What you need to know:
If your partner suffers erectile dysfunction there is a bigger underlying issue that needs to be attended to
I attended to two unusual cases of women who did not want their husbands to get treatment for their debilitating sex problems. The women dreaded their husbands getting well. It is not that the women hated and wanted their husbands to suffer. Not really. As one of them put it, it is just that the relationships were a bit complicated.
“I do not understand what you mean!” I said as Sally, one of the women pleaded with me not to treat her husband. The man, Juma, had premature ejaculation, a rather common male sex problem in which a man ejaculates too soon without satisfying the sexual needs of the woman. The condition can be devastating as it makes men feel inadequate. Men suffer low self-esteem which not only affects their ability to have fulfilling relationships but also affects their performance at work; their studies; and other aspects of life. A loving wife would, therefore, want the husband relieved of the agony.
“I like it to stay that way,” Sally explained, “I cannot imagine him going on for anything longer, that would be devastating to me.”
Sally got married to Juma when she was a virgin. As such, she has known nothing else beyond the short bouts of sex. For some reason, she does not enjoy sex at all. As a young girl, she committed to her mother’s definition of chastity that relegated sex to a non-priority except for the reason of childbearing. Beyond that sex was seen as a sin.
“All the girls who liked sex ended up badly,” she explained, “they were punished in school for misbehaviour which was shameful; some got pregnant while others married and dropped out of school,” Sally said.
In her years of marriage, Sally has never enjoyed sex and never experienced orgasm. For her, the faster Juma finishes his thing and leaves her alone the better. Juma seemed to have noted Sally’s view of sex and convinced her that she needed help even as he sought help for his premature ejaculation.
My assessment of Sally zeroed down to a diagnosis of a performance skills deficit secondary to negative sexual values. In this condition, the person has no clue of what to do sexually and is happy to remain that way. They have sex as a duty and a routine social obligation. Left unattended, the couple soon gets into a sexless marriage, emotional disengagement, and conflict.
As Juma started treatment for premature education, Sally was booked for treatment too. Her treatment involved reorienting her sex values and creating positive vibes around sex. She underwent therapy for this.
The second couple, Collins and Joan, came to the clinic because of erectile dysfunction.
“I feel like ending my life, I cannot live with this condition, I feel worthless.” Collins lamented when we first met at the Sexology Clinic.
Failure to erect can be devastating. Affected men easily slide into anxiety and depression. They cannot live with the experience. But for Joan, Collins’s wife, this was a happy moment.
“Just do me a favour,” she pleaded, “do not treat him!”
“What? Why such a request?” I asked in amazement.
“For the first time in our marriage, our family is united and happy, thanks to his erection problems!” she said, “this is a man who spends all his time seeing other women, I would rather forgo sex but have him home spending quality time with our children.”
It was clear that the couple was facing relationship challenges. In such instances treating the relationship problem is the priority. Sex does not work when the relationship is broken. I, therefore, booked the couple for relationship counselling and withheld treatment for ED for the time being.
As it would turn out, Collins felt overpowered in the relationship at a very early stage and, as a result, started cheating to seek consolation. The feeling of being subdued is a personality problem and is not necessarily proof of your partner’s dominance. It however drives a man to seek comfort from elsewhere. Some may become alcoholics and others workaholics to escape from reality.
As fate would have it for Collins, the side affairs come with challenges and sometimes end up with disappointments and heartaches and this is what happened. When he went back to his wife, the feeling of being overpowered was overwhelming and this led to the loss of his erections. Treatment focused on solving the power dynamics in the relationship. With time the erections come back.
If your partner has a sex problem and you do not want it treated, then there must be a bigger underlying issue that needs to be attended to.