How ED (Erectile Dysfunction) Affects a Marriage
By William Lovett, M.D.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is just one of the issues Judy Couch, FNP, and I see daily in our office. Most people have heard that men’s sexual capabilities peak around age 19 and women’s peak closer to their mid-30s. What many people don’t know is that it is actually possible for men to experience early symptoms of ED in their 20s. This subtle decline in performance is not noticeable or talked about until the rapid decline in free testosterone that occurs in men somewhere around 35, when women are peaking. You can imagine how this would affect a marriage.
The changing nature of intimacy in marriage
When marriages are still young, couples find their sex life is often on the back burner. All the other stressors – work, managing 1-2 careers, children, sports, homework, etc. – take first priority. But then everything changes. Children become independent and are out of the house in the evenings or even head off to college. Or maybe other things have changed in their schedules and suddenly the couples have more free time. Sex is returning to the front burner as the couple strives to be more intimate again. They are finally reigniting the incredible bond they shared before having children. But because they are both older, erectile dysfunction prevents them from having the relationship they had in earlier years.
The husband’s perspective
We have found in our own research that while men know things are not functioning well during these years, men just don’t talk about it like women do. In fact, in our office, it is usually the woman in the relationship that does much of the talking regarding ED. Many men are embarrassed about sexual dysfunction, and would rather suffer in silence than reach out. This is why we are so adamant about education: we hate seeing the “real man” stigma keeping couples from being intimate.
The wife’s perspective
Men often don’t understand their partner’s perspective about ED. Women tend to interpret the problem in a different way. They feel that they are the cause of their husband’s erectile dysfunction. She wonders if he is no longer interested in her or that she’s no longer attractive to him. The guilt and stress starts building up in her, and she pulls away, too.
The truth of ED and low T
ED is usually caused by low free testosterone (low T) levels. But testosterone doesn’t just affect libido and desire. If it’s too low, it can negatively impact your overall health, including:
- Increasing fat and decreasing muscle mass
- Decreasing mood and good sleep
- Increasing risk of diabetes, cardiac disease, and prostrate cancer
- Increasing hypertension
In most cases, these symptoms won’t improve significantly until a man’s low testosterone is fixed first. Medications like Viagra and Cialis may help ED, but these are often temporary band-aids when testosterone levels aren’t corrected. Additionally, these medications won’t work as well in the future as the pathology of the ED continues to worsen.
The solution: HRT
First, low testosterone needs to be corrected. Just like other arteries in the body that develop plaque, so do the arteries that supply blood to the penis. Plus, many of these arteries actually shrink and decay over time, further decreasing blood flow. Testosterone therapy will help increase blood flow, especially when paired with our second approach: the P-Shot.
The P-Shot with Z Wave combination therapy targets the blood vessels. It breaks up the plaque in the clogged arteries and stimulates the growth of new arteries. Most ED issues will be solved with testosterone and P-Shot with Z Wave, but for the small amount of men that still experience erectile dysfunction, we prescribe PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra and Cialis.
Where to start
It can be a lot of information to handle, so we recommend watching our HRT videos on our YouTube channel or perusing the rest of our website. When you are ready to tackle your own ED, please call us at 513-791-9474 to schedule your blood draw. We’ll first determine where your testosterone levels are, and then review individual results with you. Together, we’ll get you back to feeling like you did in your youth. Let’s overcome ED and save your marriage!