Give Online: Help shape patient care for generations to come.
Cleveland Clinic Logo

Diseases & Conditions

How to Talk to Your Partner About Erectile Dysfunction

If you are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED), you might experience many emotions, including anger and resentment. While this is understandable, you shouldn’t "shut out" your partner while dealing with the problem. Your partner is also affected by your ED. Communication is essential to successful diagnosis and treatment, and can help your partner understand how you feel.

The best way to communicate with your partner is to talk openly about sex and your relationship. Try to get past the initial embarrassment and awkwardness, and confront the problem head on. If you have difficulty discussing this topic, you should seek counseling. A man who has difficulty sharing and resolving his feelings about ED might make the problem worse.

If you are the partner of a man with ED, here are some tips on how to deal with the situation:

  • Discuss your feelings and let your partner know that you care.
  • Stay positive. Don’t talk about blame. Instead, talk about what you and your partner want and need, and how to achieve it.
  • Try alternative techniques to obtain sexual satisfaction by finding other ways to obtain and receive pleasure without pressuring your partner to "perform."
  • Stick to the issue of ED. Focus on ways to solve that issue, rather than on how it affects your relationship.
  • Don’t be judgmental. Give your partner positive feedback so that he’s willing to discuss his feelings.
  • Remind him that there are many options for successful treatment. If your partner does not succeed initially, encourage him to continue to visit the doctor and explore other options.

© Copyright 1995-2009 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

Can't find the health information you’re looking for?

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 7/18/2008...#11725