Erectile Dysfunction Expert Forum
Man in Mid-20s, has never achieved erection for intercourse
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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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Man in Mid-20s, has never achieved erection for intercourse

Hello,

I am a healthy, fit young man in my mid-20s. I have a serious problem - I have never been able to achieve intercourse, ever. The reason for this is that every time I've ever tried, I've never been able to maintain erection. This has happened with or without a condom, with both girlfriends and women who I had no emotional attachment to, but always while I'm under the influence of alcohol.

The only way that I have ever been to acheive an erection when I'm with a woman is if I'm performing oral sex on her. I have never had an erection while having oral sex performed on me. Whenever I perform oral sex on a woman, I enjoy it very much, but the erection I get from performing on her disappers quickly once I attempt intercourse.

Obviously, the vast majority of women would like oral sex but want a man who can please them both through oral sex and intercourse. I am really worried about this problem because it basically prevents me from having a long-term, meaningful, romantic relationship with a woman.

It may also be worth mentioning that although I am physically healthy (low blood pressure, no diabetes/high blood pressure, etc), I do engage in a lot of masturbation (at least 20 times / week) and watch a pretty decent amount of pornography. I have been doing this since I was very young (11-12 years old). Therefore, I know that I am very capable of attaining an erection - just not when there's an actual woman in the room watching me. Could this be part of the problem? I suspect that ultimately the problem is psychological, but what I would really like is some sort of advice or helpful tips on how to overcome this barrier and maintain an erection so I can please a woman. The women I've been with throughly enjoy it when I perform oral sex on them, of course, but I know they want more. Please help.
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Hi.

The first thing that leaps out at me from your post is your focus on "pleasing" women. You never mention your own pleasure or happiness. I'm wondering if you realize this.

Obviously, your penis is working fine. It's your head--and attitudes--that are getting in the way.

So, like many guys, you began a pattern of watching online porn and self-pleasuring when you were young. Most men are able to distinguish between the real world and fantasy; however, for some men, this can be difficult. The ideal world of online porn can sometimes set up a focus on performance rather than pleasure.

Welcome to your 20’s! Erections go up and down. You’ll find this happening all your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sex, but you have to let go of worrying about performance.

Much of your problem is due to your attitude. Once your penis didn't act as you expected, you probably started feeling anxious and judging yourself, which can be a vicious circle. The more you worry about erections, the more your penis won’t cooperate. In fact, it can be downright rebellious!  Many men feel that if their erection goes down even a tiny bit, there’s something wrong with them. Where does this come from?

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. By being so goal-oriented, some men never get to feel the simple pleasures of touch, of kissing, of soft skin on skin. And, of course, if you can allow yourself to let go of goals and just enjoy, guess what? That erection will come right back. So don’t focus so much on penis-vagina (p-v) sex as the “end-all, be-all” of sex, but rather just let yourself relax and enjoy whatever occurs. And don’t have p-v sex until you’re ready.

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. Ask yourself whether you have any conflicts about being sexual—any old messages that might be lurking in your subconscious.

There are many other reasons why you may be inhibited with a partner. This could be due to anxiety—either about sex in general, or about some aspect of your relationship with a woman. Perhaps the intimacy of penis-vagina sex is making you uncomfortable? Why would that be? What does it represent to you? These are questions to ask yourself.  Or it might just be that some aspect of p-v creates anxiety.

Or perhaps you’re not receiving enough stimulation during p-v, or you might be starting p-v before you’re turned on enough. In addition, some men find that certain condoms limit sensation, and, of course, this can intensify with each experience, leading to more anxiety. I’m also wondering how aroused you are by your partner. You could be bored, or perhaps some aspect of your relationship isn’t satisfying.

One more myth to bust: self-pleasuring does not contribute to erection concerns. In fact, the more you know about your own sexual response, the better. However, if you have an orgasm during self-pleasuring just prior to being sexual with a partner, your body may need a bit of time to build up sexual tension again.

Another issue: alcohol. Perhaps you're consuming lots of alcohol in order to lessen your anxiety. Unfortunately, this can also numb you to sensation.

In addition to examining the above issues, I also highly recommend the book “The New Male Sexuality” by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D. It’s widely available online, both used and in paperback and is an invaluable resource. Best of luck to you. Dr. J


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