Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

A Man's Personal Account of ED

I’m a 36 year old guy, and a couple of years ago I noticed that I was not performing as well as I hoped, when in the bedroom (or any other room for that matter).

My sex life was not what I wanted it to be, in fact it was virtually non-existent, and when my wife and I did “get it on” – so to speak, quite often it felt like I was trying to push a marshmallow through a keyhole. (I’m not sure where I heard that expression, but believe me; it describes what I was trying perfectly.)


I put this “non-performance” down to work stress and stress at home, as I was facing retrenchment and we had a new baby girl at home.

Now, I’m the kind of guy that generally has a positive outlook on life, so I didn’t pay it too much attention. I mean, I was in my early 30’s at the time, so this shouldn’t really be a problem for long.

I also started buying books and studying various techniques to satisfy my wife, so that if I could not rise to the occasion, at least she would have an orgasmic experience and not think any worse of me… of course the problem was that I still needed to get her into bed.

The work situation got better. Handling the baby got better. Getting an erection didn’t

Eventually I started getting desperate and plucked up the courage to speak to my doctor. Of course I didn’t go there with this express need, I had to dream up some other symptoms of some mysterious illness to make the appointment, and then find a way of sneaking in the fact that I was not the virile young man I always imagined myself to be.

Anyway, long story short, I got a prescription for some miracle pills, and I was going to have a penis so erect that it would be ready to perform at the drop of a negligee and stay up all night long. I would pleasure my wife in the traditional way of penetrating her with my manhood... Boy was I mistaken.

So what actually happened?

Well, the frequency of the sex did not increase, although we did have it two or three times over a weekend and then go for weeks without doing anything. Hell, these pills were expensive and I needed to get my money’s worth, whether my wife was keen or not, and although my erections were harder in the beginning, I was still finding myself going limp in the heat of passion.

I kept a calendar

It got so bad, that I ended up keeping a calendar of when we had sex, and when I could “perform”. My wife and I were hardly touching each other, both inside and outside the bedroom.

We never discussed it, and when I did manage to get her to agree to have sex, I would put all my effort into making her reach orgasm, and I was often left feeling empty and unsatisfied with my own performance.

On one of my numerous Internet sessions (I was spending more and more time in cyberspace, avoiding the issue); I came across the website of a local therapist. I read some of the information on erectile dysfunction and some other issues, and decided to give her a call.

Visiting a therapist

My plan – to get my wife to come along so that she could be “cured” and want to have sex with my more often. My cover – the erectile dysfunction that had plagued me for the past few years. Hell, let’s kill two birds with one stone. Yeah, that sounded like a great plan, and besides, visiting a therapist would be considered trendy.

On a serious note, I felt like my marriage was falling apart, and one way or another, I had to do something to try and save it. I love my wife and divorce for me was not an option.

So, off I went to my first session – alone.

I really had no idea what to expect, and I was nervous as hell.

We started talking, and I must admit, even though I consider myself to be a VERY liberal person, I was a little shocked at how frank and open the therapist was with me, but after about half an hour, we were chatting like old school friends. At the end of our hour, she asked me to make another appointment and to bring my wife along.

Hmm, my plan seemed to be working, but now for the next difficult part – convincing her to join me.

My wife is always loving and supportive, but a little conservative, so this was pushing things.

Anyway, we discussed my session and I told my wife that I was feeling positive and that I would like her to join me at my next session. I needed her to understand what I was going through and I also hoped that it would improve matters between us.

To my surprise, she immediately agreed and off we went.

During our first session together, three things became very apparent to the therapist:

  1. My wife’s libido and mine were not even in the same book, let alone on the same page.
  2. We had the classic symptoms of a “pursuer / distancer” relationship.
  3. My erectile dysfunction was largely due to psychological issues of which performance anxiety was a major player.

I was happy with the first diagnosis

Anyone could see that our sex drives were out of whack, but what was this “pursuer / distancer” relationship, and all this rubbish about performance anxiety? I mean, come on – I’m a guy of the new millennium. I’ve read plenty of articles on how to please a woman.

What did I have to be anxious about? And yet, when it came to the crunch, I just couldn’t get it up. 

What was wrong with me? Had I failed as a partner? Was this all my fault? Had I driven this wedge between us? We needed help, I needed help. Now, more than ever.

Over the next couple of weeks, a lot happened

I learnt a lot about my wife – someone I thought I had known for the past 14 years. I learnt how to listen. I learnt how to communicate.

In those few weeks we fought more than we ever had before, but it was all good. We were communicating – both of us, and I was getting to know how my wife was feeling, understanding what she was going through, understanding her needs, and I felt myself falling in love again.


Every week we were given homework for which we had to make time – something we had forgotten how to do. We learnt how to touch each other. We learnt how to share.

Eventually, we learnt how to make love again. I don’t mean that we learnt how to have sex – we learnt how to actually make love again. My wife understood my problem and I got a better understanding of what she wanted and needed from our intimate time together.

I began to understand that I was not solely responsible for her orgasm, but that it was a journey we took together.

I hung onto the crutch of taking the pills for a while, but I found that I was able to sustain an erection without them, as my mind-set changed, and I have slowly stopped using them.

Focus on foreplay

I still sometimes lose my erection while we are making love, but I know exactly why it happens and I don’t feel like a failure because of it. Of course I get upset, but that’s natural. My wife accepts that it still happens and we make up for those odd occasions in other ways. We slow things down, focus on the foreplay again and just enjoy the whole experience – not only the main event.

I still keep my calendar of when we have sex and whether I managed to maintain an erection or not, but now it is a positive thing - something to remind me of how bad things once were and of how far we have come together.

My wife initiates more often now

My wife initiates sex more frequently now and we are a lot more affectionate outside of the bedroom as well.

Our lives are by no means perfect, a marriage takes a lot of work, but our relationship is stronger because we communicate about issues that bother us – something we never did before.

My advice to any guy that suffers from erectile dysfunction or any girl whose partner is having issues, is to talk about it openly with each other first, and then to seek help together. Having the support of my wife, made all the difference for me.

There are medical and psychological reasons for ED

There are medical reasons for erectile dysfunction and there are psychological ones, but the only way to overcome it is to admit there is a problem, and then to seek help.

Guys, get over yourself, swallow your pride and get it sorted out. Believe me; it has a destructive impact on your self-esteem and particularly on your relationship. If you love yourself and your partner – do something about it. Don’t be like me and live in denial for years before plucking up the courage to speak to someone.

Sex is fun, don’t let your ego, and a limp penis, spoil it for you.