How can I get over my brain/dick insecurity thing
December 27, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

The first time I have sex with a person, I have a really difficult time getting an erection. Everything could be going right and feeling right, but I just don't get hard. Sometimes not at all. This is not a problem I have by myself or with my partner (who thinks I get hard too often, too easily as it is), so it's usually not an issue, except for the occasional threesome or one night stand. I know that it's more of a mental thing than a physical thing, but how do I overcome it.

This has been a problem for as long as I can remember. I'm not bashful about it, and in a one-on-one situation, people are usually good sports about putting in the extra effort and working me through it, but it has still ruined more than a few potentially wonderful experiences.

Also, now it's ingrained. I know that when I'm going to fuck someone for the first time, I'm not going to get hard for a while, so if I'm not, and I tell them. and they're blowing me or whatever and really trying to get me going, I'm just thinking about how long it's taking or how annoyed they must be getting, or just generally feeling immasculated.

I read in a different post that tiredness and alcohol could factor into this. I've never had a problem with whiskey dick before with anyone I've dated, and I'm usually not drunk when these things happen, but it's rare that anything like this happens for me in a situation where it's not late at night and alcohol isn't involved.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

This is a circumstance that I have encountered in the past. Despite everything that our culture tells us about male sexual response, there are elements of comfort, security, intimacy, and emotional connection that factor into the male sex experience. Don't buy into the bullshit that a man should be able to produce an erection at the sight of a willing partner: it just ain't so.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:46 PM on December 27, 2008

From a woman's perspective, I can tell you

a) It's probably NOT as big a deal to your partner as you might think it would be, especially if you have consistently indicated in other ways that you are very into her, in part because . . .

b) Many women are often in this position of everything seeming "right" circumstantially/theoretically -- and yet they simply don't feel desire. The difference is that we can fake it and you can't. (And according to fundamentalist conservatives, and a variety of social dicta a woman really OUGHT to fake it to make her man feel good.) So we do fake it. A LOT. And we appreciate that desire doesn't just show up on cue.

c) It's okay to be tired and nervous. I would say something to my partner along these lines -- you know, I am so into you, I really want to fuck you, and I would really like it if I could be at my best when sex happens. Right now I want to relax and just take all of this evening in, and hold you in my arms.

Last thing: I think it is interesting from references you make in your post that eventually this problem is overcome (and obviously with great success, if your current partner is any guide.) It might help to compare the successful times with the unsuccessful times and see whether the X factor is in fact alcohol, energy level, or just the need for more time to feel comfortable with a relationship. Maybe you are just a genuinely romantic, sensitive guy who needs a certain amount of time in a relationship before you can roar on into the sex part. There is nothing wrong with that, either.
posted by jfwlucy at 1:05 PM on December 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

Therapy works wonders for this sort of problem.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on December 27, 2008

I have a friend with the same problem who takes viagra for the first 2 weeks of every new relationship while he gets comfortable with the person. Not sure how he gets it though - maybe a therapist could hook you up?
posted by oqrothsc at 2:46 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

In my and my friends' experiences it seems around 1/4 of guys have some difficulty getting an erection with a new partner, so you are not as weird as you think, it's just that no one wants to talk about it.

I think the most productive way to cope with this is to focus on other non-penetration activities that are mutually pleasurable until you become comfortable with your new partner. Your sex partner will likely think that you are just really into foreplay.

If he/she seems to be taking it personally that you are not erect, simply reassure him/her that he/she is very sexy and you're having a great time but that your penis is always a little shy around new people. Again, it's a *really* common issue so only very inexperienced people should have problems understanding that.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:01 PM on December 27, 2008

I have this problem. There are a number of ways to cope.

(apologies if this is too graphic)

1) Choice of partner. If you think that the woman will turn tail and run at the site of a droopy penis, you probably shouldn't sleep with her. I'd hope that most women would be cool about that and give you a second chance, but if there's any doubt in your mind, stay away.

2) Drugs and alcohol. Steer clear. Alcohol has well-documented negative effects on erectile function (also known as "whiskey dick"). If you must drink, keep it to a minimum. Lots of drugs will make Mr. Happy unhappy as well. I find that pot is pretty bad about that - I never get high before sex. All of the "speedy" type drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, and meth will inhibit erections, as well.

3) Viagra. Use it. Most doctors are pretty sympathetic and will write you a scrip. What I do is use a whole pill (or most of a pill) for the first time, and then gradually taper off it each time my partner and I have sex.

4) Get used to each other. You don't need to have sex the first time you're naked with each other. If you can just get naked and cuddle some night before you have sex, you should do it. You'll feel less nervous when you're with her.

5) Foreplay. Before you go for the penetration, you should go down on her. You should probably do this anyway, since women generally get more pleasure from oral than from penetration. After you've brought her to climax (or come as close as you can), do some more cuddling and rubbing. While you're doing this, you should rub yourself against her and get good and hard. (this wouldn't be a good idea if you're a premature ejaculator, but judging from your post, you don't seem to have that problem). Don't put the condom on until you're good and hard. In fact, don't put the condom on until you've been rubbing yourself against her for a while, and are rock-hard and seriously horny. This works pretty well for me. Also, in the worst-case-scenario, where you still fail to achieve erection - hey, at least you went down on her. Women almost always appreciate this.

6) When you masturbate in your alone-time, do it with a condom on, using a light touch. Don't grind yourself against the mattress or anything like that. You'll want the sensation to be as close to sex as possible. The feeling of a vagina is usually a lot more gentle than a clenched fist. Thus Dan Savage warning men against the "death grip." Also, when you're masturbating, try to think about your partner.

Anyway, I'm glad you've posted this. I've had this problem before, and it's good to know that I'm not alone.
posted by Jake Apathy at 4:56 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Addendum :

When you're rubbing yourself against her without the condom, don't rub yourself against her crotch area. There's always the chance of some pre-come escaping, and that stuff has some sperm in it.

Also, when I mentioned tapering off the viagra, specifically I'm talking about taking smaller and smaller doses with each subsequent session. Eventually you'll be taking a miniscule amount, and then you can stop taking it completely.
posted by Jake Apathy at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

A couple more things :

Try to go as long as you can without masturbating. I know that if I don't masturbate for 2 weeks, I walk around insanely horny and get hard with the slightest touch.

Also, another reason to go down on her before penetration is that it will get her nice and wet, which is always conducive to good sex.

Finally, I should mention that these are all things that have worked for me : your personal mileage may vary.
posted by Jake Apathy at 5:20 PM on December 27, 2008

This has always happened with me. Happily I've found pretty much every woman I've slept with to be totally understanding -- from what they said, I'd guess that this happens to many, if not most, men. (However, things might be more awkward in a gay situation if person A gets hard but person B doesn't.)

I've never had a problem with whiskey dick before with anyone I've dated, and I'm usually not drunk when these things happen, but it's rare that anything like this happens for me in a situation where it's not late at night and alcohol isn't involved.

Tired and a bit drunk is a total erection-killer; add in the stress of a new partner and you don't have a recipe for success. Mostly I dealt with this by doing "other stuff" (eg oral, etc) late that first night and having intercourse the following morning. But I never went for the ultra-casual, short-term encounters, so there was always a next morning. Without that, I think cutting way back on the booze, and maybe trying out the Viagra, would be a wise idea.
posted by Forktine at 10:22 PM on December 27, 2008

I'm assuming you're a gay man--your phrasing of the question leads me to believe that, anyway--so I'm going to have to nth the recommendation of Viagra for casual encounters. I could see expecting more patience from a partner (or potential partner), but for most guys I know, they're not going to have as much patience with a hook-up. Threesomes are a somewhat different situation, assuming that it's you and your partner inviting someone in, but I'd think Viagra would be a simple solution there, too.

(I am, obviously, not a gay man. These are my opinions based on observation of and discussion with friends. YMMV.)
posted by elfgirl at 9:27 AM on December 28, 2008

« Older Listen to me and I'll write it down   |   Is my mom really not eligible for FMLA? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.