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How do I get my boyfriend to get Viagra or something
February 25, 2012 9:06 AM   Subscribe

How do I convince my boyfriend to get help for ED?

My boyfriend is 26; I am a 21yo girl. We have been dating for about a year and a half. Over the past two months, we have had sex maybe four times. He is depressed, and also has some old medical issues that cause him some pain during sex (no, he won't see a dr about that either). He has bad insurance (but he has insurance) and hasn't gone to see a doctor. This situation has happened before but eventually he got back to normal. It wasn't this long though. I am frustrated and sad and also my sex drive is really suffering. I know there are other things to do but I really want to have sex, and it is making me really unhappy not to have sex. I can't tell him that without making him feel bad, though, and that makes it harder to have sex...and basically I am miserable but not saying anything about it and he is miserable (I assume??) and hoping I don't say anything about it. I really just want to have normal sex with my boyfriend and not have it be this big deal. I worry that this issue is starting to become loaded in my mind, because it is also very frustrating for me that he won't take action in other areas in his life (he is jobless but won't apply for retail jobs for example even though there are plenty in our area, or even temp jobs) (and he won't see a doctor for his depression). And I don't want that to happen. We are both happier when our sex life is regular. (Also I am getting resentful - because I feel like he is doing this while knowing I am unhappy - and feeling unattractive, because he says this didn't happen with his other girlfriends.) Help?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It occurs to me that you two sound like you don't communicate much if you're assuming how he feels; sit down and talk about the range of issues relating to his depression and how they affect you.

If that doesn't work, you should really consider whether you want to stay with a partner who is jobless and disinterested in getting available jobs and not satisfying your needs.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:14 AM on February 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


You have to say something about it. If he can't have the conversation, let alone take concrete steps to resolve these problems, then you should break up with him. The damage to this sad, incomplete relationship can be repaired but only if you both work on it together.

There is nothing you can do by yourself in this relationship but end it. If your BF isn't willing to do something to improve the relationship then it's over. This means you will have to end the relationship if he continues to not address his problems that are hurting you. It may be a hard conversation to have, but you should have it, tell him that he must address the significant problems in your relationship or it will have to end.

Of course, you could just continue to suffer and be miserable if that is what you are most comfortable with.
posted by fuq at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think ED is what you need to convince him to get treatment for. In fact, he may not have ED. This could be a symptom of depression and anxiety. Try to get him to therapy.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:16 AM on February 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


You are making a lot of assumptions without actually talking to your boyfriend. Maybe you should start there? It's also highly likely that his problem isn't actually ED.
posted by sm1tten at 9:31 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it possible he has a porn addiction and is masturbating so much there's nothing left for you?

Talk to him.
posted by jayder at 9:51 AM on February 25, 2012


I think treating the depression takes precedence over treating any libido issues, because overall depression is a much more severe ailment, affecting all areas of life.

The unfortunate thing though is that antidepressants really dampen the libido, so even if he gets better depression-wise, and becomes happily employed, he still might not be able to provide for you sexually. On the other hand, if he's not depressed, he might be more willing to find alternative ways to keep you happy.
posted by Hither at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2012


You need to sit him down and tell him everything that you just told us here (ED and otherwise). You don't need to be mean, but don't sugarcoat it, either. From what I read, this sounds like zero-hour for the relationship. I think you need to tell him that these issues are potential deal-breakers for you, and that while you are more than willing to be patient and help him through them, you need to at least know that he is trying to handle his problems.
posted by Nightman at 10:32 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would he be willing to see a primary care doctor for a check-up? He could bring up his back problems and other issues.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:43 AM on February 25, 2012


Does he do self-checks for testicular cancer? He is at exactly the right age for it to hit.
It worries me that he's having pain during sex - that is usually a "go to the doctor" kind of signal.

(I agree about depression and whatnot, and he should get a regular checkup too. In many doctors' offices, if you think he will not tell the doctor about his symptoms, you could go with him and give the doctor a note saying "he's having depression symptoms and xyz, please ask him about these things". Don't know how that would go over within your relationship. It's something my doctor's office takes routinely from spouses about each other - one of the practitioners even does joint couple checkups for exactly this reason, that people are sometimes too reticent about their own symptoms but they notice their partner's symptoms.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2012


Hey 21 year old OP? Dump this guy. Yes, just go ahead and dump him. There's nothing for you here.

When I was 21 I also had a boyfriend who was depressed and refused to seek treatment for it - he made it this challenge for the people around him, like "if you love me, you'll love me the way I truly am, not some artificially cheered-up-by-medication version." I had low self esteem and put up with this for about a year. It's a year I mourn, even now - I should have been having awesome adventures, not moping around with some sad sack I owed nothing to. Don't waste your 21st year. Go have fun, either with a different boyfriend or single. Hanging around for ED and depression is for people who don't have other options. You have plenty. Go.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:17 PM on February 25, 2012 [15 favorites]


I can't tell him that without making him feel bad, though, and that makes it harder to have sex

You're gonna have to make him feel bad. It's the only way.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:50 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


If he's unwilling to find out what's wrong with him, you're going to need another guy. 26 is pretty young for a guy to have performance issues without other significant medical issues, unless he's a heavy user of recreational pharmaceuticals.

Nothing is more dreadful than being the horny person in a relationship where your partner won't meet you half way. Sex twice a month is halfway if you have toddlers together or you're both 40 years older than you actually are. It's devastating when the target of your lust doesn't seem to want to do anything back to you. It makes you feel unwanted and sometimes it makes you feel like you have a one-track mind, like all you care about is getting naked and sweaty.

You're young. Other guys out there care enough about themselves and you to provide you with the kind of relationship you want. Find one that thinks you're absolutely sweltering hot, who can't wait to pound you into panting, sweaty bliss. You're just too young to be this hard up.
posted by phoebus at 1:24 PM on February 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


It sounds to me more like depression than ED, but those two can go hand-in-hand (ED triggers depression, depression triggers ED, vicious vicious cycle, repeat).

Anyways, as someone who went through medically-caused ED with an ex (he was young, too - 34 at the time) ... it's really hard. Especially when you know that it's not your fault, not his fault (although how he chooses to handle it [ie, seek medical advice, work out, eat better, etc] IS within his control) ... ACK! No one's fault! Not fair!

So: control what YOU can control. YOU cannot fix his body. YOU cannot fix his depression. You CAN be there for him, if you choose to, but ultimately, this is HIS burden.

[I am concerned that after a year and a half together, he is making these, albeit private decisions, alone. If he saw the two of you as a unit, he would ask for your help and work towards a future. ALSO: he would get a job.]

What helped me? Recognizing that I was a sexual being (TMI, but porn. Self-pleasure. Honestly, it helped to stop denying my needs). Joining support groups for sexless marriages. Recognizing that there are other really, really great things about him/our relationship that weren't about sex. Telling him about my feelings, BECAUSE MY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS MATTER TOO, despite knowing it might make him feel bad. Keeping communication open.

But, cautionary tale: we did not succeed. Because, really, when you take the sex out of a relationship, what do you have left? Friendship. Great, awesome, still-friends-to-this-day friendship, but just friendship. Probably more my doing, too; once I lost that lust for him (which took a loooong time, more than a year) it never really came back.
posted by athena2255 at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2012


Tell him you're concerned about his depression because it's weighing on him and affecting how he lives. It's affecting your relationship. Offer to help and support him in getting professional help.

When a person is depressed, they tend to think that nothing will help them. They get anxious about the possible downside of seeking treatment: cost, difficulty finding the right therapist, fear of side effects from medication, etc. It's normal, so persever if he voices objections and doubts.

The best way to talk about the lack of sex is just as you began in your post. "I'm frustrated and sad." It's a perfect "I message," in terms of active listening methods. You're talking about how the situation is affecting you emotionally, and that's compelling without being accusatory. It opens the door for "How can we move forward?"

Resentment is almost guaranteed when you don't say how you're feeling and you're thinking that the other person can or should guess. When you feel resentful, ask yourself how you can express how you feel, and what you want and need. It can be very hard at first, especially if directly confronting problems isn't a strong suit in your own family. Do a search for "active listening" or "listening skills." They can sound odd when you read about them, but they really do work.
posted by wryly at 2:29 PM on February 25, 2012


Hey 21 year old OP? Dump this guy. Yes, just go ahead and dump him. There's nothing for you here.

When I was 21 I also had a boyfriend who was depressed and refused to seek treatment for it - he made it this challenge for the people around him, like "if you love me, you'll love me the way I truly am, not some artificially cheered-up-by-medication version."


Like fingersandtoes, I did something similar around the same age (23), but me, I'm tenacious, and I hung around 20 years. Huge mistake. Really. Honestly, you can't fix people and you can't change them. You can't fix them. I think you need to let him know you're on the verge of walking, and then, please, please, please follow through. If you're hesitant to do this, imagine the alternative. You hang around waiting for him to do something about his health issues, feeling guilty for having needs, feeling unwanted and undesirable. Just how long can you do that for (don't try and top my 20, there's no winners there).

It's hard to leave at 21. It's harder to leave the longer you stay.

You can't fix people and you can't change them.
posted by b33j at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he had been open to seeking treatment, I would have had a different answer.
posted by b33j at 3:42 PM on February 25, 2012


I, too, say go. Maybe your leaving will be the catalyst he needs to start taking some responsibility for his health and well-being.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 5:37 PM on February 25, 2012


The unfortunate thing though is that antidepressants really dampen the libido, so even if he gets better depression-wise, and becomes happily employed, he still might not be able to provide for you sexually.

Not all antidepressants have this effect. If he specifically tells his doc "I'm having erection problems and I don't want to take something that'll make that worse," they'll quite likely be willing to try him on one of the non-libido-killing ones.

That is, if this is depression at all. Crappy moods and low libido can also be symptoms of other treatable medical problems (low testosterone, out-of-whack thyroid, various metabolic weirdnesses...) for which the solution doesn't even involve antidepressants in the first place.

Dude really needs to see a doctor. If he's willing to be honest with his doc, there's no reason he can't get his sexual problems and his mental health problems sorted out. But, like others are saying upthread, that's up to him. If he's unwilling to do that...
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:22 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you realize that in your mind, it's okay for him to make choices that make you miserable, but it's not okay for you to start a discussion that might make him unhappy?

Do you think that is okay? Do you thinks it's okay for him to ignore his medical issues?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:54 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


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