Lovers—men & women alike—cringe at the thought of erectile disfunction entering their bedroom. Here’s what you should do (and why it’s really a blessing).
—See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World—
What to Do If Your Man Gets Erectile Disfunction:
You read it right. After interviewing many women who have been with men struck with E.D. they almost invariably say they are the best lovers they’ve ever had. There are some sound reasons for this rather unexpected reaction. And once you see what they are, your ideas about what constitutes true, fulfilling intimacy may likely change forever.
DISCLAIMER: at the risk of sounding self-serving, I am clinically impotent and don’t pretend to be any great lover. Much of what I discuss below is based upon my own personal experience and interviews with other women.
A Man’s Worst Nightmare
In our culture, one of the worst things that can happen to a man is that he have an episode of erectile dysfunction. Or, God forbid, full blown clinical impotence. The male potency imperative is so strong that I’ve had men tell me they would rather die than lose their erectile function. Even a temporary bout of E.D. is enough to send most men into a self-confidence funk followed up by a frenzied call to their doctor for a prescription of Viagra or Cialis.
Some female partners are negatively affected as well. Even if the cause is purely physical, they can interpret their man’s flaccid response as a sign that he no longer finds them attractive. I suspect that the more secure a woman feels about her own sexuality and attractiveness, the less this is an issue.
A Woman’s Dream
While not at all a scientific study, I’ve observed that a woman’s age can have a huge impact on how she wants and expresses intimacy. Generally speaking, it seems that women of childbearing years put a much higher premium on intercourse. Once a women approaches menopause their desire for penetrative sex seems to wane. That doesn’t mean their desire for physical intimacy is any less, just how they want to experience it can be quite different from their early “rip our clothes off” stage. Again, these are general observations not based on any scientific study and there will always be exceptions.
So if you accept this possibility for the moment, you can see how a man with E.D. could be a blessing to his post-childbearing age female partner. If he can get over his “loss” and explore other ways of being intimate with her, they will both likely be very fulfilled. I interviewed one 40-year old woman who said her previous boyfriend had a bout of E.D. and ended up becoming the world’s greatest lover. Then, his function eventually returned and he became “a dick again,” looking for other places to put it. Which tends to explain why he is a “previous” boyfriend.
I have an idea as to what is happening here. When we guys get a hard-on, there is this very deep, visceral / primal urge to use it and use it now. This tends to make us and our lovemaking very penile-focused—which is great for making babies, not always so for making love that is deeply connecting and fulfilling for both parties.
When men lose the ability to get erect they also lose some of the urgency that comes with it. And if the man so affected can successfully separate his sense of manhood from his erectile function, it opens him and his partner up to exploring other ways of being deliciously intimate. He is also likely to to slow down and be more present for his partner, perhaps in ways he never considered or thought possible when things were working properly.
Threshold to Intimate Discovery
Should you learn that your man is no longer able to “perform” in the usual way, even if temporarily, it is your cue to help him through it. The first thing is to genuinely reassure him you love him and find him just as attractive and sexy as ever. Then have an authentic, vulnerable conversation on what other ways you both can explore to express exciting, fulfilling intimacy with each other.
Treat this moment as a great adventure that leads to untold pleasurable treasures. And, by all means necessary, never allow the term “performance” to enter your bedroom. Instead, replace it with presence—the art of being fully present for each other when making love. Being present for each other during intimacy is about the most sensual thing two people can do in the bedroom.
So should your guy ever have an issue with getting it up, try seeing that as an invitation to explore what truly is possible intimately speaking. You both may find that there is much to celebrate indeed.
This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the author’s full (and kindest) permission.