Erectile dysfunction isn’t just challenging for you, it can also be challenging for your partner. In fact, did you know that erectile dysfunction is often referred to as the couple’s disease? Yes, that’s right, because it has an impact on both partners.

Before you despair, erectile dysfunction is surprisingly common among men. According to a recent article for Bustle, it affects 20 per cent of men in their 20s, with this percentage increasing to up to 40 per cent for men in their 40s. 

Writing for the news provider, Emma McGowan, a certified sex educator and writer, explained how you can work with your partner to treat erectile dysfunction. 

Her first tip, and one that’s particularly useful to remember, is that you shouldn’t focus on getting an erection at all. As she noted, in the majority of cases, it’s not your penis that’s the problem but your brain. “Nothing kills a hard-on faster than stress,” she asserted, and she’s right. 

As soon as you start to make getting and keeping an erection your goal, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. If your partner is focusing on this too, then they’re unwittingly adding to your stress, even when they’re trying to be supportive. 

What’s the solution? As Ms McGowan writes, it’s to remember that sex is about far more than penetration. Although we’re all taught that this constitutes ‘real sex’, that’s actually not the case. 

There are plenty of amazing experiences we can share with our partners that have nothing to do with penetration and that’s the place to begin, by focusing on what’s typically classed as foreplay (but let’s face it, this side of sex is probably the part that most of us enjoy the most). 

Kissing, licking, rubbing and touching are all the activities you should focus on with your partner to help you both enjoy being intimate. Dirty talk can also be a great distraction and when you’re not overthinking what’s happening, you’re much more likely to get an erection. 

“Get to know each other’s bodies, intimately and deeply,” Ms McGowan advised. If you are still struggling, focus on pleasuring your partner, rather than having them try to pleasure you. This can be a wonderful distraction and, often, when you see how turned on they are that has a positive effect on you too.

She also noted that you may want to consider medication to help. This doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to access either – you can buy sildenafil online, or any number of other drugs designed to aid with erectile dysfunction.

As an article for Pharmacy Times pointed out last month, the vast majority (95 per cent) of erectile dysfunction is easily treatable and there are several medications, sildenafil (the generic name for Viagra) included, that can help. Some of the other options are tadalafil and vardenafil.

The publication also pointed out that erections only occur “if natural stimulation happens in conjunction with the drug”, so there’s no need to worry that if you take some medication you’ll be walking around with a hard-on whether you want one or not!