Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

My husband has ED

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Guest has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 19 June 2015
I am not sure if this is a suitable problem to write to The Lady, so please accept my apologies if it is not. I have been married for 4 years and my husband and I have always had a healthy sex life, but a few months ago he developed ED (Erectile Dysfunction) which is now tearing our relationship apart. It is not the fact that we cannot have sex. It is that he has totally closed off to me and pushes me away emotionally and physically. I so want to support and help him, but I find his constant rebuffs and refusal to discuss it extremely hard to cope with. I hope that if you choose to answer my problem in the magazine, it may help others too, as from looking online I see there is a great deal of advice for the man in this situation, but the effect on the man's partner is not really covered.

Patricia Marie says...

Your letter highlights the sensitivity around the subject of erectile dysfunction (ED), which society shouldn't shy away from, considering this medical disorder affects 1 in 10 men in the UK alone.

Putting a huge strain on a relationship, ED can be difficult and frustrating for both men and their partners to cope with. It's never easy for the man as it can often make him feel frustrated, powerless, and hopeless. He can question his masculinity, and worry about being perceived as a failure in the eyes of his partner. Yet, as you're experiencing, it's just as difficult for the woman, especially if she measures her self-esteem, femininity, and desirability by how her partner responds sexually, and is therefore particularly vulnerable to fears of abandonment and rejection.

Open and honest communication with one another is essential in strengthening your relationship as you work through this together. Easier said than done, but for you to start feeling better and more in control, you need to know you're doing your best in supporting and encouraging your loved one. Your husband may be feeling scared of the unknown. If he hasn't attended the doctor's already, offer to go with him. Reassuring him that ED is a very common and treatable condition, may enable him to open up and share his concerns.

As difficult as it may be, can you gently encourage some physical affection outside the bedroom where he wouldn't feel pressurised. Holding hands or a gentle hug could speak volumes and offer great comfort at a time when there is no sexual intimacy. If he continues to reject you, ask your husband directly "What can I do to be supportive of you?" Respect his reply, but try to take good care of yourself too.

You needn't despair or feel isolated, there is help and support out there for you; The Sexual Advice Association, offer a sympathetic telephone helpline for the partners of ED, and have a wealth of information on their website. Also, The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, can put you in touch with a local sexual psychotherapist in your area to offer ongoing support as a partner of someone with ED.

The Sexual Advice Association: 020 748 67262
The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists: 0208 543 2707
0 votes
Tags: Untagged
  • Print

Recent posts

I want to stop my jealousy

My friend has the life I want. We met at university where we were both studying the same subject. Since then she has always been one step ahead of me....

Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]




What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter