Why is my husband not getting erect?

Written with
Amanda Barge

Does my husband have erectile dysfunction?

If your husband is having erection issues, this could be a sign of erectile dysfunction (ED). Erectile dysfunction, sometimes called impotence, is when someone can’t get or keep an erection.

Trouble in erection paradise is common in marriages. A study has shown that more than two thirds (66%) of married men experienced symptoms of ED. It can impact both newlywed couples, as well as those in longer-term marriages. And it can affect younger husbands, as well as older ones.

We get it. If your husband has erectile dysfunction, it may leave you worrying about his health, your marriage, or your sex life. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Mojo is here to help.

Impotent husband: symptoms and signs

Here’s some basic ED signs and symptoms for you to spot:

  • Your husband can’t get hard at all
  • Your husband can’t keep an erection, and their penis goes soft during sex
  • Your husband’s erections aren’t as hard as they were before

You can find more information about what ED symptoms to look out for here.

How can ED affect the behaviour of an impotent husband?

If your husband has ED, you may be familiar with some of the following behaviors:

Avoiding intimacy

One survey found that over half (50%) of men aged 25-45 years old with ED have avoided sexual encounters because of it. Your husband may be worried that something will go wrong during sex. He may be avoiding sex or physical touch to steer clear of confronting his erection problems. 

Feelings of guilt, shame, or depression

Many Mojo users report having felt shame and guilt about not getting it up. They fear that they’re not satisfying their partner.

“Before any sexual encounter, I start feeling extremely anxious, as if I already know that there is no possible way that I will get it up – it’s like I’ve already lost and have failed. Not only is this embarrassing for me, but it also makes me feel guilty because I know that it is also affecting my husband.”

Anonymous Mojo User 

Lower libido

It’s completely normal for your libido (sex drive) to fluctuate, especially throughout a longer-term marriage. But if your husband’s sex drive has dipped lower than usual, their behavior might be impacted by ED. 

Becoming more argumentative

53% of men with ED aged 25-45 say they often fight with their partner because of their ED. This could be a result of heightened feelings of frustration and anxiety.  

Why can't my husband get an erection?

You might be wondering, why does my husband have erectile dysfunction? Well, let’s take a look at the possible causes:

Marriage specific reasons

Stress may be causing your husband’s ED. Your ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in when you’re in a stressful situation. This response helps prepare the body to deal with threats. Your heart rate goes up and your blood rushes towards your muscles to help you either run away from the threat or to fight it. If your body redirects this blood towards your muscles and away from your penis, this can lead to ED.

“This response helped our ancestors run away from lions or bears back when we were cavemen. Our modern-day brain has a difficult time distinguishing between those life-threatening situations and feeling anxious in the bedroom. Marriage stress can leave us in a constant state of fight or flight, and can result in your husband experiencing ED.” 

Silva Neves, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

Married life can come with the following stresses, that can then trigger ED: 

  • Moving house: Relocating, renting, or buying a property (and the tasks/paperwork involved) can cause stress levels to spike.
  • Financial issues and career pressures: Car loans, losing a job, starting new jobs, or having more responsibility at work can all create stress.
  • Parental stress: From young babies to teenagers, having children can be stressful.
  • Infidelity: Infidelity can cause significant stress in a marriage. You can read more about cheating and ED here.
  • Trying for children: Mojo users have reported that the stress of trying for children has resulted in erection issues.
“My erectile dysfunction issues started after trying to conceive for a year and having a miscarriage during this period. The issue initially started during my wife’s ovulation period but eventually spread to all of my sexual encounters.”

Anonymous Mojo user

Other psychological, lifestyle, and physical reasons

Your husband’s ED may have nothing to do with marriage stresses.

There’s many other reasons for erectile dysfunction. You can read a full list of general ED causes here.

My husband can't keep an erection, is it me?

It’s very unlikely that a husband would ever blame his partner for his erectile dysfunction.

Husbands with ED feel worried that their partners will leave them. So don’t take ED as a sign that your husband no longer wants to be in the relationship.

Your husband’s erection issues are probably being caused by one of the ED reasons listed above.

What can I do to help my husband's erectile dysfunction?

Tackling your husband’s psychological ED issues as a team

“If you approach this as a team, both with as much compassion as possible, it’ll take some of the pressure off you both when you’re getting down to it.”

Amanda Barge, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

We’ve listed some techniques you can do as a team:

Kick the stress out of your nervous system by box breathing together

If your husband’s ED stems from psychological reasons or marriage stresses, you can both benefit from some shared breathing space.

The box breathing technique can be done together, relaxing you both and putting you in better headspaces for sex.

“Navy SEALs use the box breath technique before heading into high-stress situations. This technique helps to bring us back into our bodies, and gets the blood flowing back to the penis.”

Silva Neves, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

To practice these breathing techniques together, you and your husband can sign up here for a trial.

Couple’s meditation

It’s important to focus on relieving stress through activities that will help you work on anxieties in all areas.

You can take part in couples meditations, with the goal of being closer together so that you’re united towards better erections. 

“Couple’s meditations will ground you, take you both away from the flight or fight mode, and will help to bring both of you back into your bodies. This should help you become more present during sex which can often result in more enjoyable sex and better erections.”

Mike Richards, Meditation Coach 

Here at Mojo, we have a dedicated couples meditation course.

Take the pressure off

Time-pressured sex can be stressful, whether it's forcing a quickie when you're busy, or after you’ve had an argument. Try initiating sex during a chilled out evening or an easy Sunday morning instead.

“Say no to situations that generate excessive stress while you’re working on erection issues. You can’t move forward if you’re constantly being knocked back.”

Amanda Barge, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist 

Think differently about penetrative sex 

Sex that only involves penetration can put pressure on your man. Take the emphasis off penetration, and focus on touching one another in areas where you like to be touched, or incorporate toys into your sex life.

Push for pleasure – not penetration – and you’ll both find that the reduced pressure on the penis leads to stronger erections and more enjoyable sex overall. 

Supporting your husband through lifestyle changes

Here are some of the ways you can support your husband through his lifestyle changes. These can help your husband become healthier and therefore help reduce erection issues: 

  • Cook healthy meals together. Dare one another to complete cooking challenges, and use our food for erectile dysfunction blog post as inspiration.

  • Exercise together. Try to find sports that you can do together, such as hiking, running, or yoga. If this fills you with dread, try to get your 10,000 steps in.
  • When it comes to date nights, look for new, sober activities to enjoy together. This could include cinema evenings, comedy nights, or even painting classes.

Support for physical ED

Physical reasons such as taking medication, aging, and conditions affecting blood flow can all cause ED.

If you think your husband’s ED is caused by any underlying physical causes, the best thing you can do is encourage him to take take trip to the doctor. 

How to talk to your husband about erectile dysfunction

Both of you can dedicate time to observing if there are any stresses in your marital life or personal life.

Keep the channels of communication open, so you have a chance to verbalize how you’re feeling from these observations. 

By communicating with one another, both your relationship and your husband’s erections can keep on getting stronger. 

"Reassure him that you are keen to help, you are in no rush for results, and you realize it might take him a bit of time to get his confidence back in the bedroom."

Amanda Barge, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

My husband has ED and refuses help

  • Remember to stay gentle, empathetic, and understanding.
  • Be patient and try not to put too much pressure on them to seek help before they're ready.
  • Educate yourself about erectile dysfunction, Mojo’s course content is a great place to start.
  • Find a good time to talk to him about things. Generally outside of the bedroom when you’re both feeling relaxed is ideal.

You could also direct your husband to Mojo’s Community forum as a starting point. Here, he can start hearing from other guys and get used to men opening up about their erectile dysfunction.

My husband has ED, how do I cope?

If you’re reading this post and trying to help your husband with his erection issues, you’re doing great.

But, it’s important that you still look after yourself. Dealing with your husband’s erectile dysfunction doesn’t need to take a toll on your personal happiness and wellbeing.

Trust us, there’s a lot of other partners of men with ED going through similar motions. Talk to them in our Mojo community for partners, to help alleviate stress, feel less alone, and share tips with each other.

My husband has ED, should I leave him?

Absolutely not.

As we’ve covered, ED’s causes are usually psychological, physical, or lifestyle-related. No one is at fault for these erection issues, and they are very much treatable. 

Working together to help tackle your husband’s erection issues can not only help you get your sex life on track in the shorter term, but could actually mean that you’re more intimate and have stronger communication in your relationship in the long run.

Boner bounce back

Your husband might not be getting or staying erect right now, but we’re confident that he can get his boners back with the right support, treatment, and encouragement. 

Check out Mojo’s trial today, either on your own, or together with your husband.

Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.

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