Erectile Dysfunction Expert Forum
Problems maintaining an erection
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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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Problems maintaining an erection

I am 23 years old and for the last few years I have had problems maintaining an erection for any period of time. I often have no problem getting an erection but after just a minute or so it wil start to fade away or go completely,. This occurs if I am pleasuring myself or with a girl, if it is hands, oral or full sex it makes no difference. I always manage to ejaculate wether it be not fully erect or continously gaining and losing an erection. What could be wrong and also would this be a good enough reason for my doctor to prescribe me viagra at my age? Any help would be appreciated, thanks
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Hi John.

First, there's probably nothing wrong. You can generally determine whether your condition may be physically related by the following: when you wake up, do you notice your erections are firmer than during sex? If so, then your body is working fine—it’s your heart/brain that’s getting in the way once you’re fully awake. It's remotely possible that you have some circulatory condition that is limiting the amount of blood that reaches your penis (that's what creates an erection). If you want to find out for sure if this is the case, I advise you to see a urologist--a specialist in this area. S/he will run some tests to determine whether there's any circulatory issue. If so, there are medications that may help.

However, from what you've described, it sounds like stress, anxiety, etc.are creating this situation for you.

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 so much about erection.

Much of your problem is due to your attitude. Once you experienced anything less than a full erection, you 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. 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.

In addition, any recreational drugs such as marijuana can have sexual side effects; however, everyone reacts differently to regular intake. In some, it enhances sexual desire, while others find it distracts them sexually and can interfere with erection and/or orgasm. Alcohol and nicotine can definitely interfere with your vascular system, which can also affect erections. If you’re a regular smoker or heavy drinker, try refraining from smoking/drinking, etc. for a week and see if there’s any change.

For more information about erection issues, attitude, etc., I highly recommend the book “The New Male Sexuality” by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D. It’s widely available in paperback and is an invaluable resource.

Relax, stop putting pressure on yourself and enjoy sex for what it is: pleasure. Give yourself permission to enjoy whatever happens—and find partners who aren’t hung up on performances issues either. Best of luck to you. Dr. J
2 Comments
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Hi Mate

This is Blackgypsy's husband here and I have the same problem and it got me searching for answers on the net, But same as me you need to see a doc about it because there are many symptoms that can cause this.

I have found the same thing as you, no matter how hard I try to regain the use of it, no matter how much I want it to work, it just hangs there like I just shot it - Tell me one thing do you get a hard erection when you first wake up after a sleep and the body starts pumping more blood preasure thru your body ?? I do and this is the puzzling part of it all, Have I got low blood pressure while I'm asleep and the body builds up the pressure to normal when I wake up each time ??

Here are just a few that can cause it to happen

Erection problems can be caused by:

Venous leakage
This is when blood is leaked from the erect penis, leading to impotence.
Sexual and emotional problems
For example fear of pregnancy or STD. This is usually brought upon by a negative past experience.

Drugs
Many drugs (both prescription and recreational) can lead to erection issues. You should ask your doctor for advice about any prescription drugs you are taking.

Using condoms
Many men feel restricted by a condom and therefore experience erection problems with condoms. This is often a psychological issue and one which can worsen with each pass experience, bringing about a fear of failure syndrome.

I hope all works out for you
Alan
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