An unhappy relationship coupled with a demanding partner is another possible source of erection problems. In this case, as in others, separating the erection problem from the relationship is often counterproductive. Marion and Walter, for example, had been married for more than 20 years. It was not a happy relationship. Walter did not turn out to be the ambitious, energetic man Marion had wanted. Faced with conflict, he withdrew. Over the years, Marion had built up a lot of anger over her husband’s “failure,” his lack of responsibility, his unwillingness to participate in family events. But she did not deal with the issues openly. Instead, she took the battles into the bedroom. She compared her husband’s sexual skills with those of her best friend’s spouse, with the expected disastrous results. “Mary’s husband doesn’t have erection problems. But you do!”
The predictable result was that Walter’s erection problems increased, and Marion had something else to be angry about.
This was a no-win situation for both partners, but the erection problem was only a part of a very troubled and unfulfilling marriage. Some people might see Walter’s lack of erection as a way of punishing his wife, or as a logical response to a hostile situation. Feeling under attack, he and his penis withdrew.