Erectile Dysfunction Expert Forum
Can't get erection b/c too nervous
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Questions in the Erection Concerns Forum are being answered by Janice M Epp, PhD, a Clinical Sexologist from The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. This forum is for questions and discussions about the psychological aspects of Erection problems or erectile dysfunction.

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Can't get erection b/c too nervous

Hi Doctor,

I am a 21 y/o male in generally good health.  I know my problem is psychological, since I can get an erection by myself and get morning erections.  I just don't know what to do.  I have no concerns about my sexuality.  This has always gone on since I've been sexually active (18).  It has gotten to the point that I don;t pursue women that I really do like because I know it will eventually get to that stage.

When I get the girl back to my place, my mind is focused on getting it up.  And if by some miracle I manage to do that, when I try to put on a condom, I almost immediately lose the erection.  I'm just so fed up.  I know I should relax and I know it's all in my mind, but I'm still just too nervous.  I've let a lot of good women slip by because I was too nervous, and that makes me miserable.

I finally told my doctor and he gave me 3 pills of Cialis.  They worked like a charm.  I was hard and didn't need to focus on anything.  But then when I didn't have them, I started to worry again.  I wanted a few more to have just in case but the doctor didn't want to do that.  So now I'm back where I started and don;t know what to do.  
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You've discovered the little secret about those pills, and that's that it doesn't matter what happens mechanically, it's what's in your head that counts.

You don't need them; you just need to adjust your attitude away from the performance model of sex.

Our society does a terrible disservice to men by raising them to think that their penis has to be 10 inches long, hard as a rock and last all night. It’s no wonder that many men feel insecure about their sexuality. Great sex involves your whole body; in fact, having great, mutually satisfying sex is usually quite the opposite of what you see in those performance-oriented sex videos.

The more you think of sex as being about performance, the more worries you'll have. If you're stressed, you'll probably worry even more. And this can be a vicious circle. For most of us, sex is about fun and pleasure. If you think of it as performance, or a “job,” you’ll set yourself for a stressful experience. Remember: Performance can be the enemy of pleasure and fun.

Men receive so many messages that sex is about “performance” and pleasing a partner, rather than just enjoying the pleasure of it. Everything is goal-oriented—like a football game. The other message that many men receive is that sex is somehow dirty and wrong, unless you’re doing it for reproductive purposes. Sometimes this can creep into our unconscious thoughts and sabotage any pleasure.

You said it yourself: you KNOW it's all in your head, so relax, let go of trying, and enjoy your sexuality. Here's a book with lots of helpful information about this issue:

"The New Male Sexuality" by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., widely available available used and in paperback. This wonderful book has helped millions of men such as yourself with this issue. Good luck! Dr. J
3 Comments
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At 21 I think yours is just performance anxiety. Please know that if you appear to be enjoying(appreciating) the experience, and are involved, you will be fine. Let her know you are pleased, she will recoprocate.
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Thanks Doctor.  I will look into that book and try to relax.  I appreciate all your help.
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