When Your Erections Aren't Reliable

written by Dr. Lori Buckley

Sometimes erections are not reliable, and it can feel devastating when you or your partner are having difficulty getting or sustaining an erection. I know because as a couples and sex therapist, I've been seeing men and their partners for almost two decades who have been struggling with these challenges and more in their relationships and their sex lives.

The  good news is there are things you can do to have more reliable erections and more satisfying sex. But I have to tell you that not being able to get an erection can be a precursor to a more serious medical problem. So, if you are having difficulty getting or keeping an erection, I recommend that you talk to your medical doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions. Sometimes it’s medication. Anti-depressants and many other medications can be the problem. Don't stop taking your medication, but do talk to your doctor and explore other options, such as changing your medication or altering your dosage. 

If you are only having challenges with a partner, and you're able to get good and reliable erections when you're masturbating or when you first wake up, it's probably due to anxiety. Therapy and learning new skills can help you alleviate your anxiety and increase your sexual confidence. This is what I’ll be addressing in this blog.

Sexual anxiety often starts out subtly. Maybe it began with a new partner and you were nervous, or maybe you drank too much and weren't able to keep your erection, or maybe you were just exhausted. There are so many reasons that cause a man not to be able to get or keep an erection or to get sufficiently aroused.

The problem is when a man starts to worry about getting an erection and he believes that there is something wrong with him. So the next time he has sex, he might start to worry that it is going to happen again. And if he has a partner who is feeling insecure and is wondering if there is something wrong with her...or him, then he feels even worse. He experiences anxiety about getting an erection, and is worried about what his partner is thinking.

Sometimes it begins with the anxiety of not wanting to come too quickly, which can also negatively impact erections. Before you know it his thoughts spin out into a big negative spiral, and he gets more into his head and becomes more anxious. This can become a chronic problem. And the longer it goes on the worse it gets.  Sex starts to become something that creates anxiety and disappointment, and sometimes becomes something that's avoided.

There are things that you can do. If you are experiencing anxiety and in your head trying to get an erection, or trying not to come, or trying to make her come, and you are trying and performing, stop. First, get rid of the word performance. You're going have anxiety thinking about performing. Remember that sex isn't about performing. Sex is about pleasure, and if you can remember that in the moment and focus on your pleasure, you'll have more fun and more reliable erections.

Sometimes all takes is breaking a bad habit. One of the best things you can do is to start practicing mindfulness. Learn to focus on the sensations you're feeling to be in the moment. Become the expert and the master of your penis. Forget about your erections. There are many wonderful ways to have sex without penetration and without erections.

Practice oral sex. Decide that you're not going to focus on your erection, and see what happens. Do some mindful masturbation. Masturbate with some coconut oil or a good lube, and don't fantasize or watch porn. Fantasies are a great way to bump up your arousal, but I want you to really focus on being in the moment to feel what's happening in your body as your touching yourself. What happens when you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles? What happens when you relax them? What happens when you breathe fast and shallow, or deep and slow? What happens when you touch yourself in a certain way or try multiple stimulation. There are many different ways to experience sexual pleasure.

First, try it alone, and then you can try it with a partner. The most important thing is to not focus on getting an erection, because that's the thing that's keeping you in your head, getting in the way of your arousal, and stopping you from having the erections you desire.

These are all things that you can do. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t recommend taking an E.D. drug, it’s because you still need to be aroused to get an erection, which a pill cannot do. So, if you've tried an E. D. drug and it didn’t work, that's why. There's probably nothing wrong with you. All you need to do is change the way that you're thinking about and engaging in sex.

You can always try a penis ring. They’re fun and they work! I have a few great ones that you can find by clicking here https://stuffoflove.com/collections/for-him. There you will also find masturbation toys and a penis pump, which can also be helpful in your journey. And you can watch a video I made about penis rings at https://youtu.be/7mKLtxrvSKM.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an online appointment, contact me at hello@stuffoflove.com