Explore what erectile dysfunction is and strategies on how to cope with ED.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when men struggle to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual activity. This can occur due to narrowed blood vessels leading to inadequate blood flow to the penis or impaired nerve function.

Experiencing the inability to perform effectively during sex is common and there are many reasons behind it. To be diagnosed, the symptoms of erectile dysfunction are usually persistently and cause reduced sexual activity and desire. This can at times be due to fatigue, pain, stress or anxiety which can further lead to depressed mood, performance anxiety and further stress.

Information on erectile dysfunction

How to Cope with ED?

Facing ED can be a challenging experience for individuals and their respective partners. It is important to recognise that it is a common condition and can affect any man at any age and there are strategies to cope with ED.


There needs to be open and honest communication with discussion of concerns, fear and emotions with the sexual partner to strengthen the relationship bond and reduce the feelings of isolation. Avoiding the discussion may allow for misunderstandings and blame to arise which can potentially contribute to relationship problems and a disturbed sex-life. Having an open talk about sexual dysfunction can also help remove the performance pressure that comes with sexual intercourse. 

Non sexual intimacy is engaging in non-sexual physical closeness, emotional connection and exploring alternative forms of intimacy can help form a sense of connection and satisfaction. 

Support Groups

Discussing erectile dysfunction may be uncomfortable, but joining a support group, online or in person, can provide valuable assistance. Individuals could contact a local urologist for help finding a group. 

Partners facing erectile dysfunction may find it challenging to locate support groups, but local healthcare providers can offer helpful resources. Additionally, if erectile dysfunction is linked to prostate cancer, specialized resources like penile rehabilitation information may be available and beneficial.

Consulting healthcare professional

Consulting with a professional doctor can help identify potential underlying causes of ED such as possible health conditions e.g. heart disease, blood pressure, which can at times contribute to the condition. A discussion may help with discovering treatment options, therapies that may be valuable and some insights to beneficial lifestyle changes. 

As explored earlier, ED can have psychological factors, which may lead to stress, anxiety or depression. Speaking to a qualified health professional in this area can help address and manage emotional challenges. 

Lifestyle modifications

Ensuring a healthy lifestyle contributes significantly to managing erectile dysfunction. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight positively impact health and may address any underlying health problems. It is a journey to cope with ED and requires patience and self compassion with a positive outlook and mindset. 

There are educational resources individuals or their partners can access to empower themselves on the condition. Understanding its causes, treatments and potential lifestyle improvements can reduce anxiety and enhance one’s ability to manage the condition.

Treatments for ED

There are various treatment options which are available, some are temporary whilst others invasive. These can include oral prescription drugs like Viagra or Cialis which have an effect for 4-36 hours, and others can be in the form of injection, penile implants or surgery. 

Along with seeking psychological help, it could be beneficial to engage in couples therapy. This can be helpful in providing a supportive environment for the couple to discuss their relationship dynamics which can potentially help their emotional connection. 

Males or couples with concerns around their sexual performance should consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Consult a doctor