My partner can't stay erect long enough for us to consummate our relationship

My 70-year-old loving partner of eight months is unable to ejaculate despite my best efforts. He’s unable to hold his erection for long, and thus we have been unable to consummate our relationship. Despite this, we have a pretty fulfilling sex life, as we are still very interested in each other and he’s extremely considerate to my needs, which gives him great pleasure. I would very much wish to reciprocate. We are able to talk, although I do not labour the point, because I do not wish to make him anxious as this would only exacerbate the situation. He tells me he has been on medication for clinical depression in the past, and may need to resort to that again if he needs it. He also has type 2 diabetes for which he takes medication. I believe he talked to his GP about Viagra, but it was not recommended. Is there anything we could do to improve the situation? I am not expecting miracles – we are nevertheless enjoying a wonderful late loving relationship.

Unfortunately, many types of medication can lead to problems with sexual desire, arousal or orgasm, including medications for diabetes and depression. The good news is that physicians are often able to help a patient who is experiencing sexual side-effects to switch medication to another that suits him better. Your partner should consult his physician, and not allow himself to be discouraged or put off. Sometimes, the need for sexual proficiency by a septuagenarian is not as well respected as it should be. He must be clear that sex is important to him and you – and insist on having attention paid to his sexual needs. Having said that – as you have thankfully discovered – good sex and thrilling eroticism do not rely on the penile mechanics. And as you also know, it would be unwise to put undue pressure on him.

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• Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

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