‘His erection is just not on:’ Erectile dysfunction threatens to tear couple apart

‘His erection is just not on:’ Erectile dysfunction threatens to tear couple apartDr. Matsontso Mathebula of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University says that many men deal with erectile dysfunction and encourages couples to talk about the condition (File photo)

When Khensane met Craig* it was love at first sight and the couple soon became engaged, unwillingness to talk about what’s going on between the sheets threatens to destroy their happy union even before they walk down the isle.

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Dr. Matsontso Mathebula of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University says that many men deal with erectile dysfunction and encourages couples to talk about the condition (File photo)
Dr. Matsontso Mathebula of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University says that many men deal with erectile dysfunction and encourages couples to talk about the condition (File photo)

The pair met in December 2014 and became engaged in March. However, Khensane soon began to suspect that her beau was suffering from erectile dysfunction, or the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sex.

Unsure of how to broach the subject, Khensane thought maybe a little romantic adult films would spice up their sex life. When that didn’t work, she tried a frank discussion.

“The problem with him is that he doesn’t want to tell me the truth about it,” she said. “He claims that his first wife, who passed away in 2002, might be cursing him.”

According to the US health non-profit the Mayo Clinic, occasional erectile dysfunction is no cause for concern however more frequent bouts of the condition can point to underlying health problems including high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

About 31 percent of men suffer from a sexual dysfunction in their lifetime, according to research published in the South African Medical Journal. The journal notes that a small study conducted among men over the age of 18 years old attending one KwaZulu-Natal clinic found that about 65 percent of men suffered from the condition.[quote float= right]”The problem with him is that he doesn’t want to tell me the truth about it”

The non-profit warns that sexual arousal is a complex process involving everything from blood vessels and hormones to emotions, and that erectile can lower self-esteem and cause relationship problems.

For Khensane, she said she feels she can no longer talk to Craig about his erectile dysfunction without prompting a screaming match. Meanwhile, she said is feeling more and more distant from her husband-to-be and has started to question the engagement.

“I am now even scared to discuss such a matter with him because it changes him to a shouting person,” she said. “I think I rushed to engage the man before knowing him better and now it is difficult to just let go like that.

“I am ashamed to tell them of my problems,” she told OurHealth. “My close friend is now three months pregnant, and I feel like for me it won’t happen at all because his erection is just not on.”

However Dr. Matsontso Mathebula of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University stressed that erectile dysfunction is a common and treatable condition. He urged the partners of men living with the condition to understand that many men feel embarrassed by erectile dysfunction and that this can make talking about the condition difficult for them.

“She must approach him slowly until they get to an agreement,” said Mathebula, adding that men who experience the condition should consult their doctors and may need to be referred to a urologist.

*Names changed upon request