Wanda (not her real name), a fifty-year old woman, told me during a routine visit that she and her husband were not sexually active. She blamed social media for this. In the past month, they only had sex once and he had difficulty attaining and maintaining an erection (the textbook definition of erectile dysfunction). Wanda also confessed that although her husband refused to accept her multiple friend requests on Facebook, she had good reason to suspect he was communicating with other women.
Wanda sent this message to several women: “Dear [so and so], you are a home wrecker; my husband is not a good catch and there are plenty of other fish in the sea.” She laughed when she said, “Little did those women know what my husband is really like.” Her husband was overweight, had high blood pressure, was depressed and rather unhealthy.
Wanda believed that her husband’s erectile dysfunction issues were related to the one hundred pounds he had gained over the past few years eating candy and sweets after having quit smoking. This may have contributed to his erectile dysfunction, however, decreased psychological arousal, excess masturbation and/or low testosterone levels are also causes of erectile dysfunction. In addition, high blood pressure and poorly regulated blood sugar may damage nerves and small blood vessels that control erections that allow blood to flow to the penis. There is a biochemical component to depression that may make it difficult for men to attain and maintain an erection as well.
Desperate to save her marriage, Wanda wondered what she could do to help her “whale of a man.” It may help her husband if she gave him some tools to help himself, but the rest was up to him.
Here are a few tips:
- Walking 30 minutes each day is as good for mild to moderate depression as any antidepressant
- Losing weight may help lower his blood pressure and increase blood flow
- Following a healthy diet rich in foods that increase blood flow (such as foods that contain zinc, like dark green vegetables) may help as well.
- Consuming Omega-3 Fatty Acid foods (like fish, flaxseed and walnuts) are essential to controlling blood pressure
- Watermelon contains lycopene, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow (it works like the little blue pill, minus the side effects of headache, flushing, and upset stomach to name a few)
Talking to her husband about addiction and how he may have replaced one (smoking) with another, (the internet) may be a conversation worth having. It would be important for Wanda to talk to her husband about how his recent activities were negatively impacting their relationship. Wanda might have to release her fish as he needed to help himself and accept responsibility for his actions.
Wanda needs to keep healthy boundaries and take good care of herself so that if and when her husband reached out to her for help, she could provide stable assistance. In the end however, it is up to her husband as to whether or not he would sink or swim back to the bedroom with his fish named Wanda.