- Erectile Dysfunction: Can Certain Sexual Positions Help?
- MORE: 20 Things Every Woman Should Know About STDs
- Don’t Make it About You
- Keep the Convo Casual
- Rule Out Physical Factors
- Address the Ways He’s Psyching Himself out
- Take Your Cues from Him
- My Partner Is Impotent — What Can I Do?
- HELPING AN IMPOTENT MAN Find Sexual Fulfillment Again
- When He Loses Desire
Erectile Dysfunction: Can Certain Sexual Positions Help?
Erectile dysfunction is common and not necessarily abnormal. The likelihood of ED increases with age and it can result from both psychological and physical causes. If you have trouble getting or maintaining an erection less than one in five times, it is probably nothing to get too upset about. If you’re having trouble more than half the time, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options for impotence.
“Sexual function in men starts to decline at about age 40, not at age 70,” says David Schnarch, PhD, clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist, and best-selling author of Intimacy & Desire. “You can’t be successful all the time at sex, but that doesn’t mean you just roll over and give up. Don’t become afraid of what you might fail at.”
The Opinions on Sex Position
“Physically, having a successful erection is about getting a good blood supply to the penis,” says Michael Feloney, MD, urologic surgeon and expert on sexual dysfunction issues at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “I don’t know of any studies that show one sex position is better than another, but it would make sense that a sex position that uses a lot of your big muscles and requires a lot of acrobatics will require more blood flow and could take away blood from your erection.”
Traditionally, doctors concerned about blood flow during sexual intercourse have recommended a sex position with the woman on top. However, actual studies that measured blood flow and heart rate during intercourse did not find this position to be any better than others. Schnarch believes that how you adjust your emotional attitude about sex is much more important than the sex position you choose. “If you don’t approach erectile dysfunction as an opportunity to get beyond the idea of sex as a performance and start to work on more important aspects of sex like desire and intimacy, the sex position you choose is not going to matter very much,” Schnarch says.
Working Through Erectile Dysfunction
The best advice on sexual positions is to use common sense and find positions that are comfortable for you and your partner. The following tips may improve the experience for both of you:
- Increase sexual excitement. “There are lots of other ways that a man can achieve an orgasm and give his partner an orgasm without using his penis,” advises Schnarch. “Use your fingers, your mouth — use your imagination. For many men with erectile dysfunction, a mutual form of masturbation may be easier and more pleasurable than traditional sexual intercourse.”
- Find the right place and time. “Choose a place and time to have sex where you can feel relaxed and unhurried. Don’t rush into sex or try to have sex when you are overtired or anxious,” says Dr. Feloney.
- Be comfortable. If your room is too cold or you can’t get comfortable in bed, you will have a harder time sustaining good blood flow and maintaining an erection. Try taking a hot shower together before sex to get relaxed and get your blood flowing better.
- Watch what — and how much — you drink. A little alcohol can relax you and may enhance your sexual experience, and that can be good for erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, too much alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction. You should also avoid caffeine and nicotine before sex, since both of these drugs constrict blood vessels, which can increase erection problems.
The bottom line on sex positions and erectile dysfunction is that there is no single best position guaranteed to work for everyone. Find sex positions that are right for you and focus on creating a comfortable, stress-free sexual environment. Working with your partner to enhance your intimacy and desire is the secret to more exciting sex.
When it comes to awkward sex scenarios, dealing with bodily malfunctions is up there with condom breakage and being walked in on unexpectedly. But it has the potential to be even worse, actually, because there are often some pretty complicated emotions that come along with physical SNAFUs in bed. To be clear: I’m talking about being with a guy who struggles with erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. (There are plenty of other ways our bodies can malfunction in bed—and we women face our own challenges—but here, we’re focusing on the men.)
Erectile dysfunction, or the inability to get or keep an erection, affects millions of men in the U.S., with the number increasing with age. But that doesn’t mean millennial men don’t experience it: According to the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health, mild or moderate ED affects 10 percent of men per decade of life—meaning 20 percent of men in their 20s, 30 percent of men in the 30s, and so on, though we’ll assume with a drop-off at some point.
Premature ejaculation, on the other hand, is when a guy can’t stop himself from ejaculating shortly after penetration. Some sources estimate that 20 to 30 percent of men might struggle with PE at some point or another (the condition can come and go).
MORE: 20 Things Every Woman Should Know About STDs
That’s all to say that the number of women who’ve slept with a guy dealing with one of these disorders is also likely very high. (If we’re going just by my group of friends, that’s certainly true.) And no matter how empathetic you are to the problem, how patient, or non shame-y and blame-y, it’s still just that: A problem. You know it and he knows it, but the question of how to fix it remains.
Below, five smart suggestions from top sex therapists about where to start.
Don’t Make it About You
Though it might be tempting to cave to insecurities the minute something goes wrong—especially when it’s ED—try hard not to turn the focus onto yourself, says sexologist Emily Morse, Ph.D., host of Sex with Emily. “This doesn’t mean he’s not sexually attracted to you,” she says. “Men put so much stock in their penises working properly because of our culture’s idea of masculinity. But the same way that how wet you are doesn’t always reflect how turned-on you are, what’s happening below the belt for him isn’t always an accurate reflection of how badly he wants to be boning you.” Take a deep breath, quiet those inner voices, and resist the urge to ask him why you’re not hot enough to get him hard. Trust: Whatever negative things you’re hearing inside your head, he’s telling himself stuff that’s ten times worse.
Keep the Convo Casual
Along with avoiding talking about yourself, don’t bring an air of gloom, doom, or super-seriousness to the conversation when you do talk to the guy about it. It’ll just freak him out more than he is already. “Don’t have the conversation in the bedroom,” says Morse. “Try doing it over breakfast the next day. Another tip is to do it when you’re in the car or walking the dog—it’s a sensitive topic, so giving them the option not to make eye contact can be a big relief and make the conversation go smoother.” Your tone and vibe matters more than what you actually say, but your message should be something along the lines of, “What happened last night was no big deal! I’ve heard a lot of guys struggle with this, so maybe it’s worth having a doctor check it out.”
Rule Out Physical Factors
In young men, odds are the problem has psychological roots, says sex therapist Laurie Watson, LMFT, host of the podcast FOREPLAY: Radio Sex Therapy. “Here’s how to rule out that it’s physiological: If he has morning erections; if he can get an erection but can’t keep it; and he can get an erection by himself and ejaculate without any problem when he’s masturbating, the problem is not physical.” Instead, there’s probably something going on emotionally or intellectually that he may need to look at. Depending on how serious and invested you are in him and the relationship, that’s something you may be able to help him with.
Address the Ways He’s Psyching Himself out
There are some lifestyle or psychological factors that you can help him address. For instance, is he regularly drinking before you have sex? That can kill a boner. Has he been overdoing it on porn? “Porn keeps raising the bar of stimulation, meaning that men need a higher stimulus to get off because it’s what they’re getting used to,” says Morse. “Tell him—nicely—that if he backs off or takes a break, it could help your sex life.” Also, if you’re fighting in other areas of life, it could be spilling over into bed, says Watson. “If he’s angry at you, he can lose the ability to function properly,” she says. “Some men who cheat have trouble getting hard because they feel guilty and their penises are literally conflicted about sleeping with two women at once.” If it’s nerves, reassure him that you’re having fun no matter what happens with his D—and that he can always pleasure you in other ways. Once he takes his mind off it, he might find that he’s able to get it up or control how soon he comes.
Take Your Cues from Him
If you’re not able to home in on what’s causing the PE or ED, and his doctor says it’s not physical, you could consider seeing a sex therapist, says Watson. Hey, that’s what experts are for! But ultimately, he’s the only one who can get help. “Men are afraid to see sex therapists because they’re afraid they’ll be told they’re inadequate,” she says. “But if he delays getting help for very long, it might indicate that he is not a sex partner who will be willing to grow and change over time.” And that’s a whole other issue in and of itself.
If he’s being a dick about the situation and his ego’s too bruised to work together and find a solution, pay attention to what that’s telling you about him. Is he someone you want to keep sleeping with, let alone dating? “If there’s a pattern of delays, excuses, or anger when it comes to this subject, think twice about staying in the relationship,” says Watson. “It’s not a question of sexual incompatibility, but incompatibility with a person who isn’t a learner, won’t be open, and isn’t willing to change.”
Originally published October 2016. Updated October 2017.
For the past few months I’ve been dating a lovely man but our relationship is at risk because he can’t get it up. He says he fancies me and always seems turned on. Sometimes he gets hard – but when we try for sex he loses his erection. On the few occasions he has got hard, he doesn’t orgasm. I’ve always been a very sexual person and would like a lot of sex. We’re hardly having any. I find it difficult to orgasm even if he tries other things because I keep thinking. Why can’t he have proper sex with me?
What’s going on with him?
For younger men, erection problems usually go hand-in-hand with anxiety. It goes something like this. He fancies you and wants to turn you on. But he’s also worried he might not get, or keep, his erection (particularly if he really likes you and/or if this has been a problem in past relationships). These worries mean that when you try and have sex he doesn’t get hard at all, or loses his erection when he tries to penetrate you.
Of course, this now confirms his worst fears. And because he is anxious – sure enough – the problem repeats itself. He can’t hide this from you, or dismiss it as a one-off. And the shame, embarrassment and fear of losing you (and concern others may learn of his difficulties) can make sex into a source of stress rather than something pleasurable.
Unsurprisingly many men in this situation, regardless of their sexuality, avoid talking about it, hope it gets better, or avoid affection and sex.
What causes erection and orgasm problems in men?
Aside from the sexual worries outlined above, there may be other reasons why he experiences erectile problems.
Might any of the following apply to him?
- Physical health problems (such as heart disease or diabetes)
- Mental health problems (particularly anxiety and depression)
- Side effects of prescription medication (some drugs can make it difficult to get or keep an erection)
- Alcohol, drugs and smoking can all affect erections (it can be particularly counterproductive if he self-medicates with alcohol or drugs to gain some sexual confidence)
- Past history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Some men find the experience of putting on a condom or the feel of a condom can stop them staying hard (he may need to change the condoms he uses or practice using a brand he likes to avoid this problem)
- Other penis problems, such as a tight foreskin, or if he experiences pain when he gets hard or during/after sex (in which case he needs to see his GP)
Why do you feel he doesn’t fancy you?
It’s not unusual to react to a partner’s erection problems with self-blame. That you might not be turning him on, or be attractive enough, or that he doesn’t really love you. Some women worry erection problems are a sign their partner’s cheating or is planning to end the relationship.
These are understandable but unhelpful fears that add to an already anxious situation. And makes conversation difficult – because you don’t want to ask him if you are the problem. Plus, it causes tension if he is struggling with an embarrassing issue and feels you’re making it all about you – when he thinks it is all about his difficulties.
You’ve described him being caring and loving, that he wants to please you sexually, and he has told you he finds you attractive. Rather than assuming these things are not true you may want to focus on building your own confidence and believe him when he tells you nice things about yourself and the relationship.
It may helpful to focus on what is good in other areas of your relationship, as well as things that may make sex more enjoyable (see below).
Making it better
Accepting this is a common problem and learning more about erection worries can help. You and he may want to read this excellent answer on erection problems from Cory Silverberg.
He may also want to try relaxation and mindfulness techniques to reduce his anxiety overall and particularly in relation to sex. Or talk to a therapist if he feels he needs additional support in tackling any underlying issues that are causing the problem.
You both may want to redefine sex, so you take away the pressure of your orgasm or his erections being the goal of all sexual experiences. Or frame ‘proper sex’ as sex that involves penetration.
You get to decide what is normal for you. That might include him still experiencing pleasure from you touching his penis even if he’s not hard. Some men can still orgasm without an erection. Or he may prefer not to have any touching while he is dealing with his erection problems. It is okay for you to orgasm even if he doesn’t. Reading about what might bring you pleasure, or considering how you think about sex can make this something enjoyable to explore together.
If penetration is important to you for orgasm, you may want to consider using sex toys on your own, or during intimacy regardless of whether he is hard or not. This will need a sensitive introduction so he doesn’t feel you are turning to a toy because he cannot perform.
Often in situations where erection problems persist, people avoid sex but also avoid comfort and cuddles. Sharing physical affection in the form of massage, hair brushing, hand holding, or other ways to connect can help you feel bonded even if you aren’t having sex as often as you would like.
One thing to avoid is him self-treating with sex drugs sold online. These herbal or generic ‘cures’ for erection problems will at best do nothing aside from waste your money. But at worst they can cause health problems and even harm him physically.
If this continues and he is distressed by it then he may want to speak in confidence to his GP who can rule out there aren’t other health issues contributing to his sexual problem and/or refer him to a psychosexual therapist.
Petra Boynton is a social psychologist and sex researcher working in International Health Care and studying sex and relationships. She is The Telegraph’s agony aunt. Follow her on Twitter @drpetra.
Email your sex and relationships queries in confidence to:[email protected]
Petra cannot print answers to every single question submitted, but she does read all your emails. Please note that by submitting your question to Petra, you are giving your permission for her to use your question as the basis of her column, published online at Wonder Women.
All questions will be kept anonymous and key details, facts and figures may change to protect your identity. Petra can only answer based on the information you give her and her advice is not a substitute for medical, therapeutic or legal advice.
My Partner Is Impotent — What Can I Do?
There are also many other ways to have fun in the bedroom without penetration. I recommend experimenting with variety and seeing what sensations you most enjoy. The most important thing is to focus less on performance and more on creating a pleasure zone. Perhaps an expectation-free hand job is just the way to help him relax.
If he isn’t open to this, try another relationship-building technique that explores pleasure and reconnection outside of genital-focused touch. Deep kissing, grinding, oral, or anal pleasure could be something to explore.
But don’t neglect yourself, either. Sometimes I find that medical providers tend to focus more on the man’s experience and less on the woman’s. So, for you, it’s best to really get some support for yourself.
Speak with a trusted friend or a professional. Explore the other ways you find satisfaction and pleasure. In some cases, a couple may decide that they can’t meet each other’s sexual needs and find it’s healthier to open up their relationship. I know this is more controversial, but it’s something that people are exploring these days. It doesn’t mean love has left the equation.
Another exercise that can help physical intimacy is sensate focus exercises. Sensate focus is a practice that really takes away the pressure from performance and focuses more on erotic touch and sensual massage. The aim is for both of you to increase body awareness and tune in to giving and receiving touch. It teaches you both to relax and reduce objectification.
By devoting half an hour at least to your week and engaging in nongenital touch and then genital touch, you may feel that lovely feeling of reconnecting and reigniting that physical connection again, in your own way. The best thing about this is that you get to be the authority of your own sexual story and decide what works for you.
Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of only a few university programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Hawaii and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including The Huffington Post, Thrive, and Healthline. Reach out to her through her website or on Twitter.
HELPING AN IMPOTENT MAN Find Sexual Fulfillment Again
I have been an avid reader of Parents for ten years. I am 30 years old and married. My husband suffered an accident and injured his pelvic area and because of these injuries his sexual urge began to dwindle and finally stopped altogether. I am kindly requesting you to address this issue in this column so that I may get some knowledge since I want a loving and fulfilling marriage.
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Some injuries to the pelvic area can interfere with sexual functioning leading to a disturbing condition known as impotence. Other causes of impotence include fatigue, obesity, alcohol, drugs, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, depression, negative feelings and poor sexual learning experiences. Whatever the cause of impotence, results are usually the same – inability of the man to achieve or keep an erection sufficient for intercourse.
In physical terms, the erect penis contains four or five times the volume of blood it has when flaccid. When the man experiences impotence, the vascular reflex mechanism fails to pump in sufficient blood and hold it there to make the penis firm and keep it erect. At times the man may feel aroused and desire to make love, but his penis does not erect. Another person suffering from impotence may be in the process of making love when his erection disappears.
While impotence can be discouraging to the man suffering from it and his partner, the good news is that most of those who take constructive steps towards facing and resolving the problem will regain their sexual powers. Their relationship may be even better afterwards because solving impotence problems requires the kind of loving cooperation from the man’s partner, which can greatly strengthen the couple’s mutual understanding and enrich their expression of love.
Irrespective of the underlying causes of impotence, the situation is made worse by the man’s thoughts. Although every man at some time or other loses an erection, seldom does it become a persistent problem for those with positive mental attitude toward sex. In many cases, the experience of erection loss can set up a vicious cycle of failure/anxiety/more failure/more anxiety until impotence becomes the conditioned mental response to sex instead of the pleasurable experience it should be. Anxiety can narrow into panic as the condition continues, and the more the fear and psychic pain, the more the man escapes by ‘turning off’ from sex. He virtually tries to expunge sex from his life, not only to his own frustration but also of his partner’s.
Impotence that changes a couple’s sex life must be dealt with as soon as possible to save the marriage. It is however important for the woman to realise that impotence is extremely devastating to the man because its cuts away his self-esteem where he is most vulnerable. Impotence involves the organ of his body which most represents his manhood and threatens his ego with the thought that he can no longer satisfy the woman he loves.
A man may feel inadequate and the result of impotence is both frustrating and humiliating. A couple experiencing impotence must see a doctor for help. The man will be given a careful physical examination and a complete urological and endocrinological study may be required. For instance, undiagnosed diabetes or abnormal imbalance could be at fault or exacerbate an injury problem. Physical causes for impotence can be readily detected and some dealt with medically.
Beyond all other impotence factors, there could also be the added problem of a man who is too intensely preoccupied with his ability or inability to achieve and maintain an erection. He is pressured by the fear of failure. He concentrates on his bodily reactions like a spectator at his own lovemaking until self-consciousness destroys all joy, abandonment and sensation of pleasure.
He may try, without success, to command the sexual reflexes, but they respond only to desire and stimulation. He becomes like a person who can’t do anything right and therefore pays attention to his failures and not his successes. Self-consciousness is always self-defeating. It always produces an unsatisfactory state of affairs especially in the lovemaking process. It opens the door to fear of failure, the true villain behind the scenes, and any cure must first deal with fear.
How a woman with an impotent partner reacts and behaves will greatly determine the success of a cure. She may feel rejected and take the blame or react with hostility. She may try to understand the problem and want to help in the most mature and loving way possible. The latter will produce positive results. When a man is impotent, his partner may be the one who holds the key to the cure. The cooperation of a loving partner in restoring a man to sexual vigour cannot be overstated. A woman must be ready to work with her partner, remain loyal and caring, and be more concerned about him than her own ego.
The status of the relationship before the impotence happened will also determine how well the problem solving goes. A woman who is insecure in a relationship may view the partner’s impotency as a personal rejection of her. She may also take it as proof of her own inadequacy as a woman, when it may in no way reflect her partner’s disinterest in her. In fact, men are more apt to fear of failure with the woman they love, while they could perform effectively with a woman they are indifferent to.
Love and erection are not synonymous words. A frustrated husband may have a great deal of desire for his wife but no accompanying erection. A woman in such a situation must learn to think rationally about herself, her husband, and the situation facing them. When she refuses to put herself down and instead puts herself at her husband’s disposal as they work together for a cure, she will take significant steps toward the kind of emotional maturity, which will make her far more desirable than ever before.
Some of the women who complain most about their partner’s not being able to satisfy them sexually turn out to be the least cooperative when it comes to working together to solve the problem. A woman should not be hostile to her partner as this is self-defeating. In helping her partner she will do great service to herself and will perhaps find the love she inwardly longs for as she learns to give.
A woman who is mature, stable and sensitive and acceptant of her husband’s needs can work wonders in their relationship and even without intercourse, there can be a good deal of mutual pleasure as well. The starting point is for the couple to admit that they have a problem – a couple problem – which can be solved. As they move toward finding a solution, they will be ridding one another of the buildup of feelings of inadequacy. The solution to most impotence problems involves three lines of approach – talk, touch and teasing.
Talk refers to reestablishment of broken communication lines, lines that have been battered down by periods of indifference and frustration. The woman must help her partner to put his fears into words. When the conspiracy of silence is broken and the man is able to express how he feels, that is one hurdle out of the way. When each is open to the feelings of the other, a climate of understanding and tender togetherness grows.
Touch refers to physical communication, which may also have broken down as each moved to his own side of the bed after periods of frustrations. The couple must begin again to enjoy the fun and pleasure of affection, of cuddling and caressing, and sleeping close together. Even when there is no intercourse touch brings a feeling of security accompanied by inner satisfaction, sometimes much greater than sexual satisfaction.
Teasing suggests the kind of sexual relationship, which can begin to develop even though the husband is still unable to gain an erection. The couple should agree to spend time together pleasuring each other without any demand for intercourse. The man should use new communication lines to tell his partner exactly what gives him pleasure. As long as both understand that her body is available to him for his pleasure and his body to her, they will find ways of fulfilling each other.
For example, they can enjoy caressing each other in love play without expecting anything further. At this point, the woman should demand nothing of him in terms of arousal. They should simply relax together in a warm, intimate setting while he learns to let his body take over with proper responses. In this setting of leisurely erotic stimulation without sexual intercourse, the penis may get erections that wax and wane. This will remove fear from the man, as he discovers that once an erection is obtained, it will come back if it goes away. To observe the erection come and go is an important part of the training process for both the man his partner, as they gain experiential knowledge that with loving cooperation the erection will always return.
When the time seems right the man should find delight in satisfying his partner by stimulating her clitoris. When he feels ready for intercourse, the woman should be prepared to insert the penis in her vagina. Even if it is partially erect, she can help him ‘stuff’ it in her vagina, and the subsequent stimulation will often increase and maintain erection. The male-above position is usually the most satisfying and stimulating position for most men experiencing difficulty with erection.
The lovemaking process should never be rushed. There is enough time to regain full sexual pleasure and the love play should be carried out in the most pleasurable, leisurely and sensual manner. The woman should wear her most appealing nightgown, which in most cases is no gown at all, and the husband should use the endearing names he once called her. Pet names can be very sexually stimulating.
Once gentle stimulating and erotic encounters have turned the tide from a flaccid penis to an erect one, remember that success breeds more success. The couple should realize, however, that fears of failure in sexual performance could come back at anytime, perhaps when the man is in stress-filled situations. However, if both remember there is always a cure when they turn to each other, sharing their fears, finding comfort and pleasure in each other’s body, relaxing and refusing to demand any performance from the man, the problem will be resolved in time.
A woman must be careful not to make the man feel inferior. She should never put him under pressure and never judge his sexual performance. She must be responsive and seductive, yet not come on too strong in her actions. A loving couple can together make the most of their sexual relationship when problems arise and sometimes find far more pleasure in each other than they ever did before the difficulty developed.
While you may not have any feelings below the waist because of injury or other causes, remember you have a lot of sensations in other parts of the body – the breasts, back, arms, shoulders, face, head, neck and mouth. You can give each other a great deal of pleasure by stroking those areas. Remember lovemaking is an erotic menu filled with many possibilities. Creative lovers don’t limit themselves to foreplay and intercourse.
7 Steps to restoring sexual responsiveness
- Talk to your doctor frankly and openly. Get the best medical advice you can on the physical aspects of sexual interaction and your problem. Include your partner in the discussions.
- Don’t hesitate to consult a sex therapist. Most doctors have not been trained in sexuality problems, nor are they experts in dealing with personal psychology and relationships issues. Consider talking to a sex therapist.
- Don’t react to illness or disability by withdrawing into yourself. Fear of burdening others, shame, and anger about having a disability or being unable to sexually perform can isolate a man or woman. It is important that you learn to share your feelings.
- Think about sex. Read erotic stories, watch videos. Indulge your fantasies. Don’t remove sexual thoughts from your mind. Keep dreaming and thinking about it.
- Masturbate. By exploring your own sexual feelings without concerning yourself about your partner, you can rediscover your sexuality.
- Be affectionate. Even if you do not feel up to having sex or are not able to have it, do not withdraw from physical expressions of affection. During times of stress, you and your partner need physical contact, kissing, hugging, and cuddling and holding hands.
- Have a positive attitude. When you do make love, don’t worry about functioning and performance. The attitude you take about your sexuality is far more important than any physical limitation you may have.
When He Loses Desire
Your husband is attempting damage control. To avoid encountering any possibility of intimacy—which ravages his sense of self—he has withdrawn entirely from contact. He likely doesn’t intend to sacrifice the relationship; that is just a byproduct of his pain and his shame.
If it turns out that he cannot maintain an erection, with or without drugs, your husband needs to know that there is a great deal more to sex than penile penetration. Presumably he, too, has a body attached to his penis and is sensitive to and responsive to being touched all over his body. He needs to know that it is not necessary for him to cut himself off from all pleasure just because he can’t get an erection. And it’s even possible to completely satisfy a partner and bring her to orgasm without an erect penis. He does have two hands, doesn’t he? Even one will do.
For some men, low sex drive has a lot to do with the women in their lives. Men today are often angry with their wives, and that is a great killer of desire. As one husband told Weiner-Davis: “My wife is so critical of me. She hurts my feelings. She finds fault in everything I do. I just don’t want to be anywhere near her.”
Instead of saying “I’d really like to spend more time with you,” or “I really enjoy your company and the last time we went to a movie together I really had a good time,” husbands more often hear: “You never want to do anything.”
For most people, desire doesn’t just happen by itself. It may be possible to get back closeness just be showing your husband some affection.