manage your anxiety and learn coping mechanisms.
7. Attend Sex Therapy
Common erectile dysfunction treatment options include oral medications, natural and alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes.
Learning to live with ED can be a learning process for both you and your partner. A sex therapist can offer insight into what other activities you can do to feel intimate without the frustration. Your doctor can point you in the right direction for resources in your area that may help.
8. Seek Support Groups
Sometimes, it allows people to hear from others who are living with ED. There may be support groups in your area that will enable you to hear from other people who have been in the same situation you are in.
It could help to hear about other successful treatment programs, difficulties other people have had, as well as the coping mechanisms that they have established to help them live their happiest life.
9. Deal With Anger
Anger is a negative feeling that has an impact on many areas of a man’s life, especially if they experience erectile dysfunction. The combination of anger and ED may lead to a vicious circle, as anger triggers ED episodes, which in turn will cause further frustration. It is important to understand the link between anger and ED and to use some quick and easy tips to eliminate it from your life.
Anger and irritability are felt naturally and are normal reactions to impotence or ED, but different people will experience different reactions.
In many cases, an ED sufferer will display upfront anger. Upfront anger is displayed towards a person who has angered you in any given situation. For example, upfront anger may be displayed towards a wife or a doctor if the individual has difficulty expressing their sexuality. “I’m frustrated and angry right now because I’m having difficulty expressing my sexuality!” This type of reaction is normal, as long as is not followed by violent outbursts.
Taking an anger management program can help ED as it is specifically designed to help you cope with emotions related to anger and ED, regardless of how is expressed. During anger management classes you will learn how to deal with a variety of emotions, and to be in control of your feelings. Relationships will likely improve during a program; you will feel more energy and less stress.
The ED episodes triggered by frustration and anger will naturally and quickly improve. You will learn how to use the anger in a constructive way so that you can focus your energy on your goals and boost your confidence.
10. Eat Foods That Help ED
If food is going to be your medicine, then what foods could help with a condition such as erectile dysfunction? Here’s a list of foods that are good possibilities:
- Blackberries and bilberries – The connection between the berries and sexual function is through the antioxidant system. Berries are high in antioxidants, which quench free radicals. One thing you need to overcome erectile dysfunction is a blood vessel-dilating chemical called nitric oxide. The anthocyanins (antioxidants) found in berries quench the free radicals that damage nitric oxide.
- Elderberries – Elderberries aren’t often eaten, but you can get elderberry juice at the health food store. Also, elderberry extract is available. Elderberry contains the same anthocyanins found in blackberries and bilberries and will have the same effect on the blood vessels, dilating them.
- Dark Chocolate – Eating dark chocolate is another way you can get the blood vessels to dilate. When they dilate, they allow more blood flow to get through to the penis so that it can better perform its functions. The active ingredient in chocolate that does this is epicatechins, which are flavonoids. One study found that all that was needed was 1.6 ounces of dark chocolate to improve the dilation of the arteries by 10 percent.
11. Try Different Intimacy Positions
While there are not many studies out there that show that any one sex position for erectile dysfunction is more beneficial than another, typically positions that require the use of bigger muscles or more acrobatics tend to draw blood away from the penis and to those areas. This can cause the loss of an erection.
Usually, doctors recommend that a solution to this problem is to have your partner take the top position. In theory, this will allow blood to stay concentrated in your lower region. However, there is no real evidence to support that this position is any better than another.
Researchers are now pointing to a man’s emotional state of mind during sex. If he can concentrate on the intimacy and desire aspects of sex rather than treating it as a performance, he is more likely to maintain an erection for the duration of sex.
It may go without saying that the best way to choose a sex position for ED is to find one that is comfortable for both you and your partner. Focusing on less complex positions will give you more time to concentrate on intimacy with your partner, putting less pressure on you to perform well. Also, there are other things you can try to do to work through your ED without changing too much of your sex life.
The Bottom Line...
Living with ED does not have to be a prison sentence. Diagnosis and the implementation of the treatment plan is the best way to get on track to learning how you can manage your life with this condition. Keep in mind, this is a process, but clear communication and commitment to overcoming it can certainly go a long way on your road to creating your healthiest life.