Opinion piece: Myths surrounding the investigation and treatment of erectile dysfunction (Part 2)

Does the partner need to be involved in the ED treatment plan?
We have all heard the story of the spouse who, after her husband receives a sildenafil prescription, complains to her physician, “I liked him better when he was impotent … he tried harder. Now he gets his erection and wants to use it right away.”
While this scenario is entirely believable, does it suggest that we should always ask for the partner to be present for at least one of the office visits? In my clinical experience, most partners prefer to stay at home and not become intimately involved in the assessment and treatment plans. This is despite the fact that the partner can provide significant knowledge to the treating physician on the functional status of the penis in question and will be affected by the success of the treatment. My experience is not unique and, in fact, similar observations have been published in the past few years.
In one example, Lee et al examined the attitudes of patients and their partners toward joint sessions and psychological counselling as a means of treating ED. After an initial consultation (conducted at the Human Sexuality Clinic, Kingston, Ontario, 100 consecutive patients were asked to return with their partners. Sixty per cent did not return with their partners. Of the partners who did participate, the general attitude was that the patients’ ED difficulties were the patients’ problem, not the partners’. The partner’s attitude was often one of indifference or a preference for no further sexual intercourse.

This entry was posted in Erectile dysfunction and tagged , .