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Problems with sex
March 19, 2009 6:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm worried about my new-ish sex life with my boyfriend. Please help me figure out if everything is alright, and if it isn't what I can do.

I'll preface this question by first stating that this is all very new! We've had intercourse about 20 times, so pretty much we are just starting out.

I was a virgin (age 25) before we had sex for the first time about a month ago and he has had about six partners (age 30) in his entire life.

When we first started doing sex-type stuff (handjobs) he couldn't orgasm, but after some working through stuff he was able to come. When we first attempted to have intercourse a month ago we had some serious problems with my hymen.I took a good three weeks before we could have intercourse without serious pain for me.

Things were great for like a week, and now just recently, the last time we tried, he had problems maintaining his erection and we just gave up.

It seems like sex is an uphill battle. I feel really discouraged and don't know what to do. How can I be supportive when feel so angry and discouraged myself?

The closest sex therapist is a three hour drive away and charges $150 per hour, so we can't afford that now.

Is it normal to have these many problems? I'm really worried that he will continue to have problems maintaining his erection and that it will devolve into some sort of negative feedback loop that destroys our relationship.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
When we first started doing sex-type stuff (handjobs) he couldn't orgasm, but after some working through stuff he was able to come.

Adjustment to a new partner and/or new sensations takes time. This is pretty common.

I took a good three weeks before we could have intercourse without serious pain for me.

I'm not female, but you should probably run this by your OB/GYN the next time you see him/her, particularly if it persists. IANAD, but this is reminiscent of vaginismus. That said, sex can be umcomfortable immediately after penetration for a few times, so I wouldn't worry overmuch about it unless it persists.

Things were great for like a week, and now just recently, the last time we tried, he had problems maintaining his erection and we just gave up.

This is an entirely predictable reaction to the tree weeks of difficulty mentioned above. He may anticipate sex will be painful/unpleasurable for you even though you're both interested in it OR have some sort of other temporarily psychological thing going on. Again, I wouldn't worry unless it keeps happening. Certainly not the sort of thing for which a single incidence means calling in a sex therapist.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should try drinking a little before hand.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's normal. It's ok. Lots of people go through things like this when first having intercourse.

It sounds to me like he is stressed out because you were experiencing pain. You're stressed out about the pain and his trouble keeping an erection.

Perhaps it would help to relax. Could the two of you take a break from intercourse for a week or two? You could do other sexual things, or just be physically intimate without sex.

Are there other ways you could try to reduce the pressure both of you are feeling?
posted by medusa at 7:07 PM on March 19, 2009


You should try drinking a little before hand.

Little being the keyword. Whiskey dick would just make things worse.
posted by kpmcguire at 7:19 PM on March 19, 2009


Second the booze suggestion - a little can go a long way.

Also, have you tried doing it in the morning? A lot of guys wake up with a mild sort of priapism which won't go away no matter what you do.

You could try different locations, or maybe introduce a bit of spontaneity. Do things that make you feel naughty. A good shag in the park at night after a couple of drinks nearby can work wonders (of course, use common sense and take the standard precautions in this regard).

You do not need a "sex therapist". Some people have good chemistry in bed, others don't. Sometimes they do, but it takes time. Sometimes they get sick of one another after only a little while.

And remember, the key ingredient in any successful sexual relationship or encounter is communication.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:48 PM on March 19, 2009


Maybe you need to masturbate! Seriously! A guy relies on a girl knowing her body very well so she can inform and instruct him in how/when/what to do. If you don't know yourself, then it will be much harder for him to preform.

(What? Everybody does it.)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 8:19 PM on March 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


It seems like sex has become sort of a neurosis for both of you. This should be a fun, spontaneous time to explore and get to know each other's bodies but instead you're looking into sex therapists after one month. Something is a little off. Are you turned on by him? Do you masturbate? Have a glass or two of wine with a light dinner and take it slow. Try to keep from overanalyzing every time his erection wanes slightly.

I'm sorry that you're so angry and discouraged after a month. Please try to lighten the mood a bit and be silly, without setting these imaginary goals for yourself and your partner (did he come yet? Why not? Is it me? Why isn't he hard? Why are we having problems!?!).

Things were great for a week, and then one setback occurs and you're this upset? I don't mean to make light of anyone's sexual problems, but this seems very normal. Sometimes erections disappear. Did he seem particularly bothered by this? If it wasn't an issue for him, then it shouldn't be a big deal for you. You can still do things with toys/mouths/hands that don't require a dick.
posted by amicamentis at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Totally normal with a new partner, not just with your first.

Most of it's psychological, and worrying about it just makes it worse, of course, which is why the "have a drink" suggestion actually makes some sense. You need to reduce your worrying level.

Sex is pretty zen. You need no mind.
posted by rokusan at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2009


Lube. LUBE. Lube. Whatever you're doing. LUBE. Gallons and gallons of lube.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:28 PM on March 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Things were great for like a week, and now just recently, the last time we tried, he had problems maintaining his erection and we just gave up.

First off, that's OK and nothing to necessarily worry about. It happens, and you haven't described a chronic problem. For some guys--though, of course, I don't know yours--making a whole "issue" out of it could be counterproductive.

In the way of proactive advice: for either or both of you, a bit of exercise with some push-ups or a little weight-training can go a long way toward improving blood flow, self-confidence, and hottness, all of which contribute to erectile function.

-
posted by General Tonic at 8:35 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I first started having sex, I remember finding it difficult to relax because OMG PENIS.

Why not take it slow and leave the actual sex stuff until later? Try getting each other horny in other ways (seconding the 'gallons of lube' idea) and experiment with oral or play Just The Tip until you're ready for more.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:59 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes to lots of lube (for both of you!). Also yes to just being playful with each other. Go at it in places other than your bed, or at times other than bedtime. Use your hands or mouths without worrying about intercourse. And take orgasm off the "to do" list for both of you. This last one may seem counterintuitive -- i.e., "isn't coming the whole POINT?" -- but it's a handy way, sometimes, to take the pressure off and just find a groove whereby you can be sexual with each other without all the performance anxiety getting in the way. (Of course, I don't mean to suggest that you should actually avoid orgasm if it comes to it -- haha, I make joke! -- but rather that you don't need to consider it your goal, or the only means by which being sexual with each other is "successful.")
posted by scody at 9:01 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The general tone in here is that you may both be getting so Intent On This Being An Issue that it's now becoming a vicious circle and a self-fulfilling prophecy -- you're getting so worried about whether you will hurt or whether he'll come that you're both antsy, and that antsiness can just make things worse.

Take a deep breath, relax, and try just fooling around. If one of you has an orgasm, great, if not, then it's still fun just playing around. You've been putting a lot of pressure on yourselves and giving yourselves performance anxiety.

It happens -- people get all serious and try to have one Outcome be The Right OUtcome, and they get caught up in that to the point that, "oh, wait, yeah, sex is supposed to be FUN. That's right."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Things were great for like a week, and now just recently, the last time we tried, he had problems maintaining his erection and we just gave up.

Boyfriend advice you didn't ask for: Since this happens to everyone sometimes, a guy who can just laugh this misfire off is the kind you want to keep.

(It's also not your fault. The little guy's got a mind of his own, and your boyfriend doesn't understand it either.)
posted by rokusan at 9:14 PM on March 19, 2009


Some people can be silent during sex and still be incredibly communicative about what they need or want - others need to talk through it.

If you're already talking during sex, then you need to make sure you're being supportive and clear about what you want/need (as does your partner).

If you aren't talking, try it a bit. If you are hesitant to speak during sex - I know I am - the best suggestion I can make is to just do it. Accept that sex is an inherently silly act and accept that you may feel like a fool for mimicking porn dialogue with your ooh's, aah's and "you can't put your finger there...PUT YOUR FINGER THERE!"'s

Remember: You can be as loud as the hell you want when you're making love.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:25 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a data point, not every woman's hymen is Kleenex-thin. Some are guarded more heavily than Fort Knox. This is totally normal; google "hymenectomy" for lots of women's stories. If the tissue still hurts, see your gyn/Planned Parenthood; no sense suffering when there are easy fixes. P in the V is not the be-all-end-all; focus on the stuff that's fun and feels good. And remember, anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well.
posted by for_serious at 9:30 PM on March 19, 2009


Stop having sex. Instead, work on making love. And when willy isn't being cooperative, be extra sweet to your guy, always. When a man's junk malfunctions like that, he feels bad about his manhood. You have enormous power to make that better, or worse. So be sweet, and make it better. Of course, some guys will get more excitement if you just hop on to their face and demand some serious oral attention. And by all means, try to make time for sex in the morning! I gave up on sex at night years ago, it's just too much better in the morning to bother otherwise.
posted by Goofyy at 10:14 PM on March 19, 2009


The best thing for these kinds of situations is patience and chilling (especially for the erection things, which are often a symptom of pressure and stress). If necessary (insert legality disclaimers here) smoke a joint first. Seriously.
posted by paultopia at 10:55 PM on March 19, 2009


The oral arts have been known to work in these situations.
posted by mattoxic at 11:52 PM on March 19, 2009


Frankie says relax, so relax. You have both got each other so wound up that it's impossible for either of you to perform.
posted by dg at 6:03 AM on March 20, 2009


And by all means, try to make time for sex in the morning! I gave up on sex at night years ago, it's just too much better in the morning to bother otherwise.

Yeah, I've found this to be the case too. Daytime sex is much better because you don't have to worry about crushing tiredness.

It doesn't sound like you're having an unusual number of problems at all. Sex is a skill--it takes time to get good at it. And one instance of flaccidity doesn't mean that he has general problems with impotence.

Take the emphasis off the penetrative sex. No matter what former President Clinton says, oral counts. Handjobs count. If one type of sex, or position, isn't working for either partner, feel free to switch to another.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:39 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's definitely an adjustment period. ESPECIALLY with your first partner. Your s/o might be having trouble casting his mind back to how awkward it is to get used to having sex in the first place, let alone with someone new. Try to remind him that he was a gangly teenager once and get him to laugh it off.

Relax. Don't rush into penis-vagina intercourse - there are plenty of other sexy things. Yes, as others have said, oral sex is ideal for this. Concentrate on making each other really horny and happy as opposed to just "ZOMG! SEX!"

And yes, lube. Buckets. Slippery Stuff & Liquid Silk are two very good lubes. If you're not up to ordering lube online and there's no sex store near you, Astroglide is also quite good and available in drug stores.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:26 AM on March 20, 2009


Lighten it up.
It aint that heavy.... monkeys pull it off without a hitch. Try to laugh a bit. Have few expectations and enjoy whatever you are doing at that moment. The frustration is the biggest enemy here and it WILL perpetuate the dreaded negative loop (self fulfilling prophecy) so try to cancel that out in your head. As suggested above use your oral skills (and a bit of wine). Try serving each other just the one "course" with no expectations of another directly after. Get each other off that way completely, than you connect on that success. When comfortable move up the ladder. Sincere good luck to you both.
SG
posted by StUdIoGeEk at 8:43 AM on March 20, 2009


Frankie says relax, so relax. You have both got each other so wound up that it's impossible for either of you to perform.

This says what I was going to.
posted by ob at 9:43 AM on March 20, 2009


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