Women understanding weak erections is one of the most troublesome issues in any relationship.
“My husband thinks I’m unattractive…”
“He’s gone off me…”
“He’s having an affair…”
It is the cause of extreme frustration and anxiety in women. In addition it is a common cause of relationship tension or marital failure.
How common is the problem
Whilst most men will never talk openly about this problem, erectile dysfunction is an extremely common condition. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study reported that 52% of men aged between 40 and 70, suffer from erectile dysfunction. This was one of the most comprehensive studies to date on male sexual performance. In addition this is truly the silent epidemic if there ever was one.
Impotence is a synonym for erectile dysfunction. It is defined as the inability to achieve, or maintain a suitable erection for normal sexual intercourse.
A normal erection depends on a simple anatomical process, explains Dr Willie Jordaan, medical director of Mens Clinic International , the largest group of erectile dysfunction clinics in South Africa. Firstly mental, visual or sensory erotic stimulation activates the nerves connected to the arteries of the penis. Secondly, this causes the arteries carrying blood to the penis to dilate. This increases the blood flow into the tissues of the penis. The penis fills with blood and becomes larger and erect. Finally, the pressure of the blood in the penis compresses the veins which normally drain blood out of the penis. This process maintains the erection. After ejaculation, the arteries close down and the erection subsides.
Women understanding weak erections
When it comes to women understanding weak erections the fundamental issue is that erection failure may be due to physical or psychological problems, or both. Indeed, most causes of impotence are the result of very real physical problems in a man’s body.
As we have mentioned, the normal functioning of the penis depends on healthy arteries, veins, nerves, hormones and penile tissue. Any disease which affects these components, can give rise to deteriorating erectile function.
There are a great many disease processes involved. For example high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, neurological disease and hormone deficiencies. All of these can affect the normal functioning of the penis. In addition smoking, alcohol abuse and inactivity can worsen the condition. Suddenly you realise how many risk factors are at work in the typical male. A large number of medications used in the treatment of medical conditions, like high blood pressure, peptic ulcers and cardiac disease, cause impotence as a side effect.
The man with a deteriorating erection process is likely to develop significant psychological effects as well.
A lot is written about the macho man. However, the male ego is extremely fragile. Any episode of erection failure has profound psychological manifestations for the man. This includes a progressive deterioration in erection rigidity or sustainability.
Arguably, sexual capability is at the very top of the male hierarchy of needs. Everything else is subordinate to being able to perform to expectation, whether realistic or not.
The male role model is always portrayed as extremely masculine. He is sexually capable and virile from early childhood. The male sports stars, music idols, and screen celebrities are all highly sexual in image and behaviour. The average male perceives the expectation of sexual performance by his partner to be very high. Clearly when a man fails to live up to that expectation, the result is extreme anxiety and frustration.
The vicious cycle
Unfortunately, this is the start of a vicious cycle. The higher the level of performance anxiety, the more likely it is that a man will experience erection failure.
A physiological point of view explains this. The state of anxiety triggers the release of a number of stress hormones in the body, including adrenaline. The penis is an early casualty in this primitive reflex, as the arteries to the penis constrict under the influence of these stress hormones, and erection is difficult, if not impossible. The more the man concentrates on the erection of his penis, the less likely it is to perform normally. The man is trapped in this vicious cycle of declining performance and anxiety/depression. In addition each of these worsens the other.
Clearly then, erection failure is a very real and well understood medical condition, and in most cases, the cause lies with the physical and psychological influences of this male organ.
The partners reaction
The reaction of the female partner in this syndrome is a critical one. Firstly it is important to realise, says Jordaan, that a man cannot perceive women understanding weak erections. From an early age, a man learns about his sexuality, mostly from his close friends, colleagues, brothers or father. Male figures indoctrinate him. He never considers that a female could perceive this very private world.
And so when this world falls apart, shattered by weak erections, he may reject the caring and well meant attempts at involvement of his female partner. She in turn perceives this rejection as sexual and emotional abandonment by her man. Consequently the seeds of doubt are planted in her mind. This leads to guilt, suspicion and reciprocal frustration.
It is easy to see how even stable marriages or family relationships can break down in the face of this combined male / female syndrome. This commonly affects social relationships, friendships and even work performance. This further compounds the problem.
Impact on relationships
A man may love his woman to bits, but will avoid intimacy because of the extreme anxiety associated with his expectation of erection failure. The tragedy, is that it is through no fault of either party, but rather the manifestation of real disease. The great need, says Jordaan, is for adults to understand the causes and implications of erectile dysfunction. This is critical, not only for resolution of a threatened relationship, but also because it may well save the man’s life.
Any man who ignores the important clinical symptom of impotence, or weakening erections, is also ignoring the possibility of an underlying medical condition. The same disease process which is affecting the erection mechanism, could be damaging the arteries of the heart, brain or kidneys. Heart attacks, stroke, or kidney failure therefore, are very real threats in a man with vascular disease sufficient to cause impotence. Equally, alcohol, smoking or stimulants may have begun to take their toll on the body. The penis is affected first. Sexual medicine practitioners at the erectile dysfunction clinics undertake special investigations to establish the underlying pathology and recommend or institute treatment protocols to stop or reverse their progress.
Above all, no man should ignore the message that a deteriorating sexual performance may be sending out to him.
The positive news is that treatments for erectile dysfunction have advanced to such an extent that it is now possible to return up to 90% of men with erectile dysfunction, to normal sexually active lives. For the first time in history, there are reliable, safe and effective medical methods to address this common and serious male health issue. In addition, the earlier a man takes active measures to investigate the cause of a deteriorating sexual function, the more likely it is that he may avoid the serious psychological effects that the condition may have on his personal or work life.
This is the angle that a woman should take when broaching the issue of ongoing erection failure with her partner. It is probably futile, however well meant, for a woman to state that women understanding weak erections is common. A man won’t perceive the integrity of this approach. The appropriate approach has to be pragmatic, logical and as unemotional as possible. Real physical disease may underlie a man’s impotence, made even worse by associated performance anxiety and depression. It is imperative that is investigated and treated. Early treatment will enable both parties will be able to shed their psychological shackles. They then regain the sexual intimacy in their relationship.
In conclusion Men’s Clinic International deals with any sexual problems that are related to Weak Erections, Early Ejaculation, Low Libido, STIs or Circumcision. Do get in touch with us to book a consultation with our professional doctors who specialise in Men’s Sexual Health.
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