What you need to know:
- There are solutions to erectile dysfunction but the first step a man needs to take is to seek care from a professional.
- Delay in seeking care can lead to severe damage, not only to the sufferer but to all other aspects of life.
It dawned on me that my role in this consultation was to be a listener. Maureen is 37 years old and has been married for nine years. Her husband was 45 years old. She had two children. The marriage had been a happy one till Jonathan, her husband, developed erection problems. He would go flaccid midway. Later, his erections failed.
"So for two years we have not had sex," Maureen recounted, "and we are growing distant with every passing day."
There were days when Maureen did not feel like talking. She just did not have the mood. She then realised he was also stressed.
She had noted that Jonathan tended to stay out late, sometimes coming home at midnight. He always had a work-related reason for being late. Sometimes he talked of meeting friends to discuss business. When the curfew started Jonathan had to be home early.
"But then he changed tack," Maurine says, "he started watching TV programs till late, sometimes he worked on his laptop till 2 am." Maureen realised that her husband was avoiding getting to bed when she was awake. He sneaked into bed once Maureen was deep asleep. He rose early before Maureen stirred from ben. This hides and seeks behaviour was frustrating for Maureen.
There are days when Maureen felt rejected. For a woman love and affection is not just sex, it is being talked to, it is being hugged and held physically, it is being connected emotionally to your man and traveling the difficult journey together. It is frustrating for a woman when a man recedes into his cocoon and shuts off those they love because of erectile dysfunction.
"Can you imagine trying to wrap your hand around him in bed and he pushes you away? It is a difficult experience, it is rejection, and it is painful!" Maureen stresses.
The couple used to discuss their investments before the ED but this stopped altogether. The farming business they had started stalled. When Maureen brought up the topic Jonathan kept quiet and did not utter a word. His mind seemed preoccupied with other things.
Their children were similarly feeling the heat. Previously they would sit with their father and review their school work. This had changed. Jonathan had no time for the children anymore. The children realised that their father was ignoring them and got closer to their mother. This pained Maureen. In her life, she had always wanted a family where children grew up feeling loved and learning life lessons from their parents.
Not even issues of God bothered Jonathan anymore. The family used to pray together before bed. This was no longer possible. Whenever Maureen suggested a family prayer Jonathan said he was busy and told her to go ahead and pray with the children. Maureen felt helpless.
"For men self-esteem, confidence and perception of a bright future are all very connected to the ability to have a successful sexual experience," I say, "manhood is interpreted as success in sex and getting off this fixation is quite a task."
Maureen said she had thought of divorce but it was not an easy decision. She also felt the need to connect to someone else emotionally but she feared that that would easily slide into infidelity. There are days she felt hopeless and useless. Moving forward, we agreed with Maureen that Jonathan needed to come to the Sexology Clinic for care. There are solutions to erectile dysfunction but the first step a man needs to take is to seek care from a professional. Delay in seeking care can lead to severe damage, not only to the sufferer but to all other aspects of life.
"Ok, before we move ahead to resolve my case I have one request," Maureen said wiping her tears, "can you write my story for other women out there going through this experience to know that they are not alone? This may just give them the courage to face each day at a time." I nodded.