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Scared
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Scared

I finally worked up the courage to finger my girlfriend, but I did not get an erection. Then when she touched my penis, I still could not get an erection. I am terribly distraught, nervous, and scared. What's wrong with me?
Tags: erection
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Hi.

There's nothing "wrong" with you--other than you've psyched yourself out. Take a deep breath, relax, and read on.

I can see from your language that you were nervous, anxious and scared when you and your girlfriend were being sexual with each other. Think about other times when you've been anxious and scared. Were you able to relax and enjoy what was happening? Of course not!

And if you're still having erections at other times than when you're with your girlfriend, obviously there's nothing physiological going on. It's all in your head.

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 adjust your attitude and relax. I suspect that once your penis didn’t respond on command, 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.

All of these may be contributing, but I think we can both agree that it was the newness of the situation combined with your anxiety that created your problem.

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
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