Understanding Situational Erectile Dysfunction with Sex Therapy: Not All E.D. Needs Viagra. Does Yours?
Posted on July 24, 2015 by Aline Zoldbrod

By Aline Zoldbrod, Ph.D. Psychologist, Marriage and Couples Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist

Newsflash: Not all erectile difficulties need to be treated with drugs.

Here is something that a qualified sex therapist from Boston and elsewhere knows, which the general public doesn’t: There are many situations in which erectile instability is caused by something transitory and situational. Contrary to what big pharma would like you to believe, it is possible to get over E.D. without the use of drugs, and in some cases, this is a much better choice.

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Because of male socialization, men do not really tell other men the truth about their sexual experiences. (If you want to read an oldie-but-goodie great book on male sexual socialization, read Bernie Zilbergeld’s book, “The New Male Sexuality.”)

http://www.amazon.com/Bernie-Zilbergeld-PhD/e/B000AP9808

The truth is that mens’ sexual response is much more fragile than womens’. But men just do not share that fact with each other. Men can have erectile problems after all kinds of stresses and blows to their egos, and the E.D. can be reversed over time. The trick is not to panic.

Years ago, but after Viagra had hit the scene, I treated a man with E.D. that he developed as a result of a psychological trauma. This was a wonderful, intelligent and kind man in his 50’s, who had been married and had a few children. He was a good father and a good husband and provider.

He came to see me because his wife of almost 30 years had left him, totally out of the blue. He loved her, and he was completely devastated. He had met her fairly early in his college years, so he had not had that much experience dating. For a while, he was so upset and he was in such a state of grief that he did not date. But after months and months of grieving, the loneliness got the better of him, and he wanted to date.

But in the years between when he had first gotten married and when he began dating again, the sexual scene had changed. Now, women were much more aggressive sexually, and they wanted to have intercourse within the first few dates. Now this guy, who I will call Dan, had never had erectile difficulties with his wife. In fact, she used to tease him that because he looked very intellectual and geeky no one would ever guess that beneath that exterior lived an unbelievably great, sexy, lover.

But Dan had trusted his wife. She was safe. They had had a tender and fulfilling sexual relationship. He found that he could not function sexually with these women who were virtual strangers. He couldn’t get erect, and he felt humiliated. He came to me, hoping that I would tell him to take Viagra.

But I had other ideas. Since his entire previous history had been one of erectile stability, and since he had no problem with morning erections or with masturbating to orgasm. I could tell that the problem was psychological. I really did not want him to become psychologically dependent on Viagra. I wanted him to come to terms with his value system—that he just did not feel good about casual sex. Even if he tried to deny it, his penis told his truth.

Week after week, I coached him. I reassured him that once he found someone he really liked, someone that he got to know over a longer time period, someone he trusted, that I was sure his penis would cooperate again. He kept dating, and he did have some more experiences with having sex with women he did not really connect with, and he had some more episodes of E.D.

But eventually, he met someone he really liked. He felt that she might be “the one.” He told her what I coached him to say, that this was not a problem he had had in his long marriage, and that if he and she took the emphasis off intercourse, that I was sure they would be fine together. She was understanding and flexible. Bingo. His erections came back.

He thanked me; He apologized for doubting me, actually. He and she got married. Now there is a Viagra-free happy ending to a story about E.D. with the help of sex therapy counseling from a professional in Boston.

Aline Zoldbrod Ph.D. is a Boston based sex therapist and psychologist and the author of the award winning book SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It (1998). You can find out more at http://www.SexSmart.com.

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Dr. Aline Zoldbrod is a licensed psychologist, seasoned sex therapist, teacher and trainer in sexuality, and author of multiple books on sexuality.

Practicing sex therapy in the Boston, MA area, Dr. Z is thoughtful and creative in her approach to help her clients gain confidence and overcome issues.

Dr. Z is a repeat author, including the award-winning book Sex Smart. Dr. Z has been featured or quoted in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Parenting.com, Los Angeles Times, Yahoo.com, Boston Globe, Ladies Home Journal.com, and in many other publications.