Handling a VERY Delicate and Sensitive Matter with Respect – a Husband’s Impotence


There are a variety of factors that can contribute to sexual dysfunction or performance issues in men.

  • Sometimes there can be side effects from medications (blood pressure pills, anti-depressants, prostate treatments – it is not safe to stop some of these medicines quickly, please check with a Dr before stopping blood pressure rxs or anti-depressants!).  Some illegal drugs can also cause sexual dysfunction.
  • Sometimes there just are times when things don’t work properly on occasion – that is not too unusual.  If a man is really upset, afraid, anxious, angry, feeling extremely guilty, feeling very disrespected by his wife or feeling pressured – his thoughts can affect his ability to perform sexually.
  • Sometimes erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a sign of another disease like diabetes, heart problems, Parkinson’s or neurological disorders.
  • There are risk factors like obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol and stress that can negatively impact a man’s sexual abilities.
  • Prostate problems or low testosterone levels can trigger impotence issues.
  • Depression can worsen ED.
  • A pornography addiction can dramatically impact a man’s sexual performance with his flesh and blood wife.

If a man has problems getting or maintaining an erection – as a pharmacist, I would strongly urge him to see his doctor.  I know it is the last thing any man on the planet wants to see a doctor about.  So – it is SUPER CRITICAL that wives not nag or shame or lecture their husbands about this.  It is going to take extreme sensitivity on a wife’s part to handle this kind of thing respectfully.

It is important to rule out medical problems that may be causing these symptoms.  And there are ways to treat ED today – what wonderful news!  A couple’s sex life does not have to end.  Men can get real help and usually can enjoy very satisfying sexual relations again with their wives.  I have seen many couples find the right treatment and have great results.


  • medications (albeit – very expensive ones) – Cialis, Viagra, Levitra as well as penile injections and suppositories
  • life style changes (stop smoking, avoid alcohol, get exercise, get enough sleep, limit stress)
  • a Mediterranean diet may be helpful.
  • devices – vacuum erection devices
  • surgery
  • there are MANY supplements that claim to work on erectile dysfunction – but some of these actually contain dangerous ingredients and contaminants – so I do not personally recommend them as a pharmacist.  But you can talk to your own pharmacist or medical doctor about them if you would like to.

The most important thing in this article to me is –

How are we as wives going to handle this very difficult situation for our husbands?

I don’t think it is possible to overstate how sensitive this issue is for most men.

Erectile dysfunction can be extremely emotionally painful for our men.  Sexual performance problems are probably some of the MOST greatly feared issues among men.  This is the very center of their sense of physical manhood.  I want us to show the same sensitivity, compassion, empathy and understanding as we would want from our husbands if we had to face a mastectomy or hysterectomy or even possibly a miscarriage.

Yes – it is THAT big of a deal for many husbands.

Most of us will need to be prepared to deal with this issue at some point.  If we haven’t yet – we probably will in the future.


There is probably no other area where a wife has the potential to wound her husband more deeply by her disrespect or cutting words than about his sexuality or any “failures” on his part sexually.

Some wives choose to heap all sorts of complaints, insults and accusations against their husbands if they find out their husband has issues with ED.  Please understand – if you say and do these kinds of things to your man when the real problem is erectile dysfunction – you are wounding him to the very core of his masculinity and manhood.  He may never recover from your criticism, insults and teasing about this issue.  He may never feel safe to open up to you sexually or emotionally or spiritually again if you are disrespectful or insensitive to him about this.

  • What’s wrong with you?  You don’t love me anymore?
  • You must be having an affair!  THAT’s why you don’t want to/can’t make love to me.
  • If you really loved me, you’d have sex with me!
  • What kind of man are you if you can’t even keep an erection?
  • Great!  So – what –  you aren’t going to be able to have sex with me anymore?  That’s just GREAT.
  • You need to go get Viagra.  You’re going to the doctor tomorrow.  I’m not putting up with THIS!  I have needs.
  • I need to get my needs met.  If you can’t meet my needs, I’ll find a man who can.
  • You’re pathetic.  Why would I want to even try to have sex with you like this?

These kind of words will absolutely crush and destroy our men.   It is our job to do our husbands GOOD not evil, all the days of our lives as godly wives.

I’d REALLY like for us as wives not to take our husband’s impotence personally – or assume that our husbands are intentionally doing this to us.  Many times, the causes are beyond a man’s control.  

How I long for us to give grace, to be a safe place for our men to talk about what is happening.

I don’t believe it is wise to:

  • give directives – “you should” “you must” “you better”
  • threaten – “if you don’t fix this, I’m going to find a man who can meet my needs.”  THAT is NOT the love of God!  Let’s commit to honor our marriage covenants no matter what happens!
  • insult our men and degrade them or make fun of them for this issue that they may have no control over
  • demand that our husband see a doctor
  • nag him about this or any issue
  • tease and make fun of him
  • tell other people – our friends, our family, people on facebook…  That would be one of the most extreme kinds of disrespect a wife could possibly level against her husband.


I’d love to see a wife:

  • appreciate the severity and extreme sensitivity of this issue for a man.
  • be extremely careful about what she does and does not say, her facial expressions, her body language and her tone of voice about this subject.
  • be supportive, positive, optimistic and encouraging.
  • appreciate any efforts he makes to work on this issue.
  • extend mercy, compassion and GRACE.
  • not make a big deal out of the situation.
  • tell him she is on his team.  She loves him no matter what.
  • assure him that he is not “less of a man” in her eyes – and that these kinds of problems are actually pretty normal.
  • encourage him very gently that there is help available.
  • let him know calmly, “My biggest concern is your health, Honey.  I’d really like us to be sure that you are ok. I want you to go see your doctor, please. I’d like you to be around for a LONG time!”
  • say sincere, reassuring, affirming things about her husband’s manhood.
  • be sure her husband’s needs are being met and that he feels secure in the marriage.
  • make sure he knows she is with him and on his team no matter what.
  • focus on pleasure more than climax – if he is willing.
  • make sure he knows she is delighted and content to be his wife.
  • let him know, “I’m totally behind you.  I’ll do everything I can to support you as we learn about things we might be able to do.”
  • not try to force him to go to the doctor.  But be willing to go with him or be willing to support him going by himself if he is willing to go.
  • NOT share with others in our families or spheres of influence about our husband’s problems.
  • be willing to listen to anything he wants to share about his struggle – and be a safe place for him to verbalize his frustrations, sadness, anger or fear.

You may have some mourning or grieving to do – but this is thankfully, not usually an irreversible situation.  A husband’s impotence can be a strain on a wife and a marriage – just as much as it is on a husband.  Please check out godly resources that are available to support you in this time.


Please don’t give in to porn or the attention of other men.  Stay CLOSE to God and filled up with His Spirit so that you can respond in His power and not give in to temptation but be faithful to your marriage covenant, your husband and Christ.


A link to webmd’s posts about erectile dysfunction (ED)

Webmd – A Woman’s Guide to ED

My posts about sex


If you who would like to share with others ways you have discovered that are beneficial to address this delicate issue, please leave a comment.  You don’t have to leave your name. All comments will be moderated before they will be posted.  I will only be posting comments that are respectful, godly and helpful for other wives who are facing this situation in their marriage or to help prepare them for how to handle a husband’s difficulties with ED in the future.