Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

How Erectile Dysfunction Affects Women

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that affects most men at some point in their life, but despite being so common, it remains a taboo subject. The effects of sexual dysfunction on the men who experience it have been well documented, but how does it impact their female partners?

The female partners’ perspective

A third of the 2,000 British women surveyed in a recent 2021 study said their partner had experienced erectile dysfunction at least once during sexual activity. [1] An overwhelming majority of female partners (82%) said it shouldn’t be a taboo subject and ought to be talked about more openly. However, less than half of the women surveyed said they’d feel comfortable talking about erectile dysfunction with their partners, with a majority claiming that their partners would feel just as uncomfortable talking about it with them.

Self confidence, mental wellbeing and sexual intimacy

Erectile dysfunction doesn’t just negatively affect the self-confidence of the man, but can also have a damaging impact on the self-esteem of sexual partners. MedExpress’s Dr Clare Morrison says of this impulse: “It’s not uncommon for the female partners of those affected by ED to feel hurt or even angry. The reality is that although ED is perceived primarily as a sexual issue, it can sometimes indicate an undiagnosed physical problem, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or the early stages of heart disease.”

Does the ages of partners make a difference?

When it comes to long-term relationships, again there is a significant difference between the age groups. The younger women surveyed were three times more likely than older women to say that they would consider erectile dysfunction to be a valid reason to end a relationship if it continued to be an issue.

How to prevent erectile dysfunction from affecting your sexual relationship

Dialogue is crucial when it comes to dealing with ED as a couple. Even though it can be an uncomfortable topic, it’s important to remember that it’s something that affects many men at some point in their lives. Don’t be nervous about seeking treatment for problems with sexual function. Viagra and other effective treatments are available.

It’s important to not take the issue personally. ED can be caused by one of a number of factors, be it a physical or psychological issue. It’s certainly not a reflection of one person in the relationship’s sexual desirability. Sex isn’t the only way of being intimate with your significant other or achieving relationship satisfaction, and anxiety surrounding performance will only add to the pressure.

If your partner is looking for effective treatment options for erectile dysfunction, they can find affordable alternatives for medications like Viagra at MedExpress. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual activity, or when aroused. Find out what treatment is suitable for your partner on our website.


  1. Saam. Erectile Dysfunction Statistics, Facts & Figures in the UK in 2021 [Internet]. Pharmacy Direct GB. 2022. Available from:

MedExpress ED Survey

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published June 11 2019, updated June 24 2024