Erection Poll: How Would You React If He Couldn't Get It Up?

Medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last reviewed 14/04/2021
2 minute read
Medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson
Written by Jackson
Last reviewed 14/04/2021
5 minute read
Erection Poll logo with Shan and Hannah

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 influencer 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 impotence and how they relate to it situationally and emotionally. 

The poll only takes around 5 minutes to complete, and it’s completely anonymous. If you’ve ever had a partner with ED, we’d love to know about your experience, 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.

  • How many couples experience impotence?
  • Does it impact our relationships negatively?
  • How can a partner respond to ED problems?

We also want to know whether impotence has become such a problem in terms of communication that a couple have had to break up over erectile dysfunction.

Hannah Witton and Shan Boodram will be analysing 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.

‘We’ve been talking about erectile dysfunction more openly for a while now,’ comments GP Clinical Lead at EveAdam Dr. Daniel Atkinson, ‘and one thing remains quite clear: this is still an often very stigmatised and misunderstood health problem.

One thing we often overlook is the impact impotence may be having on relationships and sexual partners. How these issues can affect the individual man well documented, but insofar as both parties in a relationship this still remains quite unexplored.

I am really eager to see how couples are dealing with these issues and, ultimately, whether we are creating enough ‘safe spaces’ within our relationships for men to feel comfortable enough to talk openly about the sexual problems they’re dealing with – both psychologically and physically.’

It’s not a topic I’ve really looked into before and 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,’ comments Hannah. 

She continues: ‘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.’

ED: 101

Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is defined as the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough for sex.

According to some reports[1], it’s said to impact around 1 in 5 men in the UK. It is often the cause of a physical health problem, particularly one which may impact ‘good’ blood flow. Things like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. ED can happen because of poor lifestyle choices too, like not eating well, exercising enough or drinking too much.

It can also be the symptom of a mental health problem. Erectile dysfunction and depression can sometimes be linked, as well as with anxiety. ED can also be caused by doubts surrounding things like ‘performance’ and a sense of sexual ‘duty.’

How does impotence make a man feel?

It can wildly vary. 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 fulfill 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 stigmatised 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 behaviour.

Dealing with erectile dysfunction in a sexual relationship

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 thing a partner might do is look for help or advice on how to deal with erectile dysfunction in a marriage or relationship; or even turn their attention inwardly, and consider how to be more ‘sexually attractive’ for a boyfriend or partner.

‘Self-blaming thoughts aren’t healthy’, comments Dr. Atkinson ‘It’s extremely unlikely that something you yourself are doing is causing the problem. Blaming yourself will not serve anybody and might even make things worse.

If your partner didn’t want to have sex with you, they probably wouldn’t try. In the vast majority of circumstances, they are exactly where they want to be.

The fact they are struggling with erection problems despite this is just one reason the problem becomes worse. It can feel embarrassing and is difficult to open up about. This all comes back to the idea of ‘performance.’ A sense of sexual duty is a very real concern, and it’s something we still need to work hard to address.’

What are the signs he has performance anxiety?

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 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 perception of body image or dysmorphia issues and, ultimately, fear surrounding the inability to please a sexual partner.

The signs of performance anxiety may not be similar to those of generalised anxiety disorder. Things like increased heart rate, sweating, dry mouth, trembling, shaking, inability to communicate, a sense of panic, dread or even nausea or feelings of fatigue or sickness.

Why can’t my boyfriend stay hard?

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.

How to help an impotent partner: 

  • Choosing the right time to talk about ED
  • Do your research
  • Be open about whether it’s happened before
  • Suggest lifestyle fixes and exercise for erection problems
  • Take the EveAdam Erection Poll

Choosing the right time to talk about ED

Pick the right moment to talk about impotence. 

People who suffer with ED can feel any number of negative emotions during the moments they’re trying to have sex. Talking about impotence there and then might not be the most ample time. 

Pick a moment to address the problem when you’re both together and alone, when you have the space and time to get everything out into the open. Try to be understanding and don’t push too hard. 

Do your research

It can’t hurt to be informed. Read up about impotence on trusted health sources so you know a little bit about what you’re talking about. This will also help when it comes time to make suggestions about what to do next.

Be open about whether it’s happened before

Some men may worry they’re a poor sexual partner. Maybe they’ll panic or feel shame that they’re your worst sexual partner. It may not seem important to you, but these are real concerns for some men. 

Be honest about whether ED is something you’ve encountered before. Impotence is a common problem, and it helps if couples are aware of this.

Suggest lifestyle fixes and exercise for erection problems

We know it can be a fine line between coming across as ‘nagging’ and having someone’s best health interests at heart, but simple lifestyle changes can help with the symptoms of ED. Make positive suggestions that perhaps you can aim to fulfil together. This can include things like: 

  • Exercising more.
  • Not smoking. 
  • Drinking less alcohol. 
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Eating a more balanced diet.

Take the EveAdam Erection Poll

ED is still a very misunderstood problem, and not one that many people feel comfortable talking about. Unfortunately, too many people have been pushed into living with the symptoms of impotence and not knowing where to seek help.

By taking the EveAdam Erection Poll, you are helping aid the fight against ED. Because you are helping us open up the conversation and break down the stigma.

‘I hate to be presumptuous,’ comments Dr. Atkinson, ‘but I would hypothesise the majority of people who have encountered ED in a partner would be understanding and would want to help in whichever way they knew how.

That is what we hope the results of this groundbreaking survey will demonstrate and help us explore.’

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