5 Sentences a Partner With a $exual Health Issue Needs to Hear
Lovemaking is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Aside from the obvious pleasure aspect, it’s also a vital exercise in closeness which helps to strengthen the loving bond between two people. Just as providing for a partner in a time of need or lavishing gifts on them for a special occasion are expressions of affection, so too is closeness; and it’s a component of a relationship which needs constant attention and careful nurture. When problems arise in the bedroom then, it can be an alarming prospect for both partners. Of course, se*ual health issues can take on several forms, and be caused by any number of physical or psychological factors; and often, these can pass on their own after a only temporary stay, without the need for intervention. Furthermore, lovemaking dysfunction isn’t a topic of casual conversation; and this, combined with the often brief episodic nature of many lovemaking problems may lead some to put off discussing the issue with their partner.
However, it’s when the issue persists that it can cause wider relationship problems to develop. And while not talking about it may seem like the easy route to take, it’s also the one which can cause further (and eventually, possibly even irreparable) damage. When a partner is experiencing a se*ual health issue, it isn’t always easy getting them to discuss it. The common instinctive reaction is denial. But sometimes, it takes the encouragement of a partner to help them admit or even realise that a problem exists, before they’ll consider going to a professional for help. Getting your partner to address their problem obviously requires tact, but also requires your emotional assurance. With that in mind, here are the essential things your partner needs to hear from you when talking out a se*ual health issue:
Ignorance is not a solution
We all go through tough periods at work, or experience stress related to other aspects of our lives from time to time; and these can have a significant impact on our love responsible state of mind. At other times, se*ual problems such as loss of libido or erectile dysfunction may have a physical cause, indicating an underlying medical issue which requires attention. In either case, your partner needs to know that ignorance will not solve a persistent problem. Whether the root cause is psychological or physical in nature, addressing this is the only route to overcoming it.
Don’t underestimate the potential effects
Lovemaking may only be one aspect of a relationship, and the temptation for someone having difficulties in this area may be to downplay the importance of them. If the relationship is succeeding in other areas, why jeopardise it by making a mountain out of such a small problem? Because the longer it goes unaddressed, the more likely it is to create communication and lovemaking issues further down the line. You and your partner may be getting along fine outside the bedroom. But se*ual issues may well begin to affect other areas of your relationship if you choose not to confront them. If your partner fails to realise that, they may be underestimating the potential of the situation.
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We’re in it together
Disappointment, embarrassment, anger and isolation are all feelings commonly linked to se*ual dysfunction. Many conditions of this type, such as erectile problems, can be rooted in anxiety and stress; and the more alone someone feels, the less inclined they may be to talk about them. Showing your partner solidarity is key. While the issue may be physically ‘happening’ to them, it’s something which affects both of you. And it’s also crucial to look at it from your partner’s point of view: if you aren’t on their side, then likely no-one is. So when discussing the issue, don’t characterise it as something they have to confront on their own. Of course they need to take responsibility and actively seek a solution, but let them know that you are going to be there to give them the backing and support they need.
The problem isn’t unique to you
Even though it may not seem like it because we don’t talk about in everyday conversation, se*ual dysfunction problems are incredibly common. The Se*ual Advice Association estimates that roughly one third of young and middle aged women and about 50 percent of older women are affected by se*ual issues, such as pain following lovemaking, or arousal or libido problems.
In men, it is estimated that as many as half over 40 will experience some form of erectile dysfunction. However, this isn’t an issue exclusive to this age group. One study suggested that one in four erectile dysfunction patients is actually under 40. The message here is that, whatever problem your partner is encountering, it’s almost certainly one which has been experienced by someone else before. So let them know that what they’re going through doesn’t make them ‘abnormal’; it just makes them human.
It can be helped
Further to this, a common knee-jerk response to persistent se*ual problems which many people have is that they simply can’t be solved; that you just have to hope and wait for them to pass on their own. But those who subscribe to this misconception are doing themselves (and their relationships) a great disservice. It may not have been the case in years gone by, but the subject of se*ual dysfunction constitutes a significant segment of modern healthcare and research.
Where problems cannot be treated with medicine, they can be helped through counselling and guidance. So despite what your partner might think, help is very much available.
Dr Wayne Osborne is a registered doctor and independent medical advisor in the UK. He serves as the chief practitioner for online health expert Treated.com.