Sunday, July 26, 2015

Suicide is NOT The Cure For Erectile Dysfunction

Coping with the loss of erectile functioning is often a traumatic experience for men. It's also traumatic to their partner. Unfortunately men do the very worst thing possible as they cope with this trauma. They withdraw from their partner. They withdraw physically and emotionally.

This leaves a couple struggling with a highly stressful change in their relationship coping together alone.  Coping with a crisis alone rather than together is emotionally and relationally dangerous. Here's a letter I received from a wife whose husband suffered from ED after his prostate removed:

My husband had a robotic prostatectomy in 2006.  Surgery cured his cancer but left him impotent and this killed his soul. We loved each other deeply and each of us knew that, but there was nothing I could do to heal his pain. If I tried to initiate intimacy, he would become anxious and push me away. Alternately, he would initiate intimacy when he had self-medicated with alcohol, which was difficult for me and never had a good outcome. Humor didn't go far, either. He felt damaged and wasn't a group kind of guy, so he never received professional help for his emotional pain and went deeper into depression. He committed suicide on August 7th of last year. While his impotence wasn't the only issue that drove him to his decision to end his life, it was a major factor in his feeling life wasn't worth living It's heart-breaking for our family.

I don't think a week goes by in my life where I haven't thought about this tragedy. This tragedy has all the elements of the mistakes men make they cope with ED. Here's a list of those mistakes:

*Pushing your partner away when she tries to initiate intimacy.
*Pushing your partner away emotionally. 
*Self medicating with drugs or alcohol.
*Losing your ability to laugh and enjoy humor (a symptom of depression)
*Feeling  irreparably damaged as a man.
*Refusing help of any kind

These behaviors are all to common among men coping with erectile dysfunction. I wanted to do something to help men facing erectile dysfunction, so I created an on-line forum where men could visit in the privacy of their home and receive both support and information. If you or someone you love is coping with erectile dysfunction, share this blog and link with them

Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implant Forum

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer
can  be previewed and purchased at

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eight Destructive Ways to Think About Erectile Dysfunctioning

It's easy to make a lot of mistakes when coping with ED. I've made my fair share. Each mistake had a devastating impact on my psychological well being and my marriage. Here's a list of common mistakes men make. Don't be surprised to find out you've made more than one mistake. These are very destructive ways to think about erectile dysfunction: 

Mistake #1 "I've lost my manhood."-This mistaken way of thinking is the fuel for most of the other mistakes men make. If you believe your manhood depends upon your erectile functioning and you lose that ability, you come to the conclusion you've lost your manhood. From this way of thinking your headed for a downhill journey in coping with erectile dysfunctioning. 

Mistake #2 "I don't deserve to be in a relationship." Once you've come to the decision you no longer have anything of value to offer in a relationship or believe a woman could never love with anyone who can't perform in the bedroom you'll do one of two things. If your single you'll decide to stop dating. If you're married you'll withdraw from your partner. You'll avoid physical contact of any kind. Kissing, hugging, holding hands, all physical forms of affection are avoided like the plague. You'll certainly avoid sex. You'll withdraw and use anger to keep your partner far away from you emotionally, physically and sexually. On some level the goal here may be to act in such a mean way you'll drive your partner away because you believe you don't deserve their love, or that they'd be better off without you.

Mistake #3 "I won't seek help" Let's face reality, it's embarrassing to talk about erectile dysfunction to anyone. If you allow embarrassment or shame to control your behavior and decision making process you won't seek help. You'll live and suffer with erectile dysfunction in silence. You'll also expect your partner to do the same or be content if they leave you. You'll believe it's better to be abandoned than face this issue head on.

Mistake #4 "I can't or I won't enjoy sex ever again." Here's where I'll make a confession of my ignorance. At age 56 I had no idea it was possible to have an orgasm without an erection. In other words, it is possible to enjoy sex without an erection. Is it different? Yes it is. Will you also feel some unwelcome emotions that are difficult to deal with before, during or after an orgasm without an erection? Probably, until you finish grieving the loss of your erectile abilities.

Mistake #5 "I'm a failure in the bedroom" Many men give up on the idea of having a mutually satisfying sexual experience once they lose their erectile abilities. For the record, there are a variety of ways to satisfy a woman without an erection. It's very possible to have mutually enjoyable and mutually exciting sex that doesn't involve an erection. 

Mistake #6 "My partner is to blame." Once you blame your partner for your ED, you may decide to seek a thrill outside of your marriage by having an affair or using pornograhpy. If your experience with erectile dysfunction is a result of psychological or relational problems, these options may produce an erection causing you to believe the solution involves getting rid of your partner.

Mistake #7 "I need drugs or alcohol to cope with ED." The majority of men who experience erectile dysfunction will also experience depression. One common way men seek to cope with depression is to self medicate with drugs or alcohol. 

Mistake #8 "I'd be better off dead." Sadly some men become so depressed and feel so helpless, miserable and worthless, they take their own lives or act in ways that are so self destructive, they are hoping their self destructive behavior will kill them. 

If I've learned anything over the years that I've coped with erectile dysfunction it's this: It is a mistake to think you can cope with this disease by yourself. ED a physically, relationally & psychologically devastating disease. Most men and couples need help and support to successfully cope with the loss of erectile functioning, especially when it's caused by the treatment of another disease, such as prostate cancer.