HomeSex & RelationshipsAsk the Goddess: Navigating Erectile Dysfunction

Ask the Goddess: Navigating Erectile Dysfunction

A Case of Erectile Dysfunction

Trying to Look on the Upside

Dear Goddess,

I have been happily married for many, many years now. My husband and I are still quite passionate with one another. Sadly, he has some serious health issues that have emerged, and a side effect of his disease is impotence (Erectile Dysfunction). He cannot safely use medication to treat the ED. He feels terrible that he isn’t able to pleasure and connect with me in that way anymore. I know his self-esteem is really hurting.

I miss it too, but there is nothing to be done and it isn’t really his fault, so I’m okay with our situation. I tell him this all the time and reaffirm that my love for him isn’t only sexual, but still he feels bad. He wants to pleasure me any way he can, and he does oral and finger stimulation often. It isn’t the same, though… What can I do to help him see that all is well on my end? That I’m happy with our love just the way it is?

Thank you,

Barbara from Santa Cruz, CA

erectile dysfunction

Don’t Let it Get You Down

Dear Barbara,

It can be very difficult to navigate the fluctuating sexual appetites that a long-standing relationship can create. Women go through hormonal changes, pregnancy, menopause, being pissed off, among other things… all of which can contribute to a declining, or sometimes nonexistent, sex drive. Men are often more stable in the first 40 years of their life, and only start feeling betrayed by their “member” as they age and their testosterone level plummets.

Sadly, there are more than 3 million cases of Erectile Dysfunction in the U.S. alone, each year. Chances are, if you are a man with a penis, you have had an issue with erectile dysfunction at some point, for some reason. And, if you are a woman, you have likely had to deal with a flaccid penis when you are craving some hot penetration! It can be difficult to process the diversity of feelings that may come up. Dealing with that emotional let-down in the heat of the moment can be rough.

I understand, Barbara, that your situation has been going on for some time now, and that your expectations are reality-based. For some though, that just simply isn’t the case. Perhaps they don’t understand the condition, or haven’t experienced it before. If you will please indulge me, I would like to respond to your question by focusing on a broader perspective of Erectile Dysfunction. That way, perhaps, I can help more people in the process. I hope you don’t mind.

erectile dysfunction

Living With Erectile Dysfunction: The 5-Step Method

Step 1: Get in touch with YOUR feelings.

When you are dealing with a partner’s chronic and irreversible case of Erectile Dysfunction, it’s important to be thoughtful about your feelings and temperament. Affirming your love and attraction to him is an important step, and one that you get to control. How he feels and how he reacts is what he gets to control. Making sure that you are clear in your own mind about what you want, and how to best communicate that, is an important first step.

For example, are you really “in the mood” and wanting an orgasm, or do you just want intimacy and cuddling? The latter can lead to the former, so it’s good to remember and perhaps prepare in advance (if need be) for some accessories to be handy (if you’re into that sort of thing). Hint: If you don’t know where to start with this, I included some links for you to check out below!

Step 2: Get in touch with HIS feelings.

Back to feelings. As women, we can often internalize feelings of rejection when our partner isn’t aroused. We have been programmed all of our lives to believe that men get boners for everything and they can’t help it when they are turned on. (This is mostly untrue, though it takes a lot of maturity and emotional intelligence for a man to be able to override his mental and physical stimulation.) The result of this programming is that we feel like we are unattractive to our partner if they struggle with lift-off.

We need remember that men are comprised of the same things we are: tissue, bones, muscles… the masculine, and the feminine. Their emotions are a valid part of their ecosystem, just like ours. We cannot discount how their emotions and hormonal changes might affect their ability to get an erection. We know, as women, that we can’t always get aroused. We cannot always orgasm on demand (or at all). Sometimes, it’s related to our partner and their behaviors, but most often, it’s just a biological or mental function that isn’t in alignment with intercourse at that time.

Step 3: Don’t take it personally.

The long and short of it is that we MUST NOT take on their inability to get hard as a barometer of our own ability to please our man. And, we mustn’t take on the idea that there is something wrong with our man, either. There may well be, but it may also just be one of those days. Be gentle with yourself and your lover. Men are going to feel pretty gnarly about not being able to get Mr. Johnson to stand at attention.

Men are so often programmed from childhood to believe that the size of their penis, the look of their penis, the girth of their penis, etc., are measures of their masculinity and their ability to attract and please their partner. There is a lot of “stuff” that is attached to their psyche that they may not even be aware of.

Some men are excellent communicators and are able to express how they are feeling in deep and profound ways. Others, however, have not learned (yet!) how to move into and through those feelings. Instead, their response may come out gruff, as rejection, in the form of an excuse, or in some other way that doesn’t promote love and acceptance. This is normal.

It is also normal for us to become triggered by their lack of response (or their irritable one). It’s a beautiful thing when we can choose to just love them anyway, and to love ourselves, as well.

erectile dysfunction

Step 4: More love, not less.

Biology is biology, psychology is psychology. There are things that are within our control and things that are not. The correct answer to any question, though, will be found with more love, not less, and that’s certainly true in this case. And, sometimes, giving another space is the best way to show that you love them.

When faced with an episode of Erectile Dysfunction, try asking yourself:

  • “What do I need right now to feel good and safe?”
  • “What does my partner need to validate my love for him in his moment of vulnerability?”

It is so important to remember that it isn’t your role to fix his feelings. You can offer support by using words that are kind and accepting. You can offer support by offering sexual play in non-penetrating ways, or by using some fun sex toys. You can offer support by giving him a massage (straight or sexual). You can offer support by asking him what he needs or wants in that moment and being willing to honor what he says (or doesn’t say).

Step 5: Explore your options.

You may choose to discuss options with him at another time, after he is able to care for his feelings in his own way and time. Many men need some time and space to process what they want and need. It may take several days, or more, for him to be ready to explore ideas and create solutions. There are any number of non-pharmaceutical ways to explore sex with your partner who deals with erectile dysfunction, and you can have a lot of fun figuring out what works for you!

Helpful & Fun “Tools” to Try

There is a superb device called the Pulse III Duo by Hot Octopuss. It encircles a soft or somewhat hard penis, stimulating the frenulum with a vibration, and it has a vibrating piece on top that will stimulate you while you lie together.

Another genius idea is a hollow strap-on. It allows a soft-to-hard penis to be inserted into a hard penile shell, affixed to a hip holster, so that you can make love in a range of positions in a very realistic way. There are many other brands and types of toys that can help with your copulation joy, so I encourage you to explore and experiment!

There are some studies out about medicinal mushrooms (Cordyceps sinensis and Ophiocordyceps sinensis, in particular) that have shown some promise for helping with ED. There are also many other natural and herbal remedies that might help. I’m not going to advise about any in particular; I trust you to do your own research and feel your way into the best options specific to you and your situation.

With Love,

The Goddess

Important Note: Please consult a doctor to find out which meds and supplements are safe for you.


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