We were plagued by erectile dysfunction in our 30s – 6 tips to get your sex life back 0 49

THERE are plenty of ways to describe an erection, but finding the right words is tough when things are not getting as hard as planned down there.

Londonder Xander Gilbert, 33, not only found the right words to talk about it — he and his cousin Angus Barge, 31, from Edinburgh, launched a business helping men struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED).

Olivia WestXander Gilbert (pictured with girlfriend Alice Howood) suffered from erectile dysfunction in his 30s[/caption] Xander and his cousin Angus Barge launched a business to help men who are also suffering from erectile dysfunction

Almost HALF of men have suffered with a form of ED at some point.

And Angus and Xander do not want anyone to struggle in silence.

Xander says: “Angus and I were on a long car journey to my parents’ place in Oxford around 2018 when he said he’d been struggling.

“He didn’t know I had been too.

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“But we had a conversation — with both of us looking dead ahead or out the window — and both felt so much better for being honest.”

Their conversation did not end in the car. Drawing on Xander’s background in tech development and Angus’s experience in counselling and psychotherapy, the pair set up Mojo Men (mojo.so) in 2020. They have not looked back.

Xander says: “I started having problems in my early twenties.

“I had a couple of sexual encounters that gave me huge performance anxiety. I googled a lot about it but kept it to myself.

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“When I met my girlfriend Alice in 2018, I decided to be honest.

“Before we got intimate, I told her I’d experienced it and that it happened sometimes.

“It was a pretty painful conversation but being upfront felt much better than worrying about what might happen.

“As it turned out, things between us were fine.

“But I think that’s largely because there wasn’t any anxiety on my side because I’d been open — something not many men are.

“The honesty must have worked because we welcomed our first child this year.”

It can also be difficult for women to talk about a partner’s problems — as Xander’s partner Alice Howood, 31, from Oxford, knows.

She says: “Xander was the first guy I’d been with who mentioned ED but I instantly admired the fact he’d been upfront about it.

“Women can sometimes feel it’s their fault — that maybe they’re not attractive enough. But that’s taking away from the issue itself.

“There’s a pressure to persevere and keep trying. But changing up what you do or finding intimacy in other ways can really help.”

Angus says of that conversation in the car: “I have no idea what made me open up to Xander

“It was awkward to begin with. I felt less alone when he said he’d been dealing with it too.”

Key questions

WHAT IS IT? Most men will fail to get or keep an erection once in a while.
It’s often down to stress, tiredness, anxiety or drinking too much and is nothing to worry about.

But Amanda Barge, psychosexual therapist for Mojo says: “ED is a recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection during sex.

“For it to be a ‘dysfunction’, it needs to happen regularly – around 75 to 100 per cent of the time.”

HOW IT HAPPENS: “Getting an erection is quite a complex process – it involves your brain, nerves, hormones, muscles, blood vessels and emotions.

A problem can result from any of these factors, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.”

WHY IT HAPPENS: “The difficulty for many is that once they have had a problem, they begin ‘spectatoring’ their penis – which essentially means they dread not being able to get aroused and often fear losing an erection.

“Their bodies go in to fight-or-flight mode, which is not a great place to enjoy sex. They are so in their heads they are unable to enjoy the arousing feelings of making love.

“This can become a vicious cycle, causing real distress and relationship problems.”

WHO’S AT RISK? “ED becomes more prevalent as men age, but situational ED can kick in at any age for many different reasons including underlying medical conditions, lack of arousal, being too rushed, anxiety, depression, low mood, relational problems, tiredness, booze or drugs, lack of experience.”

UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS: “Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, MS, Peyronie’s disease (fibrous scar tissue under the skin of the penis), injuries from surgery or prostate cancer and cycling injuries can all increase a bloke’s risk of ED.”

…AND HERE ARE THEIR SIX TIPS FOR YOU

GettyXander and Angus have six tips to get your sex life back[/caption]

SEE YOUR GP: “The first port of call should always be your GP to make sure ED isn’t a symptom of a bigger medical condition,” says Angus. “However, in almost all cases of erectile dysfunction there’s a psychological element that needs to be tackled.”

DON’T BLAME: “Whichever side of a relationship you are on, blaming yourself doesn’t help,” says Xander. “Men can pretend it hasn’t happened before, which doesn’t help anyone. ED is no one’s fault. It’s a health condition that needs to be sorted.”

FORGET PENETRATION: “We asked more than 100 women what their favourite part of sex was,” says Angus. “Not a single one said penetration. So if ED’s an issue, mix things up.”

TALK: “If you are in a relationship, talk about ED outside the bedroom,” says Xander. “If you are having occasional sexual encounters, consider mentioning it beforehand to reduce pressure on yourself when the time comes. It’s difficult to do but could really help you out.”

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HONEST EXPECTATIONS: “Seventy-seven per cent of men access porn every month, which can give you an unrealistic version of sex,” says Angus. “It’s worth examining your habits and behaviours to see whether you’re putting pressure on yourself.”

REASSURE: “In a relationship, ED can make both of you feel vulnerable, and that’s when it becomes easy to start internalising,” says Angus. “Reassurance will go a very long way to helping both of you.”

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My bitter ex told lies to my friends about my ‘small manhood’ after I dumped her 0 40

DEAR DEIDRE: MY ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger.

She never complained when we were together, but last week she told the girls in our group that being with me was “like kissing a soggy lettuce leaf” and that she “literally didn’t feel a thing when we were having sex” because I’m so small.

My ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger

I’m 25 and she’s 24. I think part of it is jealousy.

She knows a couple of the other girls fancy me and I think she’s trying to sabotage any chance I have with them.

Not that I’m even planning anything.

She’s so insecure and has a vicious tongue on her.

I’m tempted to let each of her so-called friends know what she really says about them in private.

Even her best friend gets a nasty critique every time she posts anything on Instagram.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Her top is either too short, or her hair looks like wire, or her laugh is fake . . . it goes on and on.

I don’t regret splitting up with her but this last trick has really infuriated me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Don’t let yourself stoop to her level.

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You could maybe reply with: “Let’s just say she never complained when we were together and nor have any of my other exes.”

Your friends will soon see her behaviour for what it is – jealous insecurity.

My partner said he was on a work trip – but he was actually getting married and on his honeymoon 0 28

DEAR DEIDRE: MY partner said he was on a work trip two months ago, but he had actually got married and been on honeymoon.

Our relationship had become a bit predictable, but we still had regular sex and nice days out with our two young sons.

My partner lied about his work trip – he was really on his HONEYMOON

I’m 32 and he’s 37. Our sons are four and two.

When he returned from his “work trip” he blamed me for his cheating, saying I had let myself go and didn’t pay him enough attention.

He then told me he’d “traded up” for a better model. It didn’t stop there.

He said that his wife, who is 27, is absolutely stunning and makes him feel special.

Apparently this woman was a barmaid he’d met on a golf trip and they had been seeing each other for six months.

He told me all this, then marched upstairs and packed his games console and his clothes and drove off out of my life.

The thing is, we always talked about getting married but when we had kids there always seemed something better to spend our money on.

Mutual friends have told me he has moved into a new-build home on the other side of our small town and his wife has plenty of family money.

My sons are really missing him and I don’t even know how I feel.

Sometimes when he comes to visit the boys I beg him to come home.

But other times I’m so angry with him, I refuse to let him in.

Now he is accusing me of stopping him from seeing his children.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Surely he can’t just show up when he likes?

I’m a mess and need to start getting a grip for the kids’ sake.

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DEIDRE SAYS: I’m so sorry your partner ended your relationship in such a cruel way.

This man sounds selfish and immature, and quite frankly the way he has treated you is emotionally abusive.

It won’t feel like it now, but you really are better off without him.

He is behaving like he still lives in your home, by just turning up unannounced.

Tell him firmly that you would encourage a good relationship between him and your sons but he can only collect them with prior arrangement.

Start to put down your boundaries.

I’m sending you my support pack When Parents Fall Out, which you could pass to him to help explain why you need to co-operate for the future wellbeing of your children.

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Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. He put you down constantly, now you can start to build up your confidence.

I’d recommend seeing a counsellor to help you with this betrayal and am sending you my Counselling support pack.

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