Erectile Dysfunction

Don’t worry about not having an erection

One of the first steps in controlling erection problems and getting your erection back is to stop worrying about it. Now, this sounds like a piece of “easy to say, hard to do” advice, but before you start thinking it’s impossible, let’s just look at the matter.

To start with, the major thing is what your erection means to you: it’s a fair bet that it signifies masculinity, maleness, potency and power. After all, those are the things that most men think of when they talk about their erections. Yet, where does masculinity really reside?

In the penis, or in the brain, in the mind, in the heart? If you can shift your thinking so that you still see yourself as a powerful man, albeit one with a (hopefully temporary) erection problem, then things become easier for both you and your partner.

They become easier for you because you can still please your partner during sex with oral sex, masturbation and caresses over her whole body; sensuous massage is a great way to stay bonded and keep your intimacy going; and she can do the same for you, even if you haven’t got an erection.

This shift of attitude removes the pressure which you may put on yourself if you are firmly fixed in a place where you see an erection as the be-all and end-all of sex, and also as essential for your sense of masculinity.

When the pressure to perform, to keep an erection, is removed, then things become potentially much more relaxed – and this relaxation may well be the key to you getting your erection back. The point is this: it’s the expectation of having to keep an erection which actually contributes to the lack of an erection. The two forces (anxiety about having an erection and actually getting an erection) depend on different and opposing parts of the central nervous system: in fact, they can be mutually exclusive.

Video – anxiety about getting an erection

So, how are you going to become relaxed when you want sex and you don’t have an erection? It sounds impossible! But the first step is to relax and accept that one day you will have an erection again – and hopefully that day is not too far away! You might also choose to read this helpful book about erectile dysfunction.

Then, you mentally substitute a different set of sexual behaviors for the ones you have been used to: try giving her oral pleasure until she reaches orgasm, or masturbating her, or giving her a sensuous massage. If your partner wishes to be penetrated, then you can use your fingers or (up to a point) your tongue.

The next thing to do is to get into your body. It helps to be aware of how you feel, of what level of arousal you have reached, and to know how where you are on the spectrum of male sexual arousal.

Sexual arousal passes through four different phases: arousal, the plateau stage, male orgasm and ejaculation, and the resolution phase. In the excitement or arousal stage, your erection would normally develop. In the plateau stage, there’s a long lasting feeling of being highly aroused, your erection would normally be hard and full, and you sense that you are at a high pitch of sexual excitement.

Normally, as your level of arousal increases, there will be a point where you enter your orgasm and ejaculation phase. After you’ve ejaculated, the resolution phase begins and your erection dissipates, your breathing slows down, and your excitement dissipates.

For good sex, you need to keep in touch with where you are in all of these phases: for example, if you are conscious of how aroused your body is, you can control the rate at which you move towards orgasm,  and make the adjustments such as speed of thrusting or depth of thrusting which will prevent you from ejaculating, at least until you want to ejaculate.

Many men with erection problems have lost touch with their bodies, and focus far too much on their mental fantasies, which they have previously depended on to keep their erections. But relying on fantasy is a problem, because sexual arousal actually resides in the body – and it is stimulated by physical contact and bodily stimulation from your sexual partner.

This may be a new idea for you, but it is certainly something that many men depend on to become aroused, especially as they pass through significant age points (fifty years of age is often a point after which men need the helping hand of their partner to get an erection).

In other words, instead of expecting to get hard just because you are in a sexual situation, thinking of what your partner and you will be doing, or looking at her body, or even kissing her, you may find that a better route to a reliable erection is one that rests on cuddling up to your partner, relaxing, letting the sexual energies flow between you, or having her actually stimulate you with her hands or mouth.

Needless to say, the more relaxed you can be about the outcome (i.e. whether or not you get an erection), the more likely you are to get one.

There are several ways you can help this process.

  • Don’t take drugs or alcohol – they act against the erectile mechanism.
  • Focus on the sensations in your whole body, not just your fantasy life or what you feel in your penis alone. Though it may seem as if your penis is the sole source of your physical pleasure during sex, this is untrue, and the more you focus on your penis, the less relaxed you will become, and the less likely to become erect.
  • As you relax, you develop greater control over your progress towards orgasm, you develop a greater chance of having an erection, and you have more control over your sexual responses – which, after all, is a major part of being a man! As you get more aroused, your body prepares for an ejaculation. Therefore, the best way to enjoy sex is to stay relaxed, and keep your awareness centered on your body.
  • Breathing deeply is a useful way to stay relaxed. When you become aroused, your breathing tends to become deeper and slower, but many men find that they start breathing in shallow breaths. Try to avoid this: keep breathing deeply, relax, feel what is happening in your body, let it all come naturally, and you will probably be surprised how much harder your penis becomes, and how much longer your erection lasts.
  • If you are a man who thinks that sex depends on you (that you are the leader, the boss, the one who initiates, and the one on whom the female orgasm depends, and that you must give your partner pleasure before taking it yourself), then you certainly need to learn how to accept stimulation of your penis by your partner, without feeling compelled to do something for her in return. This will build up your tendency to have firm erections. A useful technique here is to enjoy masturbation: without the expectation of getting an erection! Just relax and be in your body.

Start having your partner masturbate you or masturbate yourself (but always without being goal-directed, never expecting to get an erection, and certainly not feeling like a failure if you don’t get hard! If you don’t get an erection, just enjoy the physical sensations and relax into them.).

Use a lubricant such as Probe, or body oil.  Masturbate sensuously and slowly, enjoying the physical pleasure. If you feel bored, then ask yourself why, and see if you can learn to tap into the endless source of sexual and sensual pleasure which your body can provide, if you are receptive and open to it.

Keep yourself aroused with slow and sensuous stroking, but don’t engage in self-criticism or judgment. If you don’t get an erection, it doesn’t matter! If you can identify the feelings that might indicate you are approaching orgasm, increase the level of stimulation; if you lose your erection, (or partially lose it, or it goes less hard), then decrease the amount of stimulation, stop thinking about reaching orgasm or having an erection, and go back to gentle, sensuous stimulation.

If your partner is helping you, let her masturbate without any sense of obligation on your part – that you either need to have an orgasm, are a failure if you don’t get an erection, or you should end up by having sex with her. Let her keep you aroused and enjoy the physical pleasure of what she is doing – and repeat the experience as often as you can until you have mastered the art of being in your body rather than your head during sex. You can repeat the experience, as often as you wish, and as you get a firmer erection, change to rubbing your penis between her vulval lips.

Now, this process is only summarized here, and the instructions are not really detailed enough for you to understand fully every aspect of the procedure.

Once you have an erection with masturbation, move on to oral sex. When you are confident of your erection during oral sex, you can gradually penetrate your partner her and learn erection control while you are in her vagina. When you are more in touch with your body, you can adapt the procedure so that you gain erection control during a variety of sexual situations.

For example, you might stop thrusting altogether, and rest together, while you both enjoy the experience of you being inside her. Note that you don’t have to satisfy her with sexual intercourse: you can offer her cunnilingus or masturbation, or she can get herself to orgasm in whatever way she chooses.

If she protests at this and starts complaining that you don’t have an erection, then there may be deeper issues at work: like, who is responsible for he sexual pleasure? Does she support you in the work that is needed to get your erection back?

Some other ideas to gain greater control of your erection

Try woman on top sex or side by side positions so there is less strain on your body.

Make a lot of noise during sex. Letting sound out is a good way of expressing your feelings. If you can make a noise, you aren’t being inhibited and this will again help you get in touch with your body.

Don’t get hung up about erections. They happen, they go away, they come back. That’s the way it is, and all you need is overall progress even if there is the occasional unwanted loss of hardness.

Don’t use condoms if you are in a stable relationship.  Provided you know that you are safe then you may find that having flesh to flesh contact between your penis and your partner’s vagina makes it more likely you can keep your erection.

Put your needs first. As you focus on your pleasure, you may find that your erection begins to return. Women often want long-lasting whole body massage, caressing and kissing – and if you do this, you may find your erection goes.

You may even find it disappears when you are giving her oral sex. Well, all of this is normal! Erections come and go; when you move your attention from your penis and her pleasure onto your own body and your own feelings, you may well find that any sense of pressure to perform has largely dissipated, and although your erection may come and go, this is not a problem – it will be back when you need it.

Get into the whole of your sexual experience. An erect penis doesn’t necessarily mean you are either aroused enough for good sex or emotionally ready for any kind of sex, so its absence may not be as significant as you think. Just what do you feel about your partner? Do you really want sex with her? You may need to increase your arousal before you can participate in sex with her. Does she turn you on? Are you really  interested in sex?

If the answers to these questions is perhaps “no” then you might want to think about your relationship, where you are going with your partner, and get your hormones checked, for low libido can be due to low testosterone levels.

Low arousal might lead to a “get it over quick” attitude, a lack of motivation to enjoy sex, and a weak ejaculation and orgasm. If you are emotionally connected to your partner, a good way to get really aroused is to enjoy kissing, cuddling, massage, and gentle intimacy. When your partner is aroused, you will probably be aroused, because a horny woman is very arousing for most men. If this does not excite you, it’s worth having your hormone levels checked.

Learn a little about the G spot and how to stimulate it so she has a vaginal orgasm. Learn how to great oral sex, and how to massage her sensuously. Kissing is very arousing: learn how to do it properly and romantically.

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