Feature Archive

Erectile Dysfunction: A Woman's Point of View

Advice for women on how to cope with their partner's erectile dysfunction.

By ColetteBouchez
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

The TV commercials make it all seem so simple: He can't get an erection so he pops a pill. The next thing you know, his partner is cooing about how her guy is back to his old wild and romantic self.

What the commercials don't show you: The painful distress a woman can experience when her man suffers with erectile dysfunction (ED).

"Women internalize things -- they tend to blame themselves first, thinking it's because they have done something wrong, or that they are no longer attractive to their partner. In fact, the first thing a woman thinks when a man can't get an erection is that it's her fault, and nothing could be further from the truth," says Andrew McCullough, MD, director of sexual health and male infertility at NYU Medical Center in New York City.

ED, or erectile dysfunction, is medically defined as the inability to achieve or sustain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. Virtually all men experience some erection failures at certain points in their lives. It can be the result of stress, depression, or sometimes even for no reason at all. For some, the problem becomes chronic. When it does, a diagnosis of ED is made. According to the American Foundation for Urologic Disease, it's a problem that affects about 18 million men in the U.S. alone.

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