Sexuality and issues of sexual performance are intensely personal topics even when things are going well. When things are good, this aspect of a relationship “just happens”, so “talking about it” doesn’t seem important. Couples just seem to grow into each other sexually over years.
Unfortunately, when things aren’t going so well, this lack of communication makes the problem worse. Many men don’t know how to communicate with their partner about issues of sex. When problems such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, or Low Sex Drive arise, a man usually suffers a blow to his ego and self esteem. He may withdraw sexually rather than admit to a problem. If he doesn’t communicate his problem and his thoughts about his problem to his partner, the partner may interpret things in their own perspective.
Talking to Your Partner
Although a man may not intend to insult his partner, he often unintentionally does so. The partner often assumes that this apparent lack of sexual interest means that the man no longer finds them attractive, or that he harbours anger or resentment about unrelated issues.
The partner may then withdraw sexually as well, and the resulting stalemate hinders communication even further. Over time, people forget how the dysfunction in the relationship began.
Remember that sexual problems affect your partner as much as yourself. Your partner suffers both from the lack of intimacy and from the loss of self esteem that comes with that. And since many men with sexual problems become irritable, depressed, and socially withdrawn, their partners, who live in close proximity, must suffer through this as well.
Good communication is important from the beginning to avoid misunderstanding, and to allow for earlier and better treatment. Talk to your partner openly from the beginning about your perception of your problem and your desire to seek treatment.
If your relationship is already lacking in communication, it isn’t too late to make things better. Tell your partner you’ve been having problems with sex and that you want to make the situation better for both of you. If communication is too difficult, then at least suggest you see your doctor or a therapist together.
At Ontario Men’s Health, we welcome partners to attend visits, as their involvement is often an important part of successful treatment.