Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives love, dating and self-esteem advice on the CW’s Bill Cunningham Show and all over the web through her hit web series AbiolaTV. Now she wants to help you keep things spicy and fresh between the sheets. Are you in need of an intimacy intervention? Just ask Abiola!
My husband and I have a beautiful relationship, but our bedroom life is really starting to worry me. I’ve been married for 14 years and I am happy with my marriage. But for the past year, we’ve had ups and downs in the bedroom – no pun intended.
I’m ok with those moments that he may get “his” before I get “mine.” But lately, no one is getting anything.
My husband says he’s been having performance anxiety. We start out with great foreplay and during that time he’s erect. Once we’re about to take it to the next level, his erection vanishes. He says that he is constantly thinking about whether he’s going to perform well, if he is touching me ok, will he be too quick, will I get mine first, etc., to the point where it interferes with our love making.
He recently ran across some blood pressure issues and picked up weight and I do believe that plays a part in his thinking also. I’ve tried all I can think of; eliminating foreplay, trying to calm his mind beforehand, etc. I constantly express that I love him and I’m not bothered by his weight gain or anything. Before this occurred, he was great in bed and we had great sex quite often.
I’ve asked if there is anything that I can do to help. He said no and that he loves that I’m willing to do whatever he asks in the bedroom, but it’s up to him to control his anxiety. He went to the doctor and was informed that it’s all in his mind. They provided him with Viagra and it worked for a few weeks, but now it’s no longer working. He said that it makes him feel terrible and he tries hard to make it up with foreplay and oral, but to be honest, I don’t want that all the time. I want to make love with my husband. What can I do?
Desperately Seeking Inner Touch
Dear Sacred Bombshell,
Thank you for having the courage to write your letter. You and your husband are not alone. Still, this remains a taboo topic, particularly when one or both partners are of African descent, with all of the myths and stereotypes about our sexuality.
The American Medical Association defines erectile dysfunction (ED) as, “the consistent inability to attain or maintain penile erection of sufficient quality to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse.” According to the AMA, “conditions associated with ED include metabolic syndrome, lower urinary tract dysfunction secondary to benign prostatic hypertrophy, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders such as hypogonadism, and in some patients, central neurologic deficits (e.g. Parkinson’s disease) or prescription medicines.”
Almost every man will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in his life. According to a recent study, at about age 40, approximately 40% of men are affected with ED. By the time men reach age 70, approximately 70% are affected. The situation then become compounded by performance anxiety and becomes an unwelcome cycle.
Here are the factors to consider:
You were headed down the right path as a couple when your husband sought medical assistance. You didn’t mention hubby’s age or what kind of doctor he saw. If he went to a general practitioner, please encourage him to see a urologist. Either way, with the blue pill no longer working for him, he should return to a physician. No drug is a cure-all, no matter what the commercials tell us. It has been reported that this particular drug works 60% to 80% of the time. The doctor may have an alternative.
Although your husband’s previous doctor indicated that the issue is all in his mind, you can never go wrong by getting a second opinion. You mentioned that your husband has blood pressure issues and has gained weight. Both of those health challenges have been linked to erectile dysfunction. While you both investigate this issue as a couple, perhaps your husband can work on getting healthy.
Get the blood flowing. Your man needs to workout, if he’s physically able to.
According to a Harvard study, just 30 minutes of walking a day was linked with a 41% drop in risk for ED. Just 30 minutes!
Paint a full picture for the doctor. Is your husband able to perform to completion when he is by himself? Are his issues only during partner sex? Does he smoke? Has he had any big life changes? Extenuating circumstances affecting bedroom performance can include anxiety, stress, and depression. Even alcohol consumption can negatively affect sexual performance.
CNN has reported that just losing 5 to 10% of body weight has improved ED in some groups. Take this issue up head on– no pun intended. Make eating right and working out a fun and sexy adventure for you both and see how the situation improves.
I would recommend that your husband see a sex therapist. He should have solo counseling sessions, as well as sessions with you. There may be things he can only discuss privately. You can locate a professional via The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) website.
There is a process called “sensate touch” that may help. The sensate focus exercises were developed by famous sex therapists Masters & Johnson. You can read more about how to do it together in the acclaimed book, Sexual Healing: The Complete Guide to Overcoming Common Sexual Problems by Dr. Barbara Keesling, Ph.D., and then perhaps learn more from a sex therapist.
When it comes to natural remedies for performance anxiety, natural health guru Dr. Andrew Weil recommends ginkgo, yohimbe, ashwagandha, and Asian ginseng. Please note that some of these natural remedies also may raise blood pressure or have side effects. Check with your doctor before taking anything. Other natural fixes may include a daily B12 vitamin and eating less processed meats and refined grains.
Please note that nothing mentioned here is meant to substitute for medical advice. This is for informational purposes only. You should always see your own doctor or practitioner to know what’s best for your situation.
Know that all is well. Take the pressure off. Keep the communication lines open as this situation has been known to damage self-esteem on both sides. Your husband is right – his anxiety and his erection are not fixable by you, gorgeous. The situation is not anyone’s fault. Continue to have a positive, blame-free environment.
Don’t get discouraged, my queen. See professional guidance from those who have your husband’s complete mental and physical health records in front of them. The beautiful thing is that you are in love and happy with each other. Everything else is solvable.
Good luck!Passionately yours,Abiola