What’s the Best Way to Discuss His Impotence?

best way to discuss impotence to your husband

Taking heed of the consequences of the hook-up culture, I have been a “good” girl even though that has been difficult. The man I am attracted to was the stronger one in this situation, and I appreciated his keeping me from making a mistake. I’m 57, and he is 55. We have been seeing each other for four months without sex, and I now realize why he has been the stronger one — he is impotent. He has not told me, but when we cuddle, one would think there would be some evidence of “happiness” at some point, and I can reflect back on the meaning of statements made early in our relationship that make more sense now.

As I get more sensual in our relationship, I can feel he is pulling away. I get that he is afraid of being vulnerable, and I want him to know that I realize what his issue is and that intercourse isn’t all there is. I want him to know he can trust me with his vulnerability. At the end of an awesome day together, I’d like to show him what it has meant to me. I value his place in my life, and I am concerned that calling him out on his impotency would cause loss of even his friendship.

We met on Match and his profile stated he wanted a woman who could leave her comfort zone sometimes. I certainly can, but I think he can’t. How can I approach this? This is tough for me, but I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for him.


Before we talk about impotence — which I’m really looking forward to, by the way – I have to ask about one thing: four months without sex?

Just because I’ve talked about the potential downsides of hookup culture and the benefits of sexclusivity does NOT mean I encourage 57-year-old women to cuddle for 4 months.

Labels matter, because the kind of trust and foundation you have with a boyfriend is very different than the one with the “guy you’re seeing.

I know that’s not what you’re asking but I want to clarify for all of our other readers: the idea espoused in Why He Disappeared and Love U is to wait until he’s your committed boyfriend before having sex. That can happen after three weeks or six weeks or eight weeks, but if your guy hasn’t committed to you by then, you should probably cut him loose.

So even though you didn’t say it, Deb, I’m going to assume that this man is not “a guy you’re seeing,” but rather, your boyfriend. Labels matter, because the kind of trust and foundation you have with a boyfriend is very different than the one with the “guy you’re seeing.”

And if this is your boyfriend and he has an impotence problem, that is something that is definitely worth discussing. I appreciate your sensitivity towards him. I get that you don’t want to make him feel even more self-conscious. I also come from a belief system — unlike many other families — in which communication is encouraged and problems aren’t swept under the rug as if they don’t exist.

There is one big (or more likely, average-sized) problem in the room, and you’ve got two middle-aged people who are starting to care about each other but not acknowledging reality. As a reality-based dating coach who was born without filters, I may not be the best person to turn to because my answer is so predictable: tell him what you told me:

The next time you’re in bed and “snuggling,” say this to him from the heart. It’s honest, it’s caring, and the right guy will be very appreciative that you handled it this way.

As I get more sensual in our relationship, I can feel you pulling away. I get that you are afraid of being vulnerable, and I want you to know that I realize what your issue is and that intercourse isn’t all there is. I want you to know you can trust me with your vulnerability. At the end of an awesome day together, I’d like to show you what it has meant to me. I value your place in my life, and I am concerned that calling you out on your impotency would cause loss of even your friendship.

This is tough for me, but I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for you.

I just changed all the mentions of the word “him” to the word “you.”

The next time you’re in bed and “snuggling,” say this to him from the heart. It’s honest, it’s caring, and the right guy will be very appreciative that you handled it this way. If he is not, then he is the wrong guy for you — not because of his erectile dysfunction, but because of his lack of communication skills. Good luck.

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  1. 1

    I have a wild imagination and it is running wild here.      The writer assumes the issue is impotence, but I don’t.   He could be a transsexual he could be asexual, he could just not be attracted to her and therefore does not get an erection.   He could have a sexually transmitted disease that is deadly or is herpes and he does not want to pass to her.   He could be gay.      He could have been involved in a horrific accident and not have a penis.   He could have a micro penis and be stimulated but you just don’t know?    I mean. . . I don’t understand how she could have gone this long without addressing this issue.   Is she saying there is no sexual contact at all?   Do they kiss passionately, do they make out, has he touched her intimately?    Men that are impotent generally still have sex drives, just the inability to perform.   This whole situation is odd.   And most impotence can be cured by drugs these days.    Something is up.   She needs to confront him before this goes any further.

    1. 1.1

      Although her attitude is admirable and I appreciate Evan’s response, I agree that she may be jumping the gun. Since when do guys get hard just from cuddling?

      She may be courting disaster by flying blindly into a conversation about this man’s presumed ED. And it seems strange to have a deep talk about sex when there hasn’t even been any heavy making out yet. Maybe he moves slowly or is afraid of scaring her off by jumping the gun. Maybe he’s demisexual. Maybe he’s just not that into her sexually, but really enjoys her company.

      A conversation needs to be had, but maybe it doesn’t need to start with, “I know what’s up and it’s ok.”

      1. 1.1.1
        Emily, the original


        Since when do guys get hard just from cuddling?

        Uh …. if two people are really attracted to each other, particularly if they haven’t had sex yet and there is a lot of sexual tension (as is the case with this couple), cuddling should make all systems go.

        1. CSI

          Yeah but for many 55 year old guys it may take a bit more than cuddling to get things stirring.

          She really has no clue why he hasn’t made moves yet. Perhaps he’s old fashioned. She really needs to bite the bullet and talk to him. Would it be considered “un-feminine” though her to be the one to initiate discussions about intimacy?

      2. 1.1.2
        Emily, the original


        Would it be considered “un-feminine” though her to be the one to initiate discussions about intimacy?

        I don’t think so. It’s odd that, after 4 months together, he hasn’t made a move. It’s bothered her enough that she wrote in to Evan. She’s needs to find out what’s really going on.

  2. 2

    Completely agree with Lisa; I had the same thoughts. There are too many other possibilities to assume what this man means by “outside [one’s] comfort zone” and you can’t conclude ED with further communication.

  3. 3

    *without* further communication

  4. 4

    “Lack of communication skills” is the key here, well said by Evan.

    As an aside, and I know this isn’t the topic but since mentioned in Evan’s reply, IN GENERAL, if SHE doesn’t have a problem with no sex for X number of months and HE doesn’t have a problem with no sex for X number of months, then it isn’t a problem!

    Again, not necessarily referring to above situation, too many unknowns and guessing isn’t good.

  5. 5

    I realize this is far fetched for some, but maybe he is spiritual and wants to abstain until he’s married.   It happens.

  6. 6

    I agree with Lisa.   The red flag that sticks out to me is what he said in his profile “a woman who can leave her comfort zone”.   That could mean an assorted number of things………

    I would never assume impotence either.

  7. 7

    The lady is in the friend zone. The guy is not attracted to her but still appreciates her as a friend. It is not surprising that a man does not want to have sex with a 57-year-old woman.

    1. 7.1

      Disgusting. I’m surprised your comment got through the moderator.

      1. 7.1.1

        Evan doesn’t like manipulating the opinions of the readers. So as long as a person does not personally attack someone he allows it through so that we can see the views of all men and women out there in the world.


        It doesn’t mean that he or anyone working for him, nor any of his regular commenters endorse those views.

      2. 7.1.2

        Thank you, Rachel! I’m older than 57 and haven’t run into “lack of interest” since re-entering the dating field. At all.

        I’m spittin’…

    2. 7.2

      We have a woman here who believes her boyfriend might be impotent and instead of running for the hills, she’s asking for advice on how to bring up the subject in an attempt not to offend or embarrass him. Sounds like a high quality lady by anyone’s standards. Yet you have the nerve to comment on her age! I wish men like you had a flashing sign on their foreheads.

    3. 7.3
      Elly Klein

      Theo, it’s clear you have some serious issues. Either  you  believe 57yr-old women have no sexual value, or  you’re  intentionally stirring up trouble because  you’re so incredibly desperate for attention, or both.  I feel sad for you.  I hope  you get  some professional help.

    4. 7.4

      RE:    It is not surprising that a man does not want to have sex with a 57-year-old woman.

      This actually made me laugh out loud- life has a surprising way of turning things around.   There may come a day, Mr. Theo, when you may be BEGGING to have sex with a 57 YO woman…..yes, indeed.

      1. 7.4.1


        Oh yes, people who express dismay and disgust at the changes aging brings to other people seem blissfully unaware that they are aging themselves.

  8. 8

    Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone….. Not that celebrity status is important, but just in case anyone doubts you can be HOT at 57…. its not the age, its the attitude….

  9. 9

    I almost want to ask where the writer lives; this sounds exactly like someone I dated. This person had been through extreme trauma and either emotionally or physically incapable of an erection. The other possibility is that he just isn’t into you but values the attention. Men do get hard from cuddling, even during one good hug.   Three things you could do:

    don the big girl pants and ask

    accept the situation as is

    find someone else


  10. 10
    Not Jerry

    Communication problem is right.
    The guy just might need a viagra.
    Or it could be a much deeper problem.
    Find out the truth soon.

  11. 11

    First off I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say I probably have more first hand experience with this topic than most on here. I’ve written about it a bit in a couple of other threads I remember. I’ll be 57 in November. Some men of any age might be on medication that affects testosterone levels that can lead to ED (erectile dysfunction). Dysfunction in and of itself is not impotence it just means doesn’t function perfectly. Others it may have nothing to do with that at all. Just because a guy of any age but especially 55 doesn’t get hard during a make out session doesn’t mean he’s impotent Deb.


    In my case I started taking Propecia (Finesteride) for male pattern baldness when it came out in 1996/7. I was 37 then. It didn’t affect my testosterone levels enough at that age to affect my performance at all. As I got older and like a normal male my levels went down I noticed when I was with a woman and might feel a bit more nervous or anxious it became more difficult to get excited/hard but NOT when I was masturbating totally relaxed with no pressure. 15 yrs later many men that had been on  Propecia for an extended period of time had the same side effects and many more to the point where there’s a class action suit going on now. I started taking Viagra at about 44 to combat it and have been taking it ever since when I’m with a woman. I never need it when I’m alone because there’s no pressure no anxiety. Now when I’m making out usually before I’ve been fully sexual with someone I’m conscious of it and sometimes I get up and sometimes I don’t depending on many factors but I never go into “the stadium”(sex/intercourse) anymore without the little blue football but I don’t take it just to make out.  It’s worked fine for years to the point where I never even had to mention it to a woman. I was like Popeye taking spinach. It works wonders  and has never failed.  Lately, and in my last relationship I found Viagra causing penile numbness to the point of being hard for a long time but not being able to come all the time. It was frustrating for both of us so I told her the whole story and she was fine with it. So it’s not a perfect drug but better than the alternative. You have to give it a good hour to kick in etc…..Not knowing his exact circumstances I think  Deb should bring it up gently saying that your friends husband etc…. and then tell him my story to gauge his reaction. I don’t mind talking about it with women now after a glass of wine or 2 . Of course I’ve never waited 4 months to have sex and no woman has ever asked me why I’m not rock hard during a make out session like I was at 24 either….lol Oh and Theo……. there’s attractive and unattractive 57 yr. old women just like there’s attractive and unattractive 27 yr. old women. You’ll understand that when you’re my age.


    1. 11.1


      Thanks!   Your information on the effects of Propecia on testosterone levels provided an Aha! moment for me.

      When I was 36 I began dating a man that was 11 1/2 years older than me.   When the time came and we became intimate, I noticed that it took longer for him to get fully erect and that he had a much longer refractory i.e. downtime period than I was used to from previous boyfriends who were typically the same age as me.   I talked about it with a woman friend of mine who was long married and in her late 50’s.   Basically she told me that “things change” as a man ages and that my boyfriend likely needed more direct stimulation to get erect.   She suspected that because he was on medication for high blood pressure that that could be a contributing factor.

      Just a side note here:   While it took a little more time and (sometimes creative) effort on my part to get him fully erect, this was some of the best sex that I ever had.   Especially compared to my 20’s!   There was plenty of foreplay and no mad rush to get to “the main event.”   In fact, intercourse became one of the items in the smorgasbord and not just the main dish.

      Anyways, about a month after we started having sex, I was at his place and needed ibuprofen for a wine-the-night-before-induced headache.   He told me to look in the medicine cabinet in his bathroom.   There was a bottle of Viagra right next to the ibuprofen, his bp med, and a bottle of Propecia. (Things make more sense now!)   He had just gotten the Viagra prescription (I asked him about it) and had used it the previous night for the first time.   I honestly didn’t notice a difference between the previous sex and that one night when he used Viagra but I didn’t know about it.   After that, I paid more attention and he did get erect faster and consistently stayed harder.   For me, I wouldn’t necessarily say the sexual experience improved for me.   But for my boyfriend he said it gave him peace of mind that things were going to work when he wanted them too.

    1. 12.1

      Every man over 50 doesn’t think like the man that women encountered. Although men are by and large visual creatures there’s many different things that we may find attractive or unattractive  about a woman of any age. The thing that is wrong with this man was that he chose to be very immature and callous.  He obviously didn’t care about her. He certainly didn’t need to verbalize his thoughts and hurt someone like that with his words. She’s well rid of him. I’m sure his body is perfect at 55? It would be no different if a younger woman said the same things to me  about my body or just as bad  if I had told her my plight “well you need pharmaceutical help just to perform so that’s unattractive to me”.   Sometimes a little white lie to spare someone’s feelings goes a long way.

  12. 13

    Dated one man aged 57 who would get very excited but not hard.   Dated 2 40′ s with diabetes and nothing got them hard, not even oral.

  13. 14

    Thank you all!!! As a 59 yr old … who has dated the EMK way (love those bases) with a 50 yr old with PE, 62 yr old who would not kiss me and a 65 yr old survivor of prostate cancer ( surgery)

    I was baffled on a few levels and felt I was unique in these sexual challenges to full intimacy!! Did not know where to turn to get answers or have a light shine on the topic(s) as most of my friends are long married and may be experience ED issues but not my 3 learning experiences. Only 1 man was able to bring the elephant out. We had a lot of fun, smile.   The other’s chose the ‘accept me as I am’ approach ‘I am not doing anything about my issues’ which were answers in themselves.

    Thank you for sharing and shining a light everyone and as always, Evan, you keep me true to self and a golden relationship… Compassionate communication with self and with my boy friend …   The gentleman with prostate surgery was upfront, honest, explained to me the ramifications of choosing to live or have intercourse.   Once we got to second base he made a Home Run with me by sharing his medical history and as an aside… I felt that he  respected me and complimented me in this intimate sharing.   A  true brave boyfriend!

    PS- the bases can bring out sexual communication in a natural way as EMK has shared. Where there is sensual imagination and exploration – intercourse is not always the end all, be all.   Cheers!!!


  14. 15

    I was in a 3.5 year relationship with a man with ED (Erectile Dysfunction); we only had sex a handful of times but I loved him deeply and just assumed it would sort itself out. How wrong I was….I’m in the medical field so openly talking about ED was no big deal to me, I was patient, understanding, didn’t press him too much as he was so embarrassed but in the end after 3 years of no intimacy it destroyed my self esteem and our relationship. He acknowledged the problem but refused to see his GP (a shot of testosterone and viagra would have helped get his mojo back).

    Evan is correct in that communication is the key and regardless of this mans issues, if he won’t communicate then I’d be walking away. As harsh as that sounds, life is too short to not be in love and experience deep intimacy whatever your age is, it is the tie that binds. After 4 months of cuddling there should be some movement in his trousers, after a few dates there should be….

    You don’t go online dating to meet a ‘friend’, you do it to meet someone you can fall in love with and with that comes the entire package of love, trust, communication, companionship and intimacy.

    My advice is to openly talk about the lack of intimacy, make it clear you are attracted to him and you want to take your relationship to the next level….be gentle and let him know together you can work any issues out but don’t be fooled into thinking he will do anything about it and don’t be fooled in thinking that you can accept a life of no intimacy. At only 57 you have years ahead of enjoying great sex, don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. I’m 43 by the way and have recently met an amazing man who feels the same way about intimacy, it is the tie that binds! Good luck



  15. 16

    I agree with diane, be frank with him but compassionate. I was dating someone for 5 years and i can count on 2 hands the amount of times we had sex and never to complete fruition either. I was confident in myself and my body but it slowly eroded (as well as other things going off in the relationship). I felt unattractive, unwomanly. He did get viagra but it was very mechanical lovemaking. He also didnt tell me initially about the E.D. i do feel he led me into the relationship falsely. The lack of communication was shocking. I tried to understand, i was ok we can try another time or try something else without fixating on the deed as such. i tried everything. He got defensive alot. I got sad alot, i wanted to help and be there for him, but he was in his own self pity bubble. I asked if he fancied me he said yes, he said he read up and said he was demisexual, he was looking for excuses tbh, i thought ok if hes demisexual surely after having a closeish relationship for 5 years we can be intimate, it didnt add up. id say just be frank, you also have a right to voice how it affects your self esteem but always listen to his concerns and take it slow, but from me, dont take as long as i did trying to ‘help’ him. i ended up 5 years down the line with no sex, no intimacy and a ‘brother’.

  16. 17
    Ruby Perez

    I read this blog… I totally agree with lisa. I had the same thoughts.it’s a very useful for me… Some men of any age might be on medication that affects testosterone levels that can lead to ED (erectile dysfunction). ??

  17. 18
    Abby sandel

    it’s clear you have some serious issues.This actually made me laugh out loud- life has a surprising way of turning things around.

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