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

Related Articles: Erectile Dysfunction


  1. Hi I am 35 and had the same issue. It came and went on its owns. Not really sure why, I talked to the uroligist about it and she had saod sometimes it happens when your mind is on other things at hand. She had perscibed me a few Viagra pills, but really dindn’t see where they helped. The only reall help was from my wife when I could tell she really wanted me and was into me, that gave me the best erection.

  2. Hey Cinnamonsticks,
    Thanks for the article. Timely once again.

    I was already aware of the possibility of this occuring in my marriage as I am 47 and he is 50. I was TOTALLY shaken when it did. I literally collapsed after we had climaxed and fell apart, weeping for hours. Did not help him at all, poor darling and took me a few days to recover as I had to deal with all the mental jerks one goes through.

    Once I had come to terms with the pride factor in my life, as to getting him hard, my compassion kicked in. We have spent hours talking through this issue. He has made an extra effort to explain his aging body to me and indeed, his workouts are also changing as he is not ‘geared up’ like he used to be.

    The worst side effect of this, as a late bloomer, is the guilt about not enjoying his amazing erections for our entire marriage.
    Some things can be changed but this particular grief has to be placed in a special memory box with ribbons and lace and treated with the same reverence that a dead person receives! Morbid of me to write thus but I am having a terrible time burying such a painful part of my sexual renewal.

    On a positive note, I will use the ‘soft entry’ phrase in my journey.
    There is something ultra special about changing with each other and learning how to adjust as lovers, whether we expect the changes or not.

    We adore each other and there is still no other man for me. I will still be a foxy nymph and grow in my sexuality regardless of the changes he is going through. My aggression is probably the saving grace in our marriage as I simply will not let my dear man rest !!!!! Staying outrageous in my sexuality keeps his mind, eyes, mouth, ears, and “beautiful” really busy 😉

  3. (My apologies if this is too explicit! Mods, please edit as you wish.)

    My guy has a lovely trick where he pulls out and goes down on me for a moment or two in the middle of sex. He says he does it when “he’s not ready to come yet”, if you know what I mean. I love it because oral feels totally different (better) to me when I’m already really aroused vs at the beginning of foreplay, as does penetration afterwards.

    Since you say that your husband is distressed about not pleasing you, perhaps you might try this? He could take his time trying to get his erection back but know you’re having a good time while he does, getting aroused by your responses. You in turn can help by being vocal with your encouragements about how good oral feels and how he can take all the time he needs because you’re enjoying this now. (If you’re into 69 as foreplay, a comfy position is on your sides and I’m told that oral feels good even on a soft penis.)

    Worst case scenario? He never regains his erection that night but he goes to bed knowing he’s able to please you in spite of that.

  4. I can relate 100percent with Smokeypuss about having a hard time with burying the past.We have been married 27 yrs. n it wasn’t until 14 months ago that I experienced a renewal, my husband is also 50 n I am 47. He also tells me about how he is different in his sexuality now that he is older n I struggle with the guilt of neglecting him sexually all those years n also of all the years that I missed out in enjoying him like I do now… Inspite of my struggle of letting go of the past I have come to the realization that I need to bury the past in order to be able to fully enjoy the present and to continue to be excited about the future of our marriage bed.So!, in our venture to find a remedy that would help him to obtain the erections like he used to have in the earlier years gone by, my husband tried a male sexual enhancer supplement Zenerect, it has worked great!!! It gives him a long lasting erection, it’s all natural with no sideeffects unlike the prescribed one’s like Viagra, The erections continue thru 72 hours after he takes them.Zenerect works great but are a bit pricey,so he ordered another one from www. Vicerex.com, similar ingredients, good reviews and less expensive. We are going to try them tonite! I will post my review of them, hopefully, they will be as great as Zenerect.

  5. I agree with smokeypuss and others, but most important, relax. Have fun. Date. Make time when you’re going to play but not climax to take the pressure off him (but if something happens, bingo!) Take turns treating each other orally. One day your turn, one day his. No rules says you both have to cum at once and you might be able to both ways! (wink)

    There are things that put you in the mood and there are also things that puts him in the mood. Learn what he likes, not what he says but what he feels. If you find out the back seat of a vintage Ford excites you two, well, close the garage door and have at it.

    But relax… give it time… relax…

  6. Wow, this article came at THE perfect time for me. I’ve only been married 6 months now, and we’re still working hard at good clear communication (in AND out of bed!). Anyway, for the first time, the same day I read this article, my husband lost his erection during sex and I was completely fine with it! I hardly mentioned it at all, I knew he was worried about it, but I just acted super normal about it and we went on with our day. He approached me later to make love, and all was well, both in his approach and function throughout. It was because I was so relaxed and unconcerned that he felt free to try again that day, without feeling pressured and nervous. So, thank you! What could have become a cycle of tense, problematic and almost sex-killing conversations, became just a normal and expected part of the process for us.

  7. Kudos to hisjalapenopepper! 😀 That’s great!!

    Does anybody have any good results from using herbs to treat ED? I know there are some powerful herbs for sexual performance…

  8. In response to Isaacsgirl…Zenerect is a natural herb male sexual enhancer it worked for my husband it continues to provide erections throughout 72 hours after he takes 2 pills. This past weekend he tried another of the same type of natural product and it works just as great as Zenerect, but I think even better because this one is cheaper…Vicerex. You can order from their website or even Ebay…www.vicerex.com, Give these a try , they really work without any side effects because they are all natural… Hope this info. helps

  9. Only a doctor can say for sure, and I understand that Ms. Jordan can’t give out too specific of an answer, but it sounds like your husband may have an ED condition that can best be addressed with medication. I relate to your story 100%, as one who was married a virgin at 20 yrs old to a man my own age, also a virgin for all intents and purposes…and we learned very early on about his ED problem. My husband didn’t understand why I didn’t want to give him oral to help the erection come back either (like you, I was more than a little turned off by putting his penis in my mouth while it was soft). It took him years (as in, a decade) to come to terms with this legitimate medical condition; as one who has been through it, I would not recommend that course of action. If he had been okay with seeing the doctor early on, it could have saved us years of grief. Lovingly assure him, pray for him, and when he’s ready, go with him or don’t go with him (whatever he wants)…but sooner is definitely better than later.

  10. We had this too!
    We were both 23 last year when we got married, no porn issues, virgins, basically the same.

    This problem with ED lasted probably the first month. The issue was mostly solved when I got on birth control. We had been using condoms and this was my hubbies main problem. But even after condoms were out of the picture it took a while for the ED to resolve– it was largely about him getting his confidence back.
    Also he would get super frusterated and fixated on the problem when he lost his erection. After a while I told him it hurt me when he did this, and that when he lost his erection I really just wanted him to be calm and snuggle and if it happened, it happened. This might not work for everyone but it was so helpful for him. Just chilling out about it, helped him to let go of it psychologically I think.

    It may just take some time. And taking some focus off his penis. :o)

  11. I have been married 3 weeks. Before we were married we fooled around a bit and had no problems. My partner is 26 and i am 23, i have had sex before. He says he is worried he wont be able to please me. I have tried to be so reasuring. Since we have been married we have had sex properly 3 times. Everytime after that he goes down and we have to work at it., most times it never recovers. Now it goes up and as soon as we start is down again. Each time it happens i feel like we become realy shut off from one another. Last night we tried to talk about it and it he ended up punching a whole in the wall.

    I know he doesnt need medication becuase he can get it up and there was no problem before. I feel like he feels totally guilty when we have sex. His mum was constantly on his back about keeping pure for marridge.

    I also feel maybe iv put to much pressure on him, maybe i want sex to much and tried to hard to quick.

    We both feel so down about it, its a huge problem. I love sex and want him so bad but cant get it, the thought brings me to tears.

    I dont believe in medication, i know its all the mind. At the moment we are both so angry at God and Christians for the huge guilt trip often attach to sex. I find sex talk amoungst christians so difficult and frustrating.

    This cant continue, i can see it leading to depression, i can tell he already looks depressed about it., he has even mentioned how down he feels. Should we see someone soon or just lay off and take it heaps slower???

    I’v tried relaxation with him, it worked but now he is trying to hard to relax, its a vicouse circle.

    Please Help : (

  12. Rose–

    Congratulations on your new marriage! I realize that this is a really hard time for you. I want to encourage you to not blame God for your problems right now–and it is a problem for the two of you to face together.

    You say that you “messed around” before marriage. I would encourage you to confess your sin to God. (It is not like He does not know about it!) I John 1:9 says that when we confess our sin to God, He forgives us. Going in humility to God pleases Him.

    He created marriage. He created pleasure. He created the awesome one-ness of sex.

    I would encourage you to spend some time (together, if possible) listening to the Peasant Princess series of Podcasts by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill. He explains, from Scripture (Song of Solomon), and from personal experience, how sexual involvement before marriage can mess things up between a husband and wife, and also how to get things right between you and your husband and God. Please don’t just try to fix this problem on your own. If you are interested in the Peasant Princess podcasts, I don’t remember exactly which ones to point you to–there are about ten podcasts. Each one has several Q & A sessions following them, where he and his wife answer lots of questions. They are pretty good, and very encouraging.

    You are right that the spiritual/mental/emotional part of your relationship needs to be dealt with, before the physical part can work “right”. My prayers are with you for courage, steadfastness, love, and a gentle spirit–may you be ready to hear God’s Word, and be a woman who lives it out–and may you and your husband always be satisfied with each other.

  13. It easier for those on the outside with the advantage of time and distance to feel they have ideas how to solve the problem, but some of us may forget what it felt like when we were there.

    First, it’s no one’s fault– not yours, not his, not God’s. It just IS, that is all.

    You’re right about it being a vicious circle and you have to break it. My suggestion is decide for a week or two not for him to have an orgasm. Simply play, lick, suck, feel, and bask in the glory. Cuddle, snuggle, and kiss, and let him know he pleases you. It’s possible the two of you will find you like some things better than standard intercourse 101 and that’s okay.

    And yes, seeing a counselor is never out of the question, but shop for a good one. Counselors and therapists are not all created equal.

    Blessed be.

  14. By “on your own” I did not mean with a counselor, necessarily–I mean that this is an issue for both of you to work on, and to keep God in the big picture. If you need to confess sin, do it. If it has been confessed, bask in forgiveness.

    I love the suggestion to enjoy each other without making PIV “standard intercourse 101” the goal.

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy: (Proverbs 15)

    15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.

    16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?

    17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.

    18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

    19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be captivated by her love.

  15. “Counselors and therapists are not all created equal.”
    Are you sure that this is so?

  16. This post hits close to home. My husband and I have been married for 3 months and have not had intercourse because his erection goes away too quickly. He never had sex before marriage and has never climaxed in his life.

    He wept on the second night of our honeymoon and there have been many tears (from both of us) and frustration since then. For us, it’s not only about the sex but about being able to have children.

    I can’t figure out how to not be totally devestated by our situation because we both waited so long to be able to enjoy sex in marriage. We have figured out other ways to pleasure each other, but I can’t shake the feeling of discontentment because we are missing out on this special act of oneness. We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed but over three months nothing has changed.

    I’ve talked to him about seeing a doctor, but shame, pride and fear have prevented him from actually taking the action steps. Much of it is psychological for him because, in order to stay “pure” as a Christian teenager, he started thinking sex was gross and shameful. Now I think those feelings are still deeply rooted within him. I wonder, will we ever get rescued from this sexless marriage? Will he ever climax? Is there something I can do to help him get to climax? I’ve tried so many different physical and verbal approaches with no avail…

  17. Give it time. My husband and I are struggling with the same thing and we’ve been married over 7 months. I thought we were the only newlyweds going through this. From what I know right now, sometimes it’s the stress of work or other life situations. At least for now, instead of looking at the situation as a possible “failure to be able to have children”, view it as an opportunity to grow together. Take the burden of having children off of your husband and put it in the Lord’s hands. Let your husband know when you’ve done that in all honesty and reassure him how great of a husband he is. You can read books on your own in how to please him, but don’t force him to read them with you. Be as sexy as you possibly can, suprising him with sexy clothes and “what’s your fantasy” nights. Don’t make him getting hard as your goal, let that be the “cherry on top” …hahaha no pun intended 🙂

  18. Thank you. I too am going through the same thing. I keep telling myself that there is a reason for it and that it has to make us closer in other areas of our relationship.

  19. hi Ladies, my hubby’s problem is slightly different. He has ED, but with a lot of manual/oral stimulation it can become hard enough for penetration (some times). The question is: any advise on the possible success of the flexible penis enhancer, the one like a soft open-ended tube to slide on the penis and allow penetration with it? My husband thinks that once he is inside me, the excitement will let him grow to full size avoiding all he mental stress, which the killer at that moment. Any thoughts or advise, public or personal?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Comments RSS

  • Click here
  • January 2010
    S M T W T F S
  • Archives