Conquering ED Together: Expert Advice for Men and Their Partners

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a sensitive yet common issue that affects many men, especially as they age.

However, it’s important to understand that you are not alone.

Dr. Patricia White Heller, a board-certified urologist, and Mark Goldberg, a clinical therapist, provide valuable insights and practical strategies during a recent webinar for managing ED and maintaining healthy relationships.

Check out the full webinar here or keep reading to hear what they shared.

Understanding the Prevalence of ED

Dr. Heller begins by defining ED as “the persistent inability to achieve and maintain an adequate erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse.” She emphasizes that this is a very common problem, affecting approximately one in five men over the age of 20. “Over half of guys over 40 have some element of ED, and it’s a bit of a continuum,” Dr. Heller notes.

One of the key takeaways from the webinar is the importance of understanding the underlying causes of ED. Dr. Heller explains that erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of various health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even prostate cancer.

“A man may first notice problems in the bedroom with sexual performance as a precursor to noticing chest pain or having a cardiac event because the progressive changes in his vessels will start with the smallest ones and move on to the larger ones,” she says.

This connection between ED and cardiovascular health is particularly important for men 50 and older to understand.

Dr. Heller emphasizes that “anything good for your heart is good for your penis.” This means that managing risk factors like high cholesterol, obesity, and lack of physical activity can not only improve overall health but also help address ED.

The Impact on Relationships

While the medical aspects of ED are crucial, the webinar also delves into the relational and psychological impact of this condition. Mark Goldberg, the clinical therapist, stresses the importance of open communication with one’s partner.

Goldberg suggests that men experiencing ED have three key conversations with their partners:

  1. “That a penis was not and never will be a thermometer of how you feel about your partner.”
  2. “To ask about what the role of an erection has been and needs to be in sexual encounters moving forward.”
  3. “To ask about how your partner feels about you.”

He explains that these discussions can help dispel misconceptions, address concerns, and foster a deeper understanding between partners.

Goldberg notes that “men’s worst fears about their partner’s thoughts and feelings are generally not accurate. That misconception can create a tremendous amount of anxiety which ends up compounding and maintaining the sexual dysfunction.”

Navigating Treatment Options

The webinar delves into the various treatment options available for men dealing with ED. Dr. Heller provides an overview of oral medications, intraurethral gels and suppositories, and intracavernosal injections.

She acknowledges that while oral medications, such as Viagra and Cialis, are a common first-line treatment, they may not be effective for all men, particularly those with underlying conditions like diabetes.

“Unfortunately, they’re not recommended if you take certain other medications, alpha blockers. We sometimes can separate those in a temporal way and have a patient not take those two medicines at the same time, avoiding some low blood pressure type symptoms,” Dr. Heller explains.

For men who don’t respond well to oral medications, Dr. Heller highlights the potential benefits of intracavernosal injections.

“It’s a simple injection of medicine. It’s a very small needle where a patient will inject his penis on the sides of the penis. One side for each event. He’d like to have an erection. It works pretty well,” she says.

However, Dr. Heller acknowledges that some patients find the idea of self-injecting intimidating. In such cases, she recommends exploring the option of a penile implant, which she describes as “the only way to completely give control over erection function back to the patient so that he’s able to have an on-demand erection that is 10 out of 10 quality and last as long as he wants it to.”

The Importance of Personalized Approaches

Throughout the webinar, both Dr. Heller and Goldberg emphasize the importance of personalized approaches to managing ED. They acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that each patient’s unique circumstances and preferences must be taken into account.

Dr. Heller notes, There are a lot more treatment options. And every man with erectile dysfunction can have a satisfactory sex life, and there’s a way to get anyone there depending on his preferences.

Goldberg echoes this sentiment, stating, “It’s important to be sensitive that a partner may also feel guilty that they’re holding up the process because the man with the implant is basically ready to go, at least from a physiological standpoint, almost from the get-go.”

The experts emphasize the need for open communication, patience, and a willingness to try different approaches until the right solution is found.

Key Takeaways

  • ED is a common condition that affects many men as they age, and it’s important to understand the prevalence and underlying causes.
  • Open communication with your partner is crucial for addressing the emotional and relational impact of ED.
  • A range of treatment options are available, from oral medications to penile implants, and the best approach will depend on the individual’s unique needs and preferences.
  • Personalized care and a willingness to try different solutions are essential for finding the right path forward.


Managing ED can be a complex and sensitive topic, but the experts in this webinar provide a comprehensive and compassionate approach.

By understanding the underlying causes, communicating openly with your partner, and exploring the various treatment options, men 50 and older can regain control over their sexual health and maintain fulfilling intimate relationships.

If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to watch the full webinar recording, which delves deeper into the insights and strategies shared by Dr. Heller and Mr. Goldberg.

Remember, you don’t have to face ED alone – menMD has plenty of resources and support available to help you navigate this journey and reclaim your sexual health.


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