“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.” ~ Pablo Neruda.
“We’ve not made love in years.” I listened with empathy to a woman whose husband suffered from erectile dysfunction. “It’s come to the point where we no longer need it. We’ve just accepted it. The older you get the less sex matters anyway.”
I left the conversation feeling sad that it no longer mattered to them.
Perhaps I should have abandoned good manners and asked her if she truly believed that or if it was less painful that way.
What struck me as most sad is that they not only were deprived of the joys of intercourse but had also given up on all intimacy.
“More than 18 million men in the United States over age 20 are affected by erectile dysfunction, according to a study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction was strongly linked with age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a lack of physical activity. The findings also indicate that lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity and measures to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, may also prevent decreased erectile function.” This study was published in the February 1, 2007, issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
I imagined two scenarios. One, a couple for whom intercourse was of small importance, due to things like hormone levels or illness (not everyone is highly sexually charged) and another couple who thrived on their sexual relationship. No matter which couple erectile dysfunction were to affect, intercourse is only part of sexual satisfaction.
More important, and the focus of this article, is how to maintain a level of hot intimacy with one’s partner despite erectile dysfunction.
I know that whenever my partner and I slip into a few days away from lovemaking, we both experience a distance that neither of us likes. Maybe it’s because we’re used to twenty years of a steady diet, or maybe it’s because our love language is physical contact, but either way, when we’re not intimate, we’re less connected emotionally and spiritually as well. Arguments start easily, we’re grumpy, less tolerant of each other’s quirks.
Intimacy is so much more than physical contact. I’ll share a few synonyms:
Closeness, togetherness, affinity, rapport, attachment, familiarity, friendliness, friendship, amity, affection, warmth, confidence.
So you see, there is much to lose when at the drop of intercourse we also abandon intimacy. And there is much to gain by keeping things hot and intimate in the bedroom despite erectile dysfunction.
Much of intimacy is about vulnerability, openness, a willingness to be fragile; a descent into a connection at soul level. Intercourse aside, we can still enjoy the best of our partner and offer the best of ourselves exposing what is tender yet fiery within us.
Accept What Is
Erectile dysfunction has many causes and to understand it fully is to understand every single man who suffers from it. There is no one solution for it, as physical factors become deeply ingrained with emotional undercurrents, and for each person, these are highly individual.
As much as possible, accepting the situation is crucial. To fight it emotionally is to re-enforce it. Now this is not the same thing as believing that things will never change. What I’m speaking about is accepting that in this moment, this is reality. With acceptance comes peace.
Expectations kill the moment. Enjoy each other without them.
Move on to an activity that empowers your sense of self and manhood.
While a man is not defined by the function of his penis, there is no doubt that to be able to perform in bed satisfies the male ego and soul. Nothing wrong with that. It is what it is. In this moment, choose to be close to your sexual or life partner in another way.
Now you can move forward, and satisfy her or him with what you do have…a skill in intimacy.
Hot, Hot, Hot!
We tend to focus on intercourse and orgasm as the holy grail of all lovemaking.
Remember foreplay? Go back to the days when foreplay was all you were going to get! That date when you knew intercourse wasn’t an option, when kissing, dirty talk and getting to second base was pretty f*cking exciting. Ah, the sweet torture of what could be. Getting back to seduction and conquest is pretty heady stuff.
So now, approach your lover with confidence because you know that you know how to make them crazy!
The added benefit of this is that your mind won’t be focusing on producing an erection nor maintaining one. You may be surprised by what happens when this is not your goal.
Some of the best courtesans throughout history where ones who could satisfy a man despite erectile dysfunction. Some of the best lovers I’ve had (ok, so there’s been more than one) never took their pants off. Between suggestions, whispered kinkiness and everything else at their disposal, there is no doubt that men do not need an erection to make a woman scream their name.
Lips, Fingers and A Drawer Full of Surprises.
“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.” ~ Anais Nin
Intimacy and seduction has all day. No need to wait until you see your lover to put on the charm. Send a note, make a phone call, prepare your apartment, dress to kill. You know what your lover likes; become an expert at tapping into their turn-ons.
Take the opportunity to talk about what activities they like in bed, how they prefer to be approached, what kinks they wish to explore.
I remember an interview between Mr. Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. They talked about how they could sit on the sofa kissing for hours, and how much pleasure they received from that. Kissing is such a sensual way to experience intimacy.
One of the things I most loved about my partner when we got together was his skill at kissing me in a dozen different ways. He kissed just like he made love; totally involved.
Whatever you do in the bedroom, remember that when you’re all in, it’s going to have impact.
Your lips and mouth are capable of producing as intense an orgasm as your penis. Practice your art. Take your time, and when your lover is ready, use your hands and fingers to add to their pleasure. By the time your lips and tongue have traveled down her back to the curve of her bottom, you have had the opportunity to make her ready for your fingers and more.
If you are the lover of a man with erectile dysfunction, focus on your man’s other erogenous zones, such as his nipples (which can produce an orgasm in both male and female) and the incredibly sensitive scrotum. A gentle prostate massage can also produce much pleasure, while paying attention to your lovers’ penis.
Hard, semi-hard or not at all, you can still worship at the fountain of his love.
Some men like to have their fingers sucked in lieu of their penis or their ears bitten and licked. The body is excellent at finding sources of stimulation while the penis is at rest. Try to stay open to suggestions that your man may have. It may be difficult for him to disclose his needs, so gentle encouragement will be appreciated.
Luckily, we also now have access to a wide variety of sex toys to accommodate even the most discriminating lover, and they are easily ordered online if one is reticent to purchase in person.
Aside from hand held vibrators, there are also hollow dildos and harnesses that comfortably fit the penis and that can be used for intercourse. I think that this is such a positive way for a man to provide his lover the experience of intercourse. It is affirming of the desire to please a partner in whatever way is comfortable for them.
It’s not true that a vibrator can’t rock out as explosive an orgasm as a real penis. Properly seduced, she will appreciate a man’s skill with a sex toy. It’s all attitude and a willingness to enjoy what one can with their partner.
Last But Certainly Not Out of The Realm of Possibility.
It is not unreasonable at all for a man to offer his lover the gift of another man in the marriage bed.
While this will not suit everyone, and probably not most couples, it is a very generous and selfless way to overcome the craving for intercourse on the part of the woman.
For any couple considering this, I would advise having firm boundaries around the experience, and it works best in a very secure relationship where both partners are self-aware and emotionally mature.
Consider this: if it is a possibility in a relationship without erectile dysfunction present—as a way to explore one’s sexuality—why not in this situation? In a mindful union, all parties present deserve to be treated respectfully, with compassion and a desire to provide pleasure for all involved.
Most of all, I hope that all lovers find a way of being intimate in a way that honors their individuality. There is no one way to make love, no one way to satisfy and no need to abandon intimacy due to erectile dysfunction.
A soulful, mindful sexual connection is a beautiful way to express our devotion to each other.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Caroline Beaton