EveAdam has partnered with two of the most prominent and distinguished voices when it comes to all things sex and relationships: UK broadcaster, author and sexual health vlogger Hannah Witton and Toronto-born Shan Boodram, a sex educator and dating coach based in Los Angeles.
Together, we have created the Erection Poll. An ED survey designed uniquely with the partner in mind. We want to understand real couples and gain a better overall picture of their perceptions of erectile dysfunction and how they relate to it situationally and emotionally.
“I’m excited to be working with EveAdam because I think it’s great to have these kinds of resources available online,” says Hannah Witton. “It gives people more options and access to information when it comes to their sexual health which is great.”
The poll only takes around 5 minutes to complete. If you have ever had a partner with ED, we’d love to know about your experience with it, and if (and how) it affected your relationship.
It isn’t always easy knowing what to do or say when erectile dysfunction strikes. You might be thinking any number of things.
Through our survey, we hope to gain a better understanding of just how many couples are suffering with these issues and what their responses to them look like.
We also want to know whether erectile dysfunction has become such a problem in terms of communication that some couples choose to break up.
Hannah Witton and Shan Boodram will be analyzing the results in full roughly one month from now. So watch this space. We’re excited to learn more about this intricate bedroom problem and perhaps shed some light on the issue.
“It’s not a topic I’ve really looked into before,” says Hannah Witton. “I really enjoyed learning more about ED for this campaign because it’s something that you hear about all the time, is joked about a lot in our media and culture, we have lots of assumptions about it, and so I really liked spending the time actually looking into the reality of it.
“I love being nosy about other people’s sex lives so I’m excited to hear some of the stories of what people have done or said when their partner hasn’t been able to get it up.”
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to get or maintain an erection that lasts long enough for sex.
It’s said to impact around 18-47% of men in the US, depending on the study. It is often the result of a physical health problem, particularly one which may impact “good” blood flow. Things like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. ED can happen because of lifestyle choices too, like an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise or drinking too much.
It can also be the symptom of a mental health problem. Erectile dysfunction and depression can sometimes be linked, as can anxiety. ED can also be caused by doubts surrounding things like performance and a sense of sexual “duty.”
It can vary wildly. Erectile dysfunction can be embarrassing, confusing and difficult to understand right away. Whether we like it or not, there are societal expectations built up around things like sex and performance.
Some men feel a sense of duty when it comes to performance. They want to create an experience that is sexually fulfilling.
Not being able to fulfil that “duty” which is, on the surface, relatively straightforward, can feel humiliating and hard to come to terms with. It can cause men to feel any number of negative emotions, from embarrassment and confusion to anger and upset.
Then there is the question of how people struggling with ED come forward and talk to their partners, their friends and their doctors. As it stands, this is a condition which is still quite stigmatized and misunderstood. Some men simply don’t feel comfortable opening up, and therefore won’t. This can create an unhealthy atmosphere and force men into secretive behavior.
“Sometimes, men struggle to talk about ED even in their relationships,” says Dr. Oran. “So talking to a physician like me will be harder still.”
Maybe it’s happened once, or maybe it’s happened several times now. Mild, moderate or severe. It might be obvious what’s happening or difficult to understand. ED can be a sexual minefield.
Sometimes, the first thing a partner might do in a relationship is look inwardly and feel as if they’re doing something wrong.
“The first point to make is that the partner should never blame themselves,” says Dr. Oran, “because it is a misunderstanding of the issue itself, but it’s also dangerous in terms of mental wellbeing. Your male partner wants to have sex with you. In the vast majority of circumstances, they are engaged, stimulated and in that moment with you. The problem is that ED doesn’t care for any of these variables.”
Performance anxiety doesn’t just apply to sex and erections. It can happen to any number of people in any number of scenarios. Presentations, live performances, public speaking. All of these situations can cause performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety can also be caused by a fear surrounding pleasure or orgasm, concern about prematurely ejaculating, issues about size, problems within the relationship moving into the bedroom, poor body image or dysmorphia and, ultimately, fear surrounding the inability to please a sexual partner.
The signs of performance anxiety may be similar to those of generalized anxiety disorder. Things like increased heart rate, sweating, dry mouth, trembling, shaking, inability to communicate, a sense of panic or dread, and even nausea and feelings of fatigue or sickness.
Erectile dysfunction is often a multifaceted issue. The reasons behind it aren’t always clear, and sometimes they can point to a more underlying cause.
What’s important is taking that first step in the right direction. Having a conversation with your sexual partner, understanding their concerns and suggesting what should happen next.
Here are some things to consider if you’re a partner and you don’t know how to talk about or deal with ED.
Pick the right moment to talk about erectile dysfunction.
People who experience ED can feel any number of negative emotions during the moments they’re trying to have sex. Talking about it there and then might not be the best time.
Pick a moment to address the problem when you’re both together and alone, and when you have the space and time to get everything out into the open. Try to be understanding and don’t push too hard.
It can’t hurt to be informed. Read up about erectile dysfunction on trusted health sources so you know more about what your partner is experiencing. This will also help when it comes time to make suggestions about what to do next.
Some men worry they’re a poor sexual partner when they experience ED. They can feel panic or shame imagining themselves as your worst sexual partner.
Be honest about whether ED is something you’ve encountered before. Erectile dysfunction is a common problem, and this can help your partner feel less alone.
We know it’s hard to suggest health changes without feeling overbearing or putting your partner on the defensive, but simple lifestyle fixes can help with the symptoms of ED.
Make positive suggestions, ideally ones you can work on together.
This can include things like:
ED is still a very misunderstood problem, and not one that many people feel comfortable talking about. Unfortunately, too many people push themselves into living with the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and not knowing where or how to seek help.
By taking the EveAdam Erection Poll, you are helping in the fight against ED. Because you are helping us open up the conversation and break down the stigma.
“I am enthusiastic about this survey and the potential for new learnings when it comes to this very sensitive medical topic,” says Dr. Oran. “We really stand at the cusp of understanding ED a little better, from new and unconsidered perspectives — those of our partners. I’ll be extremely eager to read over the findings and provide some comment and analysis when that time comes.”