When you live with erectile dysfunction, figuring out when to tell potential partners about it—or whether to tell them at all—is one of the most stressful parts of dating. For me, disclosing my ED can be more stressful than the chance of actually experiencing it during sex. Telling someone too soon runs the risk of creating the wrong impression; waiting too long creates the risk of embarrassment during that first sexual encounter.

I’m not pretending to have all the answers, but I do have some positive history with handling this sensitive situation. In my experience, it’s always best to be open and honest, and it’s better to do so sooner rather than later. How soon is that? That’s a personal call. But here’s how I tend to navigate these murky waters.

Broaching the subject

It has been my experience that women are very understanding about this, especially if they’re in their mid-30s or older.

I usually go through at least one