Sex and Intimacy – Ask Jennifer

Intimacy Coach Jennifer Stephan answers your questions about improving your sex life and relationships.

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Jennifer is also available for online intimacy counseling, for individuals or couples.  Visit her website at IntimateOutcomes.com

I am a divorced man, mid-40s. I have ED, and I take Viagra, but it doesn't always work. I am working on exercising and improving my diet, which my doctor says will help. My problem is that I am starting to date on match.com. At what point do I tell a woman about my ED? How do I bring it up? - Wayne
Dear Wayne,

You asked a great question. I know getting back out there and dating must be enough without you having to be concerned that you have to “tell” a perspective partner that you experience ED. Let me explain a few things first. When taking any type of ED medication it is important to know how you should take it. According to Dr.Aaron Spitz, MD, author of The Penis Book, it is possible the dosage you are taking may be too low, check in with your doctor and discuss what is or isn’t happening. Second, adrenaline can prevent the medication from working as well. Also, it is possible if you are not taking it as recommended, it may not be getting absorbed into your bloodstream properly. Viagra for instance does not work well when taken on a full stomach or after a fatty meal. It should be taken an hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. Some ED meds are not effected by foods at all such as Cialis or Levitra. All of them are dulled by the effects of alcohol. Please do not lose faith in them and do see your doctor about adjusting the amount to be taken.

So how do you tell someone you have just started dating? You stated you have ED but I am not sure if it due to a medical condition or an emotional one, i.e stress, anxiety, etc. My first inclination is to tell you that it is not something you should mention over dinner or even right away. There are many ways to be intimate with a woman. If you meet someone that you feel has the potential to be a future partner chances are she has also developed feelings for you as well. I recommend taking your time and relaxing, become comfortable with her. Kiss, touch, explore in a way where you are not putting pressure on yourself. Sex is mental and emotional as well as physical and you do have the ability to become erect and have intercourse.

Remember that someone that wants to be with you, that has put herself in such an intimate situation, likes you and cares for you. If you feel that you must get this out in the open perhaps you should just speak from your heart and explain that this does occur and you have sought medical help and are working to improve the situation. I would recommend using your many other talented body arts and exploring sexy options to enhance your sexual desires as well. You are more than your penis and what you can do with it and while the actual act of penetration is wonderful, we have also been gifted with other attributes as well. Wishing you the very best.

My husband has ED and I’m hypersexual. We fight every day because I feel like I’m unattractive, or that he feels that I am. This whole thing is really hurting my self-esteem. I want to be supportive but I’m taking it so personally. I don’t know what to do. It’s ruining our marriage. - Raven Aurora
Dear Ravon,

This happens to so many of us. As women we seek approval from our partners.  But here is the good news. Your partner’s ED has nothing to do with you, it is a medical condition. I assure you that if he could change it instantly he would do it.

I have other news as well; many times couples have different sex drives. This is where communication comes in. So I have a few questions for you. How well do you communicate? Would you be open to masturbating in front of one another? Do you share fantasies with each other? Would you be open to using sex toys at times to help equalize your sex drives?

Also, has your husband sought out medical attention? There is medication as well as other aids that can help. Given the severity of your message, I would also recommend that you speak with someone in regards to how you feel about yourself. We are all beautiful, viable people and you are a special and unique person in this world.

My anxiety is through the roof. Finding out tomorrow the results of my boyfriend’s test to see if he has erectile dysfunction. I’m panicking so much, any tips? - Chloe Jordan Allan
Dear Chloe,

First, let me assure you that having anxiety is perfectly normal. I can only imagine what you must be feeling. This will affect you both, and each in a different way so how do you handle it? First, take a deep breath! ED does not mean the end to intimacy or sexual relationships. Don’t panic. Your Doctor will steer your boyfriend in the right direction. Since I am not certain as to why your boyfriend is experiencing ED what I can do is assure you that while it can be daunting it is definitely not something that can’t be overcome through medication, less stress, touch therapy, weight loss or other means.

As a partner it is important to be understanding and patient’ and to communicate openly with your partner. Tell him you find him attractive, sexy, desirable and express desire for him and explain that there are other ways you can be intimate with each other. Touching, talking, visual stimulation and. if recommended by his doctor, medication. Ask questions and do research! Wishing you the very best.

I met the greatest guy a little over a month ago. We are both 52 years old. He told me that he has ED and he may never get hard like some men do. He takes medication and he said the next step is shots. I’m not ready to give up. He is the greatest guy that I have ever dated. My question is? How do you start to get intimate with someone when it won’t end like I am used to? I am scared to take that next step because of the uncertainty. Any advice would be appreciated. - Tracey Hardy
Dear Tracy,

Congrats to you both for finding one another! Your question was how you start becoming intimate. My answer is: How do you usually become intimate. Intimacy means something different to everyone but typically it means to be close to someone, to share with someone what you might not share with another. It is a feeling, touch, a sense. Men that have ED still want to be touched, stroked, enjoy oral and all the other things that men enjoy.

Some men may not become as erect as they did or may not have an ejaculation but can still experience an orgasm. It may not be the penetration that you are used to but the experience very well might be better. Utilizing fingers, tongues and toys can be just as intimate and erotic and explore play together encourages greater intimacy. My advice is to relax, take a deep breath and enjoy this wonderful man that communicates with you. Talk with one another, tell him what you enjoy, how you enjoy being touched, and share fantasies. Wishing you the very best.

My new girlfriend, I’ve been with for a couple of months now wants sex, she doesn’t know about my problem, I keep on avoiding sex with her but last night she got really pissed when I ran out on her, Now she’s given me a week to come over and bang her else the r/s is over….. What do I do? - James Cools
Dear James,

I am sorry you are having this type of health issue. You haven’t stated if you have been to see a Doctor as of yet. It is the very first thing I would recommend you do. Second, I understand why you would avoid this type of intimacy. As men, it is difficult to not live up to the expectations that are placed on you. Being able to “bang” is one of them.

Let me first say ED can be caused by many things. It is important to know the cause before you self-treat. The other issue is communication, being able to explain to a partner what it is you are experiencing is a vital part of a relationship. ED is a medical condition, would you feel badly telling a partner if you had other health issues? If, for example, you were a diabetic you might have an ED problem. This wouldn’t bring about shame or embarrassment. I am sensing by what you have written that you, yourself are avoiding the situation.

James, there are many options out there and no reason to feel as if you must abstain or avoid. It is important to acknowledge what is going on with you so that you can have a happy and sexually fulfilling relationship. Wishing you the very best.

My husband has ED. We’ve been together for 6 years married for less than a year. We have never had sex. We’ve tried pills and natural stuff but nothing. We want a child but we’re at a loss. - Aidin Farris
Dear Aidin,

When dealing with ED the first thing one should do is see a Doctor. It seems to me that you’re in need of medical attention in order to take the steps needed to proceed forward. If you have already done this I would also recommend getting a referral to a specialist for your husband’s condition. Please seek medical help and know I am wishing the very best.

Really struggling with this with my fiancé he doesn’t like to accept he has a problem and just keeps thinking it will go away it has affected our relationship immensely and almost to the point of no return. I am trying to be supportive and understanding but he makes no effort for sexual contact and I have tried every effort to make things happen but I am out of ideas. I don’t know what to do anymore. - Ashleigh Degen
Dear Ashleigh,

I understand why you feel like this is a difficult situation. It can be difficult when we love someone and feel helpless and can’t help them. Please understand that men often handle things very differently than we do.

You have said that you have done everything you could think of so please excuse me if I recommend things you have already done. Take a break! It seems to me that your sole focus has been on him. Now, I am not saying to give up or ignore him but I am saying to take a minute and find your pleasure. This will also take some pressure off of him. Become of aware of your own body, what it is that brings you pleasure, what you want and what feels good. Buy toys, ask him to explore that way. Ask him to explore you in other ways. Still, touch him but do it without expectations. It is important to still maintain one’s self. There is always hope and I wish you both the very best.