Should I Be Worried if my Partner Is Having Problems with Erections?

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Erections in some ways are like the canary in the coal mine. A man’s ability to get and maintain an erection can be impacted by everything from diet and stress to medications and disease. Sometimes erection problems are a known side effect and other times they can be the first sign that something is wrong (or at least the first sign either of you notice).

So the short answer to your question is that if your partner (boyfriend, husband, spouse) is having erection problems that they didn’t have in the past, it might be a cause for worry, and it’s definitely something to talk about with your partner and probably have him talk with his doctor about.

What’s a Normal Erection?

We need to put erection problems in perspective. We have unrealistic expectations of erections in our society tied to several myths about male sexuality. We think a man should be able to get an erection whenever he wants one or whenever he’s offered sex. Not true. All men have problems with erections at some point in their life, often at several points in their lives. If the erection problems you’re worried about involve a single instance, or say two instances over the period of 20 years, it’s probably not something to worry about. Also as we age it’s both predictable and normal that men’s erections will take longer to happen, be softer than they once were, and may go away sooner than before.

Is It Me?

It’s understandable that partners will often take it personally if their husband, boyfriend, or spouse all of the sudden isn’t getting erections. We think of an erection as the proof of sexual desire, but we associate it with more; with love and commitment, with priorities and attention.

If he really cared, he’d get an erection. If your partner is having problems with erections it may be a sign that something is going on for him in the relationship. It may even be that there’s something he wants to talk to you about but isn’t. But this is very different than saying that you are the reason he isn’t having erections. Even though we’re in our relationships together, we each have to take responsibility for ourselves. If your partner isn’t talking you may want to bring it up and ask if there’s anything going on, physically, mentally, or emotionally, that he isn’t sharing with you. You can support him by doing some research, asking questions, and offering help. But ultimately you aren’t the cause of his erection problems and you can’t be the cure either.

Causes of Erection Problems

Erection problems may be caused by many factors, and could be the result of more than one issue. In some cases, the erection problems are a symptom of a bigger problem. For example, several studies have pointed to erection problems as an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. In other cases, erection problems result from the treatment or a side effect of a condition (for example from medications used to treat a disease, or stress caused by living with an illness or disability). The earlier you start talking with your doctor or health care provider about erection problems the sooner you can either rule out bigger issues, or start to deal with them to resolve your erectile difficulties. Here are some causes of erection problems:

The Bottom Line

If your partner doesn’t get an erection now and then, if you notice it's related to work stress, or having a few too many drinks, it’s likely not a cause for alarm. But it’s still a good idea to talk with your partner about it. If it seems like something that came out of nowhere and isn’t going away, or if you can’t find any obvious reasons for the change in his erections, he should talk with his doctor about it. It may be nothing, but it may also be his body's way of telling him something else is up, even when this one thing is down.
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