My son and his girlfriend of 5 years just broke up about 3 months ago, "Him being the one to do so",and he is back in the dating field. He will be 23 years old in November. He came to me in concern that he cannot keep an erection. He has been seeing a young lady and they have had sex without any problem at all but for the past few days being with her he says he will get an erection but it lasts less than 2 minutes. This has happened several times and he says normally in the past he could just look at a female and get an erection anywhere at anytime. I asked him if he was really interested in this girl and attracted to her and he said she definately turns him on but he just could not get an erection or do anything. Do you have any suggestions to help him out?
First, let me congratulate you on being a great parent! I'm sure all our readers are saying, "What a great mom! You can tell her anything!" Sadly, as you probably know, most men would not be comfortable sharing this information. Sounds like the two of you have a great relationship.
This is a fairly common occurence--particularly in young men who are just beginning their sexual relationship careers. There are two probabilities: 1) he's not yet over his past relationship. Something is still lingering--sadness, unresolved feelings, etc. And 2) he's not yet comfortable with a new partner. He needs to reflect on this. It's important that he not blame himself for something that's entirely common. Sometimes young guys get so freaked out the first time they don't get an erection on command, that then they worry themselves into a permanent condition.
Here's some general information to share with him:
Welcome to your 20’s! When you're younger and just beginning to be sexual with others, erections pop up everywhere--including when you don't want them! Post-pubescent men are highly excitable. After all, sex with a partner is new, and anything new is terribly exciting.
As you age, you'll find that erections sometimes take longer, and even come and go. This is not an indication if ill health, but just part of life.
It's clear to me that something about being sexual with a new partner is causing you anxiety. What do you suppose it is? Is it possible that you’re worrying yourself into this problem? In other words, once you began to worry, you stopped being able to enjoy yourself, so naturally, your erections disappeared, and you created a self-fulfilling prophesy. Often, anxiety and nervousness create a situation in which you can't relax enough to feel pleasure.
Worrying about erections is a dead-end street. All it will do is make you anxious, which will make your penis very uncooperative. And remember you don't need an erection to be sexual, have fun, experience pleasure, etc. Relax, enjoy your own unique sexuality and stop judging yourself.
For more information about male sexual issues, I recommend “The New Male Sexuality,” by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., widely available both used and in paperback. Best of luck to you. Dr. J
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