Dealing With Impotence in Marriage

It’s the early 1700s. Daily life is a laborious affair even for aristocrats, let alone the ordinary man. You don’t know of any modern comforts; you get married at 19, and four days after the fact, you’re off to war. Throughout the campaign, which lasts for several months, you write to your newly-wed quite frequently, truly making an effort to keep the spark alive – and you succeed. 

You manage to not lose either limb or life, which is a feat unto itself, and you come back home; she’s just as eager as you to consummate the marriage, but there’s one problem – you just can’t get it up. And the problem doesn’t go away. For three years. Yeah.

Albeit superficially, you now know about one eventful portion of the life and troubles of a particular Marquis de Gesvres. Now, in a different day and age, this is to be talked about intimately and efforts are to be made toward a solution. Well, suffice it to say that the deliberation did indeed happen and steps were taken even in 18th-century France – except the whole thing happened in a court of law. A judge, jury, the whole nine yards. Oh, and multiple actual physical inspections, as if the disgrace of talking about impotence and marriage problems in public wasn’t enough. 

And This Is Relevant, How?

Why are we talking about this again? Well, buddy, we don’t blame you one bit if you asked that question multiple times now – we applaud your diligence. The point we’re trying to make is that it can truly happen to anyone, and that’s not just a feel-good punchline but a matter of fact. It’s not something that affects only older men and it’s not a modern-times phenomenon. It has been happening to royalty of old and it’s now most likely happened to you. 

The potential causes of impotence are numerous, be it age, illness, alcohol intake, or stress and anxiety, but more often than not, it’s not an irreversible issue and can be worked on even in the most dire of situations. When dealing with impotence in marriage, the first step always is to face your problem, and the fact that you’re reading this means that you’re already on the right track. So, bear with us (no more mentions of the Marquis, we promise) as we provide you with all the information necessary to help you achieve lift-off! After all, it’s not rocket science. Or is it? That depends on what sort of rocket you have in mind. 

Understanding Impotence: How and Why Does It Happen?

Impotence, or more commonly known and aptly named as erectile dysfunction (ED), by definition, constitutes difficulty “to get or keep an erection that is hard enough [for the man] to have satisfying sexual intercourse” and, unsurprisingly, it’s the most common sexual issue in men. 

The Basics

In order to understand how impotence happens as well as its most common causes, let’s first explain a few anatomical tidbits.

The penile shaft has two chambers on the side that consist of spongy tissue that can expand by filling up with blood upon physiological (reflex erection) or psychological arousal. In normal circumstances, these chambers are only partially open, providing a healthy amount of blood flow to keep the tissues healthy. But, when you get excited, as we explained above, you need more fuel, and the body complies. However, it may stop doing so altogether (or partially) due to a variety of reasons which mainly boil down to neurological complications – when your brain isn’t sending the proper signals, inadequate blood flow, or damage to the tissue itself.

It’s also important to point out that if you experience problems maintaining an erection only occasionally, it isn’t a cause for concern and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are impotent. If you can’t get it hard more than 50% of the time, though, probably means that the problem is likely to be diagnosed as ED.

Most Frequent Causes of Impotence (ED)

Now, don’t panic, but the worrying part is that most of the time there is an underlying health issue that may be causing this problem, so a medical check-up is definitely due if ED persists over a prolonged period of time. But, it can also be psychological which makes dealing with impotence in marriage a bit easier. 

Without getting too technical, we sorted the most frequent causes of impotence into different categories below. Do note that this information shouldn’t serve as a substitute for a professional medical opinion and you should definitely consult your doctor. If you’d like to read up more on the details, we’ve explained the causes extensively in our article on whether ED is reversible.

The (only) scary part

There’s no way around it – it would be irresponsible to not check this one off the list first. Impotence can be a result of the following conditions that you may or may not be aware of:

  • Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure;
  • High cholesterol levels;
  • Diabetes (type 1 and type 2);
  • Low testosterone levels (hypogonadism);
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD);
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS);
  • Cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, etc.).

Other than that, impotence can also occur as a result of physical trauma, be it to the penis itself or other bodily injuries such as spinal cord injuries.

Impotence as a result of medication

Expanding on our previous points, apart from certain health conditions, impotence can also ensue as a side-effect of some medications or treatments. They are the following:

  • Gastrointestinal medications;
  • Antidepressants;
  • Sedatives;
  • Radiation and other cancer treatments;
  • Blood pressure medications (most commonly diuretics).

Other lifestyle-related risk factors

Although these are less serious, they can definitely cause problems in the bedroom as well as worsen other health conditions.

  • Smoking;
  • Drug abuse;
  • Drinking alcohol;
  • Obesity;

Psychological reasons

Now, this is something we’ll certainly expand on later in the article in relation to marriage as they can be rather intertwined, but for now, here’s the list:

Is Impotence Really All That Common?

As of 2017, ED has affected about 30 million males in the US alone. Impotence is more prevalent as we age and it does affect most males over 40, while the rate of occurrence is higher in men over 60. A study published in 2019 puts “the global prevalence of ED [at]  3–76.5%” with age again being the deciding factor.

That being said, age alone doesn’t cause impotence, and men well into their golden years can have sexually fulfilled lives. However, we do realize that this doesn’t make it any less of an issue for those who do have (or had, at some point) this particular problem and it doesn’t make it any less common.

What Can You Do About Impotence Right Away?

Whew. All those facts are surely a handful, are they not? Well, now we’re at least getting to our more important points that can practically help get you up and about again (not that the information above is to be discarded!). The first thing you can almost immediately do when it comes to dealing with impotence in marriage is curb the particular habits or lifestyle choices that might be making it hard to get hard.

Even if you aren’t necessarily impotent and you don’t have a lasting problem, too much booze or smoke can negatively affect sexual performance and put you at risk for developing ED. A healthier lifestyle involving a balanced diet and working out will not only put you on the non-recurring part of the statistical spectrum but will also make you feel better in general – that alone can do wonders for you in bed. Feeling better and healthier equals fucking better.

If all of this info so far does nothing for you, you could check out some practical advice on what you can do precisely when it comes to exercising as a means to curb your erectile dysfunction. For those of you who would like to stay and consider dealing with this in a marital situation and try to solve all the marriage problems it may cause, let’s get on with it.

Dealing with Impotence in Marriage: How to Do It

Since we ascertained that impotence is, in fact, treatable, it’s important to go about dealing with it properly, and that also involves your partner. After all, she’s (probably) as affected as you by this particular problem. But, that’s no reason to close up and deal with it on your own by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, almost all men find the support of their partners crucial when dealing with impotence.

Honest and profound communication

Openly talking about impotence and marriage problems is extremely hard – we get it; especially when the former is the actual cause of rumblings in the bedroom (not the good ones, of course). But, communicating your problem to your lady should always happen and you won’t be any less of a man in her eyes, we promise. 

Truth be told, not talking about it, or doing so insincerely, will likely cause much bigger problems in your marriage. A good example of dishonest communication is you having trouble admitting that the problem lies with you and trying to pass the blame onto her which – it should go without saying – is an absolute no-go. If you choose to keep silent, on the other hand, she might end up thinking that you’re no longer interested in her, which doesn’t do anyone any good in a long-term relationship.

Another awful consequence of not communicating the issue is that you will probably feel reluctant to go after treatment or will do so secretly, leaving room for suspicion. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll eventually need to lay all the cards on the table and you ought to do it sooner than later. After all, even though sex is a very major part of marriage, it’s your health and well-being that matters most and your wife will definitely agree on this.

Consider counseling

We established that direct communication with your partner is of the utmost importance, but in some cases, when dealing with impotence in marriage, this can take you only so far. Sometimes any sort of discussion in marriage can come to an impasse, whether it pertains to sexual matters or not. So, instead of continuing the tug of war and growing resentful due to a lack of understanding or something else, it’s not that bad of an idea to consider couple’s (or even individual) counseling.

Again – and I can’t stress this enough – this is not a sign of weakness or admission of inadequacy or guilt. It’s really important to understand that it’s okay to seek help. Even if you went through all the ordeal of going to the doctor and talking to your wife about impotence, a counselor or psychologist can still provide assistance and guidance. Moreover, the whole process of dealing with impotence in marriage can cause great emotional distress and managing feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and stress, in general, is not the wisest route to take.

Furthermore, this can also be the first step that you take in solving your problem. If you have a space to talk your feelings through with a non-judgmental professional, you’ll feel that much more ready to talk to your wife as well. In contrast, if you opt for talking to her first (which is not bad either), you could then suggest seeing a couple’s counselor who will be able to help you both by providing an objective, third-person point of view, and an expert one at that.

You don’t have to be in it to win it

If there’s something that we’ve talked about extensively on this webspace, that’s the fact that it’s never about just penetrative sex. Intimacy between your partner isn’t only about getting the deed done and moving on (unless that’s what you both truly want). Being intimate with one another includes non-sexual touching, kissing, cuddling – even hand-holding! Sharing your desires and talking about intimacy can be an act of intimacy.

Most of the time, what makes a great bang are the details, the seemingly incidental gestures and actions that go before, during, and after the intercourse. So, when it comes to rebuilding or continuing a healthy sex life in marriage due to impotence (or in general), these things ought to take the spotlight. 

Besides, not only will you feel more confident after connecting with your partner in this manner, but you will also feel less anxious about your problem. That, in turn, will help you deal with it much more easily and your lady will beyond doubt appreciate your effort and reciprocate with understanding and support. A win-win-win chain-reaction, if you will.

If you’d like to read about more specific methods or to better inform yourself about the ins and outs, take a look at these insights on how to survive long droughts and what you can do to make it rain.

A Woman’s Guide to Impotence

What often gets overlooked in these strictly male-focused situations is that the lady plays a huge part in resolving them. As we already mentioned, when dealing with impotence in marriage, support and understanding can go a long way, and that definitely should be the approach, but there’s another wrinkle to the whole issue.

The most left-out point is that the whole process can take a toll on the emotional well-being of both partners, and as much as the man is being scrutinized, his partner goes through the tribulations first-hand as well. For all you ladies out there, even though you should be as supportive as you can be, you ought to not neglect your own well-being either. Also, speaking to a trusted friend or a counselor shouldn’t be out of the picture as you eventually need to air out all the things you might hold inside for the sake of tolerance. Although, you should do this in a non-hurtful manner and without a serious breach of trust.

The second point, and probably the more important one, is that impotence in marriage and the problems it may cause are not to be taken personally. The causes we explained above clearly delineate how and why ED occurs, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, try and keep a clear head and don’t take it as a sign that he’s not attracted to you or anything of the sort. 

Even when looking at things from this perspective, the bottom line stays the same – communication and understanding is key.

The Most Common Medical Treatments for Impotence

So, let’s say you’ve gone through all the important steps regarding communication, you’ve made it clear to your partner that you’re willing to fix the problem you’re having and she’s supportive of you. What’s next? Well, to refresh your memory, when it comes to dealing with impotence in marriage, the doctor always knows best.

Even though the prospect of talking to another male adult about problems with your tool may seem daunting, urologists are specialized doctors that make a living out of helping people like you and will surely assist you in a non-judgmental manner. Without any further digressions, the point is that you should always make the appointment – no excuses.

In terms of what you can expect, though, here are the most common medical treatments for impotence:

  • Oral medication, such as viagra and cialis (sildenafil and tadalafil – one helps your erection and the other manages the side effects);
  • Injected medication and suppositories, such as alprostadil;
  • Testosterone therapy;
  • Vacuum pumps used to draw blood into the penis;
  • Surgery.

Final Thoughts

Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is something that affects so many men at least once at some point in their lives, and dealing with impotence in marriage really shouldn’t be even remotely taboo. You’re definitely not alone in this; it’s been happening, it’ll continue happening, and it should be approached with a clear head since most of the time, it’s treatable and you ought to give yourself the intimacy that you and your partner both deserve.

Other than that, there really isn’t much else to say without coming off as repetitive, so we’ll close off by saying – thank you for reading ‘til the end! We genuinely hope that you found the information we so thoroughly curated useful and that we helped you find a solution for all your problems regarding impotence and marriage (or at least pointed you in the right direction).

For more articles like this, check out our blog where we explore everything sex-related.

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