Q&A: Erectile Dysfunction ~ Part Two

I am 22 and my husband is 24.  We have been married for a few months.  We were virgins on our wedding night and my husband doesn’t look at porn.

The problem is my husband is losing his erections during sex. He gets hard while we are kissing or while he watches me undress or whatever and penetrates me and lasts for a while.  But before he orgasms, he loses his erection and it is really hard for him to get it back.  We both get frustrated, as he tried to get hard enough again to penetrate me, he starts to sense that I am not feeling as aroused and then it makes him worried and even harder to get his erection back.  I get frustrated because he wants me to keep trying to put his penis back inside me even when it is soft and it is just not sexy to me trying to put his soft penis back inside me so he can start thrusting again so he can get hard again.  I want to help so I try but it doesn’t work.  I try kissing him and and rubbing him with lube and my hands to try to stimulate him so he’ll get his erection back…sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t….lately it hasn’t been working.

This problem is starting to get bad for us.  My husband feels inadequate and frustrated.  I feel frustrated too.  I try to be affirming and I always encourage him and tell him that I want to do whatever he needs.  I feel like he is starting to feel worried when we have sex that he is going to lose his erection again.  I’m afraid that fear in itself makes him lose his erection…i don’t know how to help him. I don’t want him to associate feelings of inadequacy or frustration with sex.  I want him to feel fulfilled, strong, manly, and loved.

Do you have any advice on how I can help him?  I don’t want this to come between us.  I love him very much.

The following answer was given by Lauren Jordan, Certified Sex Therapist:

I can hear how frustrated you and your husband have become in trying to deal with this very common problem.  I can also see that you love each other very much, and think you can bank on that love for each other in working to overcome this issue.

First,  I must say that I  cannot do a full assessment as I would if you were in my office with only the information from your letter, so please keep in mind that I will be providing you with general information about Erectile Dysfunction, as opposed to actually providing sex therapy for you and your husband.

What happens often is that a couple will have an incident where he loses his erection, and then the couple becomes anxous the next time they make love, wondering if it will happen again.  Just thinking “I hope I can keep my erection” takes a man away from the wonderful sensations going on in his body, and makes it more likely that he will indeed lose his erection.  The woman may also be worried, and this can be intuited by the male, and increase his anxiety.  It is far too easy for this to become a pattern.

I would advise you both to read The New Male Sexuality  by Bernie Zilbergeld, MD.  It has a series of exercises a man can do to get out of this trap.  Some of it involves thinking positively about his erections, some of it involves relaxing about it – and this would help the partner as well.  Some exercises will help a man learn to “just play” and enjoy the sensation without trying to have full intercourse.

The best thing a wife can do in this situation is NOT take it personally.  I know this is hard to do, as it can make even the most sexually confident wife lose esteem.  Repeat “this is not about me” and “this is not a catastrophe” in your mind so you can approach sex in a more relaxed way.  Take time hugging and kissing to stay connected while he is doing the exercises, and also before you try intercourse again.

Finally, I would encourage you to try to broaden your view that a “soft entry” is not sexy.  This could be a bit of a challenge, but allowing that this happens to so many men, and that soft entry, and then thrusting is one prescribed way to overcome the problem.  If it saves the sexual encounter from being a total disappointment, why not go for it?  It beats feeling frustrated and defeated.  As men age, especially in their 50’s, they may have more difficulty with keeping erections, and if you have already found a variety of ways to creatively work around this, you will be ahead of the game.   If you don’t have success with doing the exercises, I’d recommend that you seek therapy with a Certified Sex Therapist.

Lauren Jordan, LCSW
Certified Sex Therapist

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