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Trouble getting erection - Linked to phimosis?

March 21 2010 at 3:55 PM
Jay  (Login frosty1003)

Hi guys

I was just wondering. I'm 20 and I've never had sexual intercourse before. I've got a new partner and we've done everything except sex. I can get a rock-hard erection when on my own privately masturbating to porn or whatever, but I'm when I'm with her and we are about to have sex, I always go flaccid.

It's really disappointing both me and my parter. Any advice to point me in the right direction at all?

Sorry if this is off-topic, but it's as serious if not more than the issue of phimosis that I have had briefly.

Thank you guys,

(Premier Login jimsplacetofixthings)

Something isn't right

March 21 2010, 4:59 PM 

This is a psychological issue, so you tell us. Are you worried about unwanted pregnancy? Scared someone might find out? The signal in your brain is stronger right now than your sexual urges, and that's what is in control.

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)


March 22 2010, 5:36 AM 

Not sure if you came here from Yahoo! Answers, where I have been attempting to publicise this discussion board, but variants of this question - with or without the reference to phimosis, or circumcision, ... or whatever - are pretty common.

And I am most happy to give you the answer - as is Jim - which is that it has absolutely nothing to do with phimosis. And whilst we regard circumcision as a terrible injury, I would have to answer the same - it would have (almost) nothing to do with it if you were circumcised - or intact. From here on, except for the last paragraph, the answer is generic:

OK, you are 20. You might as well be 13, or 15, 18 or indeed, 32. It clearly is a factor that you have as yet, not had intercourse. Mind you, the answer does not even change much if you previously had!

So we know, do we not, that "young fellows" - teenagers and indeed, 20-year-olds get erections "at the drop of a hat", sometimes to their embarrassment and despite desiring not to? Well, you may presume from this that anything you nominate - even embarrassment - will almost certainly cause an erection and almost nothing will prevent one.


This "hair trigger" reaction does not necessarily work that way. Yes, there is an over-excitability in the ("autonomic") nervous system, but it is not all one-sided - it works both ways. In fact, it is almost as common to work the other way, and that is what you are describing. Anxiety, in contrast to excitement, quashes the erection reflex. As well it should - while rapid erection and subsequent ejaculation might be considered "advantageous" for a hypothetical primitive surreptitiously spreading his seed in the neighbour's hut, if the neighbour is advancing with a spear, losing the erection and running away with your "tail between your legs" (look up what "penis" means in Latin wink.gif) is immensely more sensible.

You didn't think you were nervous? Well, you certainly should be for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you and your lady-friend are "really disappointed" if you can't seem to "get it together" for intercourse, then I actually (at least from my position of immense hindsight wink.gif) feel you are placing a little too much emphasis on intercourse as such. In fact, I wonder what you really mean by "everything except sex" because I don't really know whether what you mean by "sex" equates to how I understand it. For one thing, less than half of women actually orgasm from intercourse alone.

Now, you didn't mention the condom. Does that mean 1} It is your intention to have a child with this young lady or 2} Of course you are using a condom, but omitted to mention it. Otherwise you clearly should be particularly anxious as to whether the contraception you presume she is using is reliable. According to the lecture I attended in the last month (yes, the meal was part of the motivation for attending, but the lecturer also credits me - in fact thanked me - for asking the good questions happy.gif), as many births (that is, pregnancies that were not "terminated") are actually "unplanned" as are "intended", so you really should take that matter seriously. (And the "gold standard" in reliable contraception is the Implanon® implant ... or the Mirena® IUCD.)

So, perhaps your body is taking this matter more seriously than you think you are!

Or you may be concerned about Sexually transmitted diseases. You should be because your "new partner" may not herself be "new" to "sex", even if you are. And that is the criterion - if she has had "sex" before, you cannot know with any certainty whether she has some inobvious STD. (It is very foolish to fantasise that medical tests can tell you someone does not have a STD - they are designed to demonstrate when someone does, not the opposite.)

Or are you somehow "put off" when your partner fails to resemble - in appearance or behaviour - a "porn" actress?

These are the main things that may be "in your head", so there is no shortage of possibilities for your apparently puzzling behaviour in the erection department. I would suggest you address each of these - do you want any further hints as to how? Well, basically, if you have personally resolved the rationale of actually having intercourse and taken what you genuinely believe to be all necessary precautions, then it remains to focus not on intercourse, but on simply enjoying your time together and allowing things to happen "in their own time". We (the "old-timers") know that "in the long run", this is just as, if not more satisfying.

And the final paragraph: Yes, read back through this forum here, deeply, to learn and understand what you need to do about whatever degree of "phimosis" you have. And for "extra points", share that process with your partner.

(Login frosty1003)

Follow up...

March 23 2010, 3:51 AM 

Hey guys

Thank you as always for your prompt replies. Very much appreciated.

Following up to both of you...

1. Jim - I am NOT worried about an unwanted pregnancy, nor am I worried someone may find out. This girl and I are regarded as a couple as college so people expect us to be sexually active, as most other couples generally are.

2. Paul

Maybe we are placing too much emphasis on intercourse itself, but without doubt, that is partly my fault for not being honest and admitting to her I'm having difficulty down there (it's embarassing for a guy!). Instead I've just let us assume positions for sex and expected my penis to go flaccid and, sure enough, it has done, with embarassing consequences - namely her feeling very rejected understandably.

On this occassion when it happened recently, I finally admitted I was nervous, and although she found it difficult to understand why, she was really supportive and admitted that she wouldn't leave me for it, which of course I'm happy about. That night we really bonded, and when I mean "everything except sex", she gave me a hand-job, and I fingered her till (I'm pretty positive) she orgasmed at least once, after which she seemed very satisfied and happy for the rest of the week, despite my issues on getting it up.

Regarding contraception - We do NOT intend to have a child! But the prospect of the ACT of putting on a condom is probably adding to my anxiety, yes. But I am not nervous about contracting an STI.

NOR am I unattracted her -I've always been attracted to her and recently, when I was just kissing her and rubbing against her standing in my pants, I felt myself getting a NATURALLY rock-hard on, which did give me relief I guess, it's just when we're actually about to do it, I've never been able to stay hard, it's SO annoying. I'm definitely too aware of it/me.

Any further advice based on my follow-up would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

(Login frosty1003)

Re: Follow up

March 28 2010, 8:53 AM 

Sorry to pester, but could I get a response from you guys from my follow up? Thanks !

(Premier Login jimsplacetofixthings)

What else is there?

March 28 2010, 9:09 AM 

In reading back over the entire thread, I think we pretty much covered the concerns you expressed. Is there more to the story you haven't shared?

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)

Curiously enough ...

March 29 2010, 3:45 AM 

I do not think other people's expectations of you are as likely to influence your behaviour - particularly in this situation - as your own expectations, and perhaps you lack a degree of objectivity in presuming just what those are. wink.gif

I suggest for starters, that if you are "not being honest" with your lady-friend, then you have placed yourself in a position of a sexual "performance" where you are "analysing" for "success". That is why I advise you - as before and as ever - to focus on simply enjoying your time together and allowing things to happen "in their own time". Just lose the expectation that your sexual encounters need achieve anything - except a degree of closeness and enjoyment.

It particularly concerns me when you refer to her "admitting that she wouldn't leave me for it". That either of you - whoever it was that actually formulated this statement - could even imagine this to be a criterion of continuation of a relationship, in itself debases the relationship as not really serious. If you were going around with this notion in your head, it would be no wonder that you were having problems, and if she volunteered it in that form, then you would be perhaps less than reassured. It's simply a gross distortion of values.

Next, your suggestion that having brought her to an orgasm on this most recent occasion (and the cat-swallowed-cream consequence), might imply that you had not done so before, and further that you might have an expectation that - as I stated before - a woman can or will necessarily orgasm from intercourse alone. There's the point - for most women, intercourse is not that important, and a cuddle and hand(, mouth, whatever) stimulation is actually as good or better!

Well, it is as well - for your intended purpose - that you are not concerned about pregnancy - though I cannot quite imagine why you are not. A condom is trepidating if nothing else insofar as it carries the expectation of intercourse following. Of course people do not worry about STIs because they cannot see them in most cases.

No doubt she is attractive - just as likely more so than porn actresses. The problem lies in habituation (or expectation) to behaviour that you might have seen with some frequency (or even occasionally).

(Login frosty1003)

Thank you

March 30 2010, 5:36 PM 

Dear Paul

Thank you so much for your ever informative advice, I truly appreciate it. I will do as you say and endeavour to lose all expectations on intercourse itself, and let things progress naturally as you have recommended.

What is the best way to come out of this "habituation of behaviour" as you put it? I actually went to my local GP recently and he confirmed that, since I get morning erections and erections when I masturbate, my issue is clearly psychological, and he advised me to just be honest with my partner, and take things slowly (as you have advised).

Further, he suggested I practice some MEDITATION techniques, which I am currently using. If there is anything else you think you could offer here, I'd be very grateful

All the best,

(Login frosty1003)

Paul, please follow up one last time?

April 4 2010, 1:36 PM 

Title says it all really! Just in response to my last post, re: habituation of behavior and meditation , thank you!

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)

Dear me!

April 4 2010, 9:41 PM 

I did believe I had covered it rather comprehensively in my last post here, and frankly, you have not in fact deigned to reply to each of my paragraphs in any detail at all in order for me to offer any further clarification, so you should by no means be surprised. I make all these observations with the intention that they be fully discussed and examined as part of the management process.

We are all agreed that the matter is "psychological" and that there is no actual requirement for medical therapy - though in fact PDE5 inhibitors (such as Viagra) may be used to facilitate successful intercourse in the anticipation that this will in turn tend to reduce the anxiety element to the extent that you would no longer require such assistance.

My primary suggestion however remains to simply make it a point to enjoy your encounters for whatever they achieve, without the expectation that intercourse will happen. As part of this, I repeat yet again - in most cases (vaginal) intercourse is neither necessary nor sufficient for female orgasm or satisfaction in general (though women not infrequently choose to claim that it is purely to satisfy your expectations and/ or ingrained social expectations), which means that you should to a large extent ignore your need for satisfaction (orgasm) in favour of carefully seeking your partner's.

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