Raghav* and I have known each other since our school days and our love story is the stuff mushy romance novels are made of. We participated in several competitions together where he fell for me, but I was too young and naive to see it as anything other than friendship. Four years ago we started dating properly. Two years into the relationship, we discovered that our rosy story had a small hiccup: erectile dysfunction
Both of us came from slightly conservative families, and were pressuring us to get married just because “you’re of THAT age now”. Since we led highly stressed and cocooned lives at home, the time we spent with each other in bed was our way of rebelling against the norms that had been laid down for us. Our sex life was passionate and we made secret trips to hotels and different cities just to explore each other.
Since it took us nearly a decade to get together, frequent sex became a means to make up for all the lost time. Two years later we realized Raghav* has erectile dysfunction. Initially, he refused to admit that there was a problem which led me to think maybe I was doing something wrong. Was the foreplay not enough? Had he gotten bored and wasn’t attracted to me anymore? It wasn’t until I’d communicated my feelings that we sat down to have a proper conversation about it. Believe me, a man’s ego is very fragile when it comes to his performance in bed, so sensitivity is of utmost importance.
Broadly speaking, erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or keep an erection firm enough to have intercourse. It happens because something is obstructing blood flow to the penis, Probably due to a cardiovascular issue or high sugar level. In fact, many doctors suggest that every case of erectile dysfunction should be taken as an indicator of cardiovascular disease or diabetes until proven otherwise. In Raghav’s case, it was the latter. High blood sugar causes the lining of arteries to be layered by plaque which makes it harder for blood to flow through the penis. This lowers its ability to be erect when aroused.
Once you acknowledge the problem, half the battle is won. Talk to your partner and emphasize how this isn’t just about your sex life but also his health. There was a time when Raghav and I thought we had probably reached the end of our romance. However, this conversation brought us closer than ever and he agreed to consult a doctor. Ramp up the foreplay to enhance arousal. Penetration is not the only way to pleasure each other so Raghav and I decided to heat things. We’d indulge in role-play, watch a sexy movie, or read some Literotica together. Don’t shy away from bringing sex toys into the bedroom. Remember, it’s important to empathize with your partner and understand that men don’t like feeling they’ve lost their virility.
In terms of medication, Raghav tried Sildenafil, aka Viagra, to enhance his performance and it was a huge morale booster for him as the sex got better. Another thing that worked for us was not using a condom when safe or using a thinner condom. I also started pushing him to adopt a more healthy lifestyle so we could keep his sugar levels under check and maintain a healthy heart.
It took Raghan* and me a long time to open up to each other about this to deal with it effectively. It’s not something to be afraid or ashamed of as modern medicine has a range of treatments to choose from. We’re finally getting back to our old groove and looking upwards from here on!
Cover photo by freepik