Welcome back to Guysourcing, where a panel of helpful gentlemen answer your questions! This week, inspired by a reader inquiry, we asked about erectile dysfunction: How does it happen? How often? What are your thoughts when it happens? How would you prefer a partner to respond? Below, guys share their stories of not-so-hard times.
For me it happens mostly due to the Xanax I take for anxiety problems. It's rarely a complete failure but often a matter of not quite getting hard enough to penetrate or hard enough to penetrate but not hard enough for a condom to reliably stay on. Sometimes it happens because I've drunk too much and sometimes it happens just because I'm stressed (though strangely some types of stress can make me get much harder than usual.) It's hard for me to say how often it happens. I'm in an open relationship and with my primary partner we mostly do oral sex and other things, because for medical reasons she can't use hormonal contraceptives and I worry that given the Xanax issue the condom might slip off and since neither of us wants to be parents it just seems more responsible to find non penetrative ways to get each other off. Which means I don't pay a ton of attention with her as to how hard I get. That said, she and I sometimes do want penetration — at which point I just go and take a Viagra. That's sort of a pain in the ass though because Big V does have some speed based properties and does leave me sort of wired. She'll want to sleep and I'll be wide the fuck awake with my fifth erection of the night but too sore to even go into the bathroom to do anything about it.
When I have dates with other partners or potential partners I bring Viagra along with me and leave it up to them whether they want PIV or not. Either way I'm generally happy. I've found that some women find PIV really important, some don't. Some have been happy with the situation because they know it means I'll spend a lot more time on oral sex than the average dude will (and that's cool with me because I find going down on a girl to be as exciting, and sometimes more exciting, than actual fucking.) As to how I'd want a woman to deal with it? Just understand that sex isn't just about sticking it inside and it doesn't mean we have to stop making out, touching each other, kissing each other everywhere. Some women seem to to think that the lack of an erection means that the sexytimes have to stop — and they don't. Just because I'm not sporting wood does not mean I'm not turned on. I am, it's just the meds get in the way of the plumbing sometimes. Also understand that what my dick does has nothing to do with you or how attractive you are. It has nothing to do with you at all and simply has to do with my body chemistry.
I've actually never had trouble getting hard ... I tend to have more trouble lasting long. In either case, if trouble arises, I think a nice way for you to respond is to keep your body close to his and make the problem less relevant by asking in a warm tone of voice, "would you like to _____?" or "would you like me to _____?". Fill in the blank with something sexual that you know he enjoys that doesn't require him to be hard. Perhaps safest are ideas not involving his penis: "would you like to spoon me?", "would you like to wrestle me and pin me down?", "would you like me to give you a back massage?", "would you like to spank me?", "would you like me to spank you?", "would you like to finger me?", "would you like to feel and kiss my breasts?", "would you like to feel and kiss my legs and ass?", "would you like me to peg you?", "would you like to put your head in my lap while I run my hands through your hair?", "would you like to do me with a strap-on or vibrator?", "would you like to hold each other and just look into each other's eyes for a while?" The two important factors are (1) that you are reasonably sure that you both enjoy this activity as an end in itself, and (2) that he doesn't worry that you are suggesting it as a means to get him hard. (To prevent that worry, you could follow up your sexy question with a clear statement like like "it's okay if we don't have sex tonight... I'm just asking if you'd like to _____ because it might feel nice for both of us.")
Annoyingly, I've only had performance problems during my first couple times being intimate with a girl. I'm at my most nervous, I'm most focused on performing, and I'm at risk of just kinda...not achieving liftoff. After I get more comfortable with her, it ceases to be a problem. I think my brain and my junk are cross-wired to sabotage potential one-night stands. I hate when it happens; I feel like less of a man, like I'm trapped by my own shortcomings. And I've never had someone be cruel or unpleasant about it, but overcorrecting by excessive sympathy (too much head-petting, cooing, or "let's talk about it") can be almost as bad. The best thing a lady can do is not to overreact. "Sorry, that really sucks, but don't let it bug you. We'll try again later," would be my ideal reaction.
Though I've yet to be blessed with what I'm apparently supposed to have every time I drink whiskey, I guess I'd hope that my partner wouldn't try to cheer me up with an almost backhandedly encouraging, "It's okay; it happens to everyone." But more importantly, I hope I'd realize that just because I'm not functioning correctly, that doesn't mean she isn't. Sadly though, knowing myself, I'd probably have to preface that by running around yelling stupid things like, "Well call me Dennis Rodman because my dick's broken!" until I remembered the task at hand. Then there's a good chance I'd laugh at "task at hand."
Image by Jim Cooke and Kazyavka/Shutterstock