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Why This Relation-ship Is Foundering

A wife has discovered that her husband's past is now haunting her: his ex thoroughly trained him out of sustaining an erection long enough to satisfy her. She's done what she can by herself, but it hasn't solved the problem. Now she wants to know if there is anything else she can do. What's going on? Read on, get the facts, and find out what you can do if this couple's problem sounds familiar.

Case #: 789


My husband and I have been married for less than a few weeks. Before we became husband and wife, he was married for 17 years. As he told me, he rarely had sex with his ex-wife. He went months without so much as kissing her. Even when they did have sex, she wanted him to orgasm as fast as possible. Now, his sex life with his previous partner has had ineffectual side effects on our romance. Each time during sex, he manages to gain an erection, but he cannot keep it longer than 5 minutes. I try my best to keep him well stimulated, but all my advances fail. Is it me? Can medication help or? Or can all-natural products be of assistance?


It's as easy to train someone, or yourself, into inappropriate or unhealthy behavior patterns as socially-responsible ones. Easier, in many cases, like getting out of the habit of using your turn signal when driving, or always putting too much salt in your food. Perhaps the saddest examples arise in the bedroom, because most of us don't get anything like the training necessary to truly create the best experiences for our lovers and ourselves. It's bad enough when both partners are relatively even in terms of inexperience and pre-conceived notions, but when one partner is emotionally dominant (like your husband's ex) and never relinquishes that role for the span of the relationship, the other partner (i.e., your now-husband) becomes warped into fitting that partner's expectations. This is unhealthy on its own, but now that he's married to you and has lost the knack for learning a different way to act in the bedroom, the dangers of such a pattern become quite clear.

To address the problem, you must accept that the problem is in both his head and the rest of his body.

In The Control Room

Your husband spent all those years experiencing unsatisfying intimacy on his ex's terms. She trained him to perform to her expectations at the expense of training him out of responding to his own needs. Further, because he's so used to her direction, he has difficulty in figuring out your signals. Your attempts to maintain his stimulation are admirable, but your reassurances only address part of the problem. On top of that, it's also reasonable to assume that he faces the perfectly normal effects of aging on his brain; specifically, decreased production of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is one of the key biochemicals that control erections.

In The Engine Room

Your husband's neural pathways have been deeply influenced by his previous experiences, and his genitals have also been affected. His parasympathetic neural network has been damaged through abuse and age, leaving him with the equivalent of a bad phone-line connection between his brain and the various organs that activate and maintain erections. In addition to the poor emotional treatment he received at her hands during actual intercourse, it's a reasonable guess that he masturbated often in between, which has lead to several problems like a hormonal imbalance, weakened liver function to filter out the excess hormones and other waste products, and so on.

To Dry Dock For Repairs

Your emotional support of your husband during this troubled part of your relationship is the most important part of getting past it. It's also quite personal, so we'll leave that part to the two of you (and your therapist, if any) and concentrate on helping you help him with the “easier” part: repairing the physical damage to his genitals. If he's masturbating at all, he should decrease it as much as possible. The goal is to go completely without for three solid weeks, but reassure him that any reduction to about two or three times per week or less will help. This gives his body the time it needs to start repairing and re-stocking its onboard supplies.

Another important step will be to help him improve his diet. Specifically to eat more fresh cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli (to help re-balance his testosterone levels), more nuts (especially pine nuts and pumpkin seeds), and more foods rich in zinc and B-complex, such as tofu, eggs and whole grains. There are thousands of cookbooks and possibly hundreds of thousands of recipes you can explore.

Next, he should investigate an exercise regimen that he can perform at least three times a week but no more than four, with at least a day of rest in between each session. This will help boost his testosterone levels as well as his general physical condition, and therefore his self-confidence.

Aside from keeping his health-care provider informed of his symptoms and how the two of you are addressing them, you might also consider encouraging him to use an all-natural herbal supplement designed specifically to help repair the damage to his body that causes his erections to lose their potency so quickly.

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