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Erectile Dysfunction and the Infidelity Cure
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The pills don't work, nor does the therapy, or the lifestyle changes. He even gave up smoking. But, a quick kiss and cuddle with a comparative stranger.... What would you do next?


Contributor: LilyLloyd

Well, the fact that he's having erections is good news. I think it would be permissible to say something like this to his wife: "Say, yesterday my mind wandered (true) and something really surprising happened -- I actually got an erection (also true)." The context isn't actually necessary here.

Beyond that, I really do think it's a case for sex therapy, for the following reasons:

* If he regards ED as "soul destroying," he probably also thinks of sex as penis-centric. That's an attitude worth changing. About 40% of men have some experience of ED after age 40 and the numbers only climb as you get older. As long as men (and women) think that an erect penis is a necessary condition for sex, there are going to be tons of long-term couples who stop having sex for no good reason.
* He could talk to the therapist frankly about why sex with his wife is not happening. Do you read Emily Nagoski's blog? She was talking about "the gas" and "the brakes" when it comes to sex drive. Sure, novelty -- like the prospect of a new partner -- can fuel one's sex drive. But I'm guessing that his missing drive is actually more affected by "the brakes" -- that is, stressors that get him out of the mood. Which might begin right after work when he gets home, yanno?

If they wanted to have an open relationship (I have one!) great. But either way -- he has issues that should be addressed. Having a new partner won't fix his underlying issues -- that he thinks sex is about PIV, and that real-world stressors have an influence on his erectile function (and maybe his drive). Those are going to follow him to any new relationship.

Contributor: LilyLloyd

Also, what about the wife's sex life? If the husband has this attitude toward sex, isn't she sexually deprived as well?

Contributor: Jenny Swallows

In fairness, "soul-destroying" was my phrase, not his (I've never actually spoken to him), although the fact he even mentioned this to anyone, let alone detailed the treatments he's tried, suggests that it is a big deal to him. As for him being penis-centric - well, he's a guy, isn't he. Yes there are plenty of alternative means of having fulfilling sex, but (if you'll pardon a very glib analogy), if you've been driving a car your entire life, why would you suddenly want to switch to a bicycle?

There are so many causes of ED - I've been reading some fascinating studies, here and elsewhere, about how porn can actually sap a guy's sexual performance. But you're right, stress is a big one, and if he then starts stressing about the stress... it does become a never-ending cycle. Which he broke, albeit briefly, with "an illicit encounter." And that's what interested me. What was different about a goodnight kiss with a girl at work, compared to whatever intimacy he may enjoy with his wife? And, how does he take that "difference" home?

We all know women have a very different attitude towards the mechanics of sex than men, and when we smile softly and say "it doesn't matter, sweetie," we aren't just being sympathetic. In a lot of ways, it really doesn't, which may be why a lot of the studies I mentioned (and the blog that you spoke of, too) are written by women. We look at it in a very different way - and, on a purely physical plane, if we want something hard inside us, there are plenty of toys to choose from. But how does a guy replace his erection, and all the physical/emotional feelings that a good woodie brings?

If my clitoris stopped working, I'd want to know why, and being told that there were plenty of alternatives would not be a solution I'd be happy with.

The guys are too silent on this subject, though. Is there anyone out there who wants to join in?

Contributor: heathduff

Perhaps if his penis needs a challenge he should have her take a lover. The boredom of security would break and his penis might start treating her as if she were a new lady.

I honestly think that lifelong monogamy is unnatural- especially for men. Its taken me a long time to come to this conclusion but I've noticed firsthand in my relationship and others that infidelity will stir the pot and create a renewal of mind blowing sex. Not all the emotions accompanying are pleasant but it feels great to FEEL again.



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