Black Men Are More Likely to Deal With Erectile Dysfunction—Here’s What to Do About It

Keeping Black Men Healthy: Erectile dysfunction can be an issue for men and their partners. But it can be addressed with improved communication, better overall health and proper medical treatment.

Generic image THINKSTOCK

Since the ability to have a lasting hard erection lies at the core of many men’s identity, challenges to their ability to perform can challenge a man’s sense of self, and the struggle can lead to relationship problems, including bickering at bedtime.

“It may look like the other person started the fight, not them, but the man intentionally provoked his partner” to avoid sex, Wyatt says.

She notes that men’s partners often have unrealistic expectations, pressuring the man to perform on demand or wanting him to get an erection and get it over with—to “do his job” as a man. Contrary to stereotypes, though, men’s bodies don’t work that way.

“Conversation is very important,” says Wyatt. “You have to assess whether your partner can meet your needs under the circumstances that they—not you—are living in.”

A sex therapist—an expert who helps treat sex problems that have no underlying medical cause—can help.

Amazed at Improvement

There are several levels of ED treatment. The first includes lifestyle modifications and optimizing a man’s general health.

For men who smoke, it’s important to stop.

“Either choose cigarettes or choose sex; you can’t have them both,” Hoke says. Men who begin smoking during their teens typically experience sexual-performance problems by their late 30s or early 40s.

Eating fewer fatty foods; shedding a few pounds; going speed walking for half an hour four times a week; and avoiding alcohol, weed and other controlled substances before sex can improve sexual performance.