Trying for a baby, IVF and psychological erectile dysfunction

Dear all. I Thought I’d share my experiences for anyone else going through the same thing, what I’ve learnt so far from going through this and how I hope things will get better in the future. Perhaps just reading my experiences will help someone, reading about your experiences will certainly help me.

Me and my partner have been together for over four years and trying for a baby for about 1-2 years but psychological erectile dysfunction has reduced frequency significantly, to about 1-4 times a month, often with long bouts where it just doesn’t work.

I am currently in a very bad period where we haven’t had successful interourse for over a month and each time these bouts happen, my partner becomes more despondent and I certainly suffer a lot. I beat myself up a lot about it and the vicious cycle of performance anxiety starts with catastrophising thoughts. I worry before each sexual encounter that it will happen again and it has done for the lat few months. My partner has got so fed up and despondent that she doesn’t seem to really want to try because she fears the same outcome.

We started down the IVF route a few months ago which in the UK is very expensive when done privately which brings feelings of guilt and shame for “having” to go down this route even though I think we know that our ages mean that our chances of fertility are reduced. My partner is 41.

I have thrown a lot at trying to fix my ED, especially since it seems to occupy so much mental space each day that it prevents me from really enjoying normal things in life. I started paying to see a psychosexual therapist (we are working through issues related to a relentless inner critic) and I am trying to be much more rigorous with regular meditation. That is probably the only thing I can say is beginning to help just ease the intrusiveness of the thoughts, but it’s still not fixed it.

I am trying to keep positive, knowing that I HAVE had erections in the past with the SAME partner so the issue IS all in my head. It is unlikely this will be FOREVER which makes me think… so when will things stop? That is less easy to say!

My partner is very frustrated, she is less good at talking about this stuff, quite introverted and despite what I say, I think she thinks it’s all about her and her age, her looks etc… which it isn’t.

Sex just feels like a chore now which I’ve read is a big passion killer. Porn erections are unaffected so one I always wonder why can’t it work with my partner but that’s just evidence that the issue lies in my head.

One positive way to look at it is to say well I’ve at least identified the problem and now I just have to find a way to deal with it. The problem being that this is psychological!

I’m sure others have been on this side of the tunnel and come out of the other side. I tell myself this a lot. I think that a persistent approach is what is needed. Regular meditation to try and hold back the negative thoughts and inner critic, psychosexual therapy to help discuss progress and issues with a trained professional and trying to generally be a little bit kinder to myself will hopefully eventually yield results.

We may yet try the Masters and Johnson Sensate Focus psychosexual therapy as a couple but we have not got there yet.

Well, my friends, these are my issues. I hope sharing them helps, if you’d like to write back and just unburden, I’m here and I’d love to hear of anyone going through a similar experience and anyone who improved.

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