Relationship Adviser: My partner blames his erection problems on my weight

I have been with my partner for 20 years, and have very low self-esteem. When I met him, I was not a thin girl, around a size 16 or 18. My partner developed erection problems. We had massive rows and, in the end, he told me it was because I was so overweight. I was devastated. Yet although I have now lost a lot of weight and feel great, our problem is still there.

Erectile difficulties always affect both the sufferer and his partner, and different men react differently to this problem. Some find it so difficult to accept their dysfunction, and to seek treatment, that they convince themselves other factors are to blame. It may be that your partner has seized on your weight to provide a rationale for his dysfunction when, in fact, he urgently needs to find out the physical reasons. And by taking his erectile failures personally, you are colluding in his avoidance of medical help – there can be serious physical reasons for erectile dysfunction.

On the other hand, while it is true that some people are turned off by weight gain, it is also true that sexual attractiveness is strongly connected to confidence. You say that now you “feel great”, so I wonder: did you not feel great at a higher weight? If so, you would not be alone in that, but it is worth considering that a negative body image can have a devastating effect on one’s sexuality. If we feel that we are sexually attractive, others will find us attractive, too.

–Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.



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