Erectile Dysfunction Expert Forum
Problems with erections
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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 with erections

Hi Doctor,

I have a few questions for you if you don't mind.

I am in my mid 20s and I am having problems with getting a hard erection. When I start having sex with my girlfriend, I start out with a hard erection but during sex my erection becomes softer. I have no problems getting a hard erection when I am kissing her, watching a porno video with my her or masterbating (masturbating) (I masterbate twice a week or so). This issue is not only with my current girlfriend. The same thing happened wit my previous girlfriend as well. Is there something wrong with me? Does this have anything to do with the frequency of my masterbation (masturbation)?
Are there any tricks to get a harder erection?

Also when ever I get an erection, clear liquid (not semen) comes out every time. Its really frustrating because it wets my boxers and it is very uncomfortable afterward. Is there something I can do to stop this clear liquid everytime I get an erection?

My last concern is that I have not been circumcised and therefore the head of my penis does not come out of the foreskin when I get an erection. Is this holding me back from more pleasure during sex? Would it be wise to get circumcised at my age now?

Thank you doctor for taking your time,

- E
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Hello.

Tricks, no. There are no "tricks" when it comes to sex; only accurate information and myth-busting.

First, let's clear up some misinformation. Your penis isn’t leaking. It’s behaving exactly as your body is telling it to do. When men become sexually aroused, a gland called the Cowper’s Gland, secretes a fluid, also known as "pre-***." Some men produce large amounts of this fluid, while others produce very little. Everyone is different. This fluid clears the urethra of uric acid prior to orgasm. Without this fluid, many of the sperm carried in semen would be killed or damaged by the acid contained in urine. So when you get turned on, that’s what happens: Cowper’s Gland fluid comes out the end of your penis. If you’re producing lots of fluid, you might want to be sure to carry some tissues for wiping up.

About foreskins: Most foreskins retract completely during erection, exposing the glans (glands)--or head--of the penis, which is a very sensitive area which is associated with sexual pleasure. If your foreskin doesn't totally retract, you might wish to see a urologist for an exam to determine whether you can benefit from some simple exercises which will stretch the foreskin enough so that it will retract.

Now, on to your other issues.

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 you’re your partner. I’m going to assume that when you say “sex,” you mean p-v.  This could be due to anxiety—either about sex in general, or about some aspect of your relationship with her. Since you’re fine with either manual or oral stimulation, perhaps the intimacy of p-v is making you uncomfortable? Why would that be? What does it represent to you—and to your partner? 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. 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.

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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Thanks Dr. J
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