I got an email the other day from a lady who was asking for advice about how to deal with her new fiancé and his ED. I get quite a few letters from women, actually. (We really do need to start a support site for them). They were both in their 50s and had recently become engaged.
He started experiencing ED problems and began to withdraw and avoid sex and any physical contact. She was wondering what to do. He did not want to talk about it. He said he loved her, but would not discuss THE problem, or the bigger problem of not talking about it. She was now worried that she had made a mistake in getting engaged.
I tell a lot of women to try to think like a guy. (That usually involves not thinking a lot, period, but that’s beside the point.) For many guys, every physical contact is either a nice reminder of sex, or a first step to sex. So, with every touch, he reminds himself, almost wounds himself, that he can’t have sex like he wants to. So, the way to stop those stabs of pain is to stop touching. It’s simple. And it works.
The problem is, it leaves the other person out of the equation. They still need touch. They still need connection. And the wall of protection he has built for himself becomes a wall of rejection for the partner. As challenging as it is, guys in this mode have got to force themselves to still meet the sexual/emotional needs of their partners. The amazing thing is that this is exactly the path to escaping the mental and emotional barricade they have built. By staying connected despite the lack of a dependable erection, both partners are free to explore a new sexual reality. But it’s a lot easier to say than to do.
Sadly, after talking to Carlin about this, my advice to this woman was that she did need to break off the engagement and end the relationship if he was not willing to do the hard work necessary to stay connected. For some guys, the mere threat of this will snap them out of their self-imposed exile. For others, their relationships crumble, their fortress becomes stronger and they enter a monastic world of isolation.
It takes a lot of patience on the partner’s part since there is a period where a guy needs to go to lick his wounds and figure things out. But after that, it’s time to protect the focus of his sexuality – his partner. I work with far too many men who have let ED destroy relationships when sex had to change.
The rules may change but it’s still the same game. I’m so glad there are places like Dodsonandross.com where people can see a very expanded view of sex and sexuality – and none of it is settling for second best!