18 May

At least half of all men between 40 and 72 have at least occasional problems either getting or keeping an erection. Because it is often believed to be “all in your head” or due to aging, many men think that their case is hopeless and sim- ply stop having sex. Men and women should recognize that sexual intercourse is just one form of sexual relations, albeit an important one; various types of sexual play, including oral sex, can keep a couple close.

About 95 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction are treatable. During the

1990s, the variety of treatment options expanded. A urologist (a physician who specializes in treating disorders of the urinary tract) can describe what methods are most appropriate for you. Regardless of the method you ultimately choose, consider the following important factors:

•  Motivation. Honestly evaluate what is motivating you to seek treatment and try to understand your expectations about treatment. Unrealistic expectations may undermine the success of treatment. Be committed to the treatment you choose and do what is necessary to make the course of treatment successful.

•  Willingness to adapt. All treatments for erectile dysfunction require active participation by the patient. Be willing to change your habits, learn new sex- ual techniques, and adapt to unanticipated events or circumstances to make the treatment work.

•  Partner’s attitude. Erectile dysfunction is often called a couple’s problem for a variety of reasons. If a couple is having difficulty getting along, this may result in sexual problems. Also, some treatments for erectile dysfunction may require a man’s partner to participate or administer medication. Since partners often experience similar emotional responses to the problem, some couples find that counseling can help them adjust to the treatment and reestablish a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. Either way, a partner’s involvement in and commitment to treatment definitely help a man recover. Although the man might be reluctant or embarrassed to have his partner involved, most partners of men with erectile dysfunction want to be involved in the treatment process, because they both will benefit.

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