What role can my partner play in the treatment of erectile dysfunction?

Answers from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.

While it's not possible or appropriate in every case, involving your partner in your erectile dysfunction treatment can be helpful.

Research suggests that erectile dysfunction has a negative impact on both a man and his partner, and might be a considerable source of distress for both members of the couple. In addition, many erectile dysfunction medications work best with the aid of sexual arousal. Relationship problems might hamper drug effectiveness. Involving your partner in your erectile dysfunction treatment might help improve your treatment success and restore a positive sexual experience for you both.

For example, your partner might:

  • Help you talk to your doctor. Your partner might remember something that you forgot to share or better describe changes in the patterns of your erectile dysfunction.
  • Offer your doctor perspective on your relationship. Your partner might help your doctor understand any issues you have as a couple, such as communication problems or other sexual issues.
  • Benefit from learning from your doctor. Talking to your doctor about the physiology and psychology of sexual function and sexual intimacy can help your partner understand why erectile dysfunction happens. Your partner also might benefit from learning about your treatment options, what role he or she can play and treatment expectations.
  • Help you with your therapy. Your partner can provide input or feedback about your treatment and help you adhere to your therapy.

If you'd like to involve your partner in your treatment for erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor. He or she might also recommend that you and your partner see a sexual and relationship therapist.

Dec. 31, 2014