Does he have ED? Or am I making a big deal out of nothing?
March 5, 2009 11:09 PM   Subscribe

[explicit sexual content filter] I'm trying to figure out if this guy I'm seeing is suffering from impotence or if I'm just expecting too much... I've seen this question posed a few different ways on MetaFilter, but not from the perspective of a woman. I don't feel comfortable talking about the possibility of ED with him, but at the same time this could be a deal breaker for me... help?

So, we've only been seeing each other casually for about six months. He's 38, I'm 27. He was married for 10+ years until 2007, so he is having a lot of trouble with condoms... which is understandable, I suppose, since he didn't have to use them for so long. I also understand that he could be dealing with some emotional upset regarding his divorce, especially since she left him and not the other way around.

This is what usually happens when we get physical: we have *great* chemistry and kissing is fantastic. He's very much into oral sex, and that's working great for me, too. The problem lies in us eventually getting ready for penetration... the condom comes out, he fumbles, and by the time he gets the condom on, he's soft. I mean really soft.

It's not just the condom that makes him soft, though... generally, he is hard when we are first making out, but he becomes soft quickly once we get more into things. Sometimes he'll even be soft when I'm going down on him.

It's definitely frustrating because I want to have SEX with him, and I almost always end up feeling dissatisfied. He *is* able to ejaculate (once he was able to climax while I went down on him, and twice he has gotten himself off in front of me).

The other thing is... I think his penis is much smaller than average. I would estimate that it's maybe... 4 inches when hard? But honestly, I don't care, and I tell him that I like it and want it, etc. etc... but maybe that is part of his (mental) problem with staying erect?

What do you guys think? He blames the condoms left and right when things go wrong, but I'm not so sure that's really the issue here.

As an aside, I have only been with three other guys in my life, so I feel a little bit inexperienced with this sort of thing. I've never been with a guy who had trouble getting and staying hard, though, so I don't know how common this might be. Thanks for your help.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Could be many things. Could be age. Could be condoms. Could be discomfort about the new situation or missing the comfort of knowing what was going on. Getting used to condoms can be really diffiicult for some men when they're not used to using them. Try different brands, there is a surprisingly big difference.
posted by bluejayk at 11:18 PM on March 5, 2009

He should try ed medication such as Viagra,Levitra, or Cialas after consulting with his doctor. This should take care of the problem.
posted by Daddysugar at 11:47 PM on March 5, 2009

It might be physiological.

But, I wonder if it's not his ex-wife's fault. I can easily imagine that he may have gone the last five years without sex and is deeply afraid that his "performance" won't be very good.

I can also imagine that he may have spent the last years of his marriage mixing sex with all sorts of emotional weirdess. That can also fuck a dude up.

Viagra's great, though, I'm told.
posted by Netzapper at 11:54 PM on March 5, 2009

So... how does one bring up this topic? We're still really just casually seeing each other, and I don't want to put him off by saying something like, "so, you know how you don't get hard very often?" ... ehhh... guys, really, what do you think?
posted by bacall423 at 12:09 AM on March 6, 2009

You could try putting the condom on him. With your hands. With your hands + mouth...

He probably is already having (acknowledged) emotional/psychic problems about not being hard around you. Most of the time; just giving it time for him to be 'comfortable' around you will 'cure' things.

Are there things that you do that gets him hot? You could play it up and... pronounce, "Hey _____, I fucking want you to fuck me RIGHT FUCKING NOW"... or somesuch.

It's possible that it's a guilt thing that he feels while he's with you, what with the ex. If you really dig this guy, stick with it and make it absolutely clear that you dig him.

Guys tend not to respond to stimuli like girls. If you think that it's a problem, say straight up "lets go to a doctor and get you some fucking Viagra so we can fucking fuck.
posted by porpoise at 12:25 AM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think a lot of us have trouble staying hard with condoms. I think for a lot of us it isn't an issue at all. So it really runs the gamut.

Your question now is "how does one bring up this topic?" I think you start by asking what he likes in bed, what kind of fantasies does he have, what would he like you to do, that sort of thing. And definitely this conversation has to happen not in bed, but over dinner or on the phone or something, more in some low pressure place.

And then when you've talked about this a bit, you can say, so am I doing everything ok? those condoms are a drag, eh, how can we make it so you stay hard, because I really like you and I'd like you inside me, etc, etc. I think a frank discussion can happen away from the bedroom, where it's hot, it's sexy, it's a bit awkward, but you should both be able to freely talk about what's going on.

And if you re-iterate all that stuff about how you like how he goes down on you, how you like the way he kisses you, all that good stuff, it will help. You want to take any pressure off him performing, and you want to create an open communication between you that you like him and that all is ok.
posted by miles1972 at 12:26 AM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

... the condom comes out, he fumbles, and by the time he gets the condom on, he's soft.

Condoms can be a big shriveler. As a guy it took me a while to learn that either I needed to get really smooth with the condom application -- one smooth motion from in the packet to ready for action -- or to put it on early with the expectation that limpness would happen and and future bi-directional attention the situation would repair its self. Before that I would be absolutely primed and ready to go, apply the latex and then be really disappointed by what happened next.

One big problem with a guy is that when he's unhappy with what the penis is doing it only gets worse after that.

On the other hand: ... he is having a lot of trouble with condoms... which is understandable,

Uh. Condoms really aren't that complex. They can fit the instructions on the package. Using a toothpick is more complicated. That is what we call "an excuse". I think a lot of guys when they turned whatever age bought some condoms and practiced putting it on solo so they'd be prepared in the heat of the moment. But consider helping him with it. (Some guys are super into this, some guys not-so-much.)

But... I think you might be on to something that it's a general confidence thing. The best thing you can do is completely ignore it. Don't point out that it's okay, that it doesn't matter if he's short and soft (ouch!) and don't mention how big and hard it is. (He knows that's BS, he's been gym.) Just enjoy the hell out of being with him. Try to time the events so that penetration happens close to the things you know make him hard and take the condom application into your own hands. (or mouth. Or whatever).

And keep on trying. 38 is old enough that he's not popping off like he's 18 (which is a good thing) but also shouldn't need drugs. I mean clearly he doesn't need drugs, he can get hard. You say you're dating casually, which might be it. He just might not be comfortable enough with you yet. Do you go for it once a week or 8 times a week? Ramping up (or down) the frequency might help him be more comfortable with what's going on.

Can you get off by being on top and rubbing you clit on him without him inside of you? Showing that big hard cock-ness isn't important to pleasing you might let him relax enough to perform.

I disagree with the "go Viagra!" crowd is wrong. He can get hard. That's not what boner pills are for.

<small> tag irony

On preview: Don't bring it up. And by that I mean don't talk about it, especially with a causal dating partner. No guy wants to have a talk about limp dick. If you do he will never ever be able to have you and his dick in the same room without thinking about how it's underperforming, which only makes it shrivel even more. Sorry. If it's a deal breaker it's a deal breaker, and that's okay. Find someone that can do it for you.
posted by Ookseer at 12:28 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

This sounds emotional not physical. Take charge. Tell him how awesome you think he is in bed. You put the condom on. etc. You probably do need to have an overall talk with him about the subject though as I am sure that each time he approaches the act he becomes paranoid of being unable to perform, and his paranoia becomes self fulfilling. Tell him you don't care (even if you do), that you will have fun regardless, etc. such that the prospect of failure does not seem so large so perhaps he will worry less. Also, make sure he hasn't been drinking too much.
posted by caddis at 1:14 AM on March 6, 2009

I am wondering why the need for condoms in an exclusive relationship? Could you go with other birth control methods?

Some men will just never be able to have enjoyable sex with condoms.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:02 AM on March 6, 2009

1) Get tested.

2) Coitus interruptus.

Contingency step:

3) Viagra.

Contingency contingency step:

4) Poor man's Viagra.
posted by dgaicun at 2:42 AM on March 6, 2009

While it's always possible that he's just not into you, it is also true that condoms can be a problem, especially if you're not used to them. The interruption, the awkwardness, even the chemical/drugstore sounds and smells of crinkly plastic can be a psychological mood-breaker, so I don't think you're necessarily off base there.

If you can find a (safe!) way to have a sex life together without condoms, it will go a long way to help his whole satisfaction... and indirectly, yours.

As for "How does one bring up this topic?" the answer is a simple: be supportive. Asking "What can I do to help?" will go a long way.

(Whispering "...I'll do ANYTHING..." might also work wonders.)
posted by rokusan at 2:50 AM on March 6, 2009

Try a non-latex condom.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:08 AM on March 6, 2009

But, I wonder if it's not his ex-wife's fault. I can easily imagine that he may have gone the last five years without sex

Wha - hun??! Jeez, sure, it's her fault.

I would probably bring it up. (And I'm pretty sure that *is* what Viagra is for, both in my experience and according to the official website.)

Re condoms, OP says it's casual dating, so that's probably not changing immediately.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 3:56 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Only once in my life did I ever have a problem with limp dick, and it was a time when I had been with one partner for what at that point was a long time (a year) and then we had broken up and I was with a new partner for just a few months and sometimes was still thinking of the previous partner. I can't remember exactly but this phase (just a one-night lack of stand, really) was over quickly.

Great that you are bringing up the subject. Indeed, the problem could be partly your own insecurities as well as his. I recommend that you do bring it up, but far away from the bedroom, in a context very nonsexual with NO external distractions. And be prepared to be a good listener. For instance, perhaps you would be alone at your apartment in the afternoon, and just lazing around, and say, "I'd like to talk with you about something that has been on my mind. Are you ok spending a half hour talking with me?" if yes, then, "I am attracted to you, and horny, desire you very much. Sometimes, I want to have sex, then I notice that your hard-on goes away. Can you tell me whether you've noticed anything like that and whether you have any thoughts on it?"

If you are confident that you are monogamous, another possibility is to just get STD tests, then (if you don't want a child with him now) go on the pill, and just have unprotected sex. You might also be able to skip over foreplay, I think it is over-rated. Just strip and go.
posted by peter_meta_kbd at 4:03 AM on March 6, 2009

I believe that's what we call old-dude dick. He needs to get more cardio exercise.
posted by gjc at 4:07 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

He can get hard. That's not what boner pills are for.

This is incredibly wrong and the reason why you should probably get him to see a doctor. 'Boner pills' are often used to combat anxiety related issues as they relieve the psychological pressure of continued erection maintenance to the point where maintaining an erection seems normal and unworrisome. There are also physical conditions, such as venous leakage, where the blood goes in but is not retained, leading to an unsustained erection. If it's the latter, then no amount of folk remedy is going to do anything but cause further embarrassment and frustration.
posted by Sparx at 4:20 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's not just the condom that makes him soft, though... generally, he is hard when we are first making out, but he becomes soft quickly once we get more into things. Sometimes he'll even be soft when I'm going down on him.

Guys, you might want to stop focusing on the condom and read that part again. OP, I think he's not ready to have sex with you, that's all. Whether he's not over his ex, or he's still mourning his marriage, he's not ready to move on yet.
posted by headnsouth at 5:29 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I think you just need to give him time. Six months isn't very long, especially after a decade of marriage that might have screwed him up in who-knows-how-many ways. I'd say take intercourse off the menu for the time being. Of course, you say you want to have sex with him--and that's perfectly valid and you need to get your needs met too--but that just might not be possible for the time being. Either wait it out for a while longer or move onto someone else.
posted by Neofelis at 5:36 AM on March 6, 2009

And keep on trying. 38 is old enough that he's not popping off like he's 18 (which is a good thing) but also shouldn't need drugs. I mean clearly he doesn't need drugs, he can get hard.

Wrong. ED therapy can be useful for younger men. Although they don't advertise this in their television commercials, even some teenagers can have problems staying erect, which can be due to either psychological or physiological problems. Viagra works for both.

A couple of suggestions. First, start a conversation with him about the subject-- bearing in mind that for him it will be a humiliating and difficult topic, so be as non-confrontational and matter of fact about it as possible. Offer to support him in any way which could mean going with him to a doctor or trying different sexual positions or going very slowly.

Second, try some other activities with him. Try masturbating in front of him. Give him a titty fuck in front of a mirror. Talk dirty while wearing something provocative. Bear in mind that ED can be a vicious cycle-- he fails and then next time he is worried about losing his erection and that leads to more pressure so he fails again. Etc.

I have to warn you that dealing with this can be very stressful for both of you, so if it is a casual thing on your part, you might want to re-evaluate how much effort you want to put into the relationship. Even if you have a successful sexual encounter this time, the problem may be on-going and require lots of understanding and work from you.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:02 AM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

From my perspective, what's happening is clear.

1- Condoms suck, especially for someone of that age who has been in a long relationship where they were not needed. And if he also believes they suck, then it just becomes a vicious circle.

2- The transition from hot and heavy while making out, to him giving you oral sex, to then trying to have sex is a momentum killer (I've had this happen to me many times). I would strongly suggest going directly from the making out (while he's hard) stage to the sex stage a few times to build up some confidence.
posted by eas98 at 7:05 AM on March 6, 2009

Whatever the problem is, it's a one-pill fix. Why drive yourself and him crazy trying to figure out something he problem doesn't fully understand or want to talk about anyway? Get some damn viagra.
posted by hayvac at 7:07 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I mean "trying to figure out something he PROBABLY doesn't fully understand . . .".
posted by hayvac at 7:08 AM on March 6, 2009

Wow, almost thought you were dating my ex-boyfriend until I read the ages....(hope he doesn't read MeFi).

He was also in his 30s, and had come out of a two-year relationship (with a girl that, I found out later, he was not really over). Don't you sometimes wish you could contact his ex just to ask if this was a problem for her, too? Sigh.

The problems started happening several months into the relationship, like yours. For our first month we were hot and heavy with no sex, but he was really pushing for the sex (in a good way). We had sex a couple of times -- he was really quick and not too hard, but I thought, no big deal, obviously this will get better, everything else is great in bed and he's great, so I didn't worry about it.

But I think he did. He eventually stopped initiating sex, to which I said, okey-doke, as long as he's initiating other stuff, that's just not what he's ready to do right now, he's stressed, blah blah, it was fine. Then he stopped initiating anything sexual, then he stopped initiating any physical contact at all. I waited until this point to bring it up, although maybe it was too late -- he was unwilling to/incapable of talking about it.

What I'm saying is either bring it up or break up, because it's probably not going to change, especially if he hasn't said anything or made any indication that he is dealing with it. I'm sure he knows that you want to have sex, and I'd think that he'd rather go out and secretly get a Viagra prescription than have to talk to you about it, so to me this seems like he doesn't want to acknowledge it (I could be completely wrong here, don't have a penis). And I'm telling you my story because when I was having this problem, almost all of the advice/information I could find was for couples who'd been married for years or old men, and it really just didn't apply.

I said one day (and agreed that it should be a non-sexual situation) "So... I noticed we're not having sex anymore... and I really wish we were. Is there something we can talk about? It doesn't have to be right this second if you want to think, but I'd like to talk about this because it's important to me and I really miss having sex with you."
posted by thebazilist at 7:18 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think it sounds like the momentum breaking is a big issue here. So try doing some other things with the condom on. Give him a handjob while he's wearing a condom. Give him a blowjob while he's wearing a condom. Masturbate together while he's wearing a condom.

The more you incorporate the condom as a regular part of your sex play, the less it'll be a flashing red sign that says FUN SEXY STUFF OVER. TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. That's enough to wilt anybody's enthusiasm.

(Not that I'm saying intercourse isn't fun and sexy. But it sounds to me like you're messing around and everything's fine, and then everything grinds to a halt while he puts a wrapper on and the mood just dies. Don't let yourselves say "Time to stop having sex while we deal with the condom." Make putting the condom on part of the game, too--have him lay back while you open it and slowly, sexily roll it onto him.)
posted by EarBucket at 7:29 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Speaking from experience - it isn't the condom. It's the thought of the condom that makes him soft.

When you're just making out with a woman, with most/all of your clothes on, it's still all fun and games. You're not risking anything at all. You're just having a good time making out, so you're thinking about the girl and enjoying touching her and everything is great.

However, when clothes come of, things definitely get more serious. You're not just taking your clothes off for shits and giggles - you're taking them off because you're preparing to do something.

The condom takes things a step further. You could just hear the voice in his head, "Ok! Now it's time to have sex. You better be ready, or else!" Now there's all kinds of pressure. The condom comes out, and now it's the point of no return. In other words, the man is now risking something. He feels that if he can't get hard, he will have FAILED. I can tell you, there are few worse things for a man than to try to have sex and not be able to. Such a horrible, powerless feeling.

Fortunately, I really have a lot of hope for you guys. Why? Because he has you! You sound really awesome and understanding. Even though he's been unable to have penetrative sex, you're still with him, you still like him, you let him go down on you, and you're genuinely interested in helping him. That means so much! You really are an awesome woman. I think to a guy who can't get it up, the worst part is in thinking, "what if she dumps me because of this or doesn't want to sleep with me again?"

One thing you may want to try - help him take the pressure off himself. He's putting a lot of pressure on himself probably, and it's making things more difficult. This is what I would do - start spending more time with him unclothed in bed, just hanging out and cuddling. You don't even need to be doing anything sexual. Just holding each other, touching and caressing each other, kissing each other and making out. Make it a part of your normal thing. Make sure he knows that you aren't demanding anything of him, that you don't need to have sex, and that you just enjoy being together and touching each other. Eventually, you can start stroking him "down there," or working towards something more sexual.

And yes, Viagra can certainly help. I've had good luck with this. After a while, as he becomes more comfortable, he can wean himself off. But honestly, if you're willing to work with him on it, it may be better to try it without the drugs. It may bring you closer as a couple.

I don't know the man so I don't know what put him in this state. Could be his ex, could be a combination of things. I do know, however, that it can be a vicious cycle for a man - once you've had problems getting it up, the self-hate sets in, and it only makes things worse. I always have the most trouble the first time with a new woman or the first time after a long dry spell. What you want to do is break that cycle, and make sex sort of like how making out is - not a burden, not a trial, not a high-stakes gamble. Just an enjoyable thing that you can do because you like each other a lot and touching feels good.
posted by Jake Apathy at 7:30 AM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

Have his testosterone level checked. Get a vibrator or 2 and play.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:55 AM on March 6, 2009

Get him to wear a strap on.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:17 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

[Interesting discussion.]

PLEASE don't forget the stimulation of the largest sex organ he has. The BRAIN!

If you got that one going, the one below will stand to attention.
posted by Drasher at 10:32 AM on March 6, 2009

Completing BobbyDigital's sentence: "Get him to wear a strap on"... if you want him to be deeply insulted & hurt, and probably end the relationship as quickly as possible.

Jeezus, WTF?

I mean, if erections are no problem, and it's kinky-fun-time, sure, what the hell. But if he's suffering from psychologically based ED (ex-flame, insecurities about size, nervousness, whatever), asking him to replace his physical erotic presence with a rubber prosthetic... shee-it.

Seconding talking to him about it. Gently, lovingly, affectionately. Address it as something the two of you have to work through, not "his problem". Reassure him repeatedly throughout that you find him sexy, that his touch excites you, that you're not unsatisfied with him nor his body, etc... Keep touching him - touch is a powerful reassurance of affection.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:53 AM on March 6, 2009

Agreeing with headnsouth and Neofelis, specifically:

"OP, I think he's not ready to have sex with you, that's all. Whether he's not over his ex, or he's still mourning his marriage, he's not ready to move on yet."

I would not be so specific as to say "with you", but "with anyone". It's not about his past or present performance sexually, it's more likely about anxiety issues over things that have nothing directly to do with sex. Even if he had been the one to initiate the breakup and was glad to see her skank ass gone, it is still one of the top psychological stressors. Something he thought he could depend on in his world, even if he did not like it, is gone.

He has some work to do. Let him do it without pressure of performance. This is not likely a sexual issue, even if he wants sex now. And, it is not to say it will take forever. Sometimes it is just a simple discovery of independence or some other epiphany that crosses the line and he'll be ready.
posted by skypieces at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2009

Really great responses... thanks to everyone for taking the time to give your opinions.

To clarify a few things, we are only seeing each other casually, i.e. not necessarily exclusively. This pretty much nixes the idea of not using condoms. And no, I'm not on birth control. (He did joke about getting "male birth control," which I guess is some new fangled birth control pill that guys take? Is that for real? Hmm..)

Also, I think the condom thing is maybe 50% of the problem, since he will often lose his erection randomly when we are fooling around pre-condom. So I think many of you are dead-on about some emotional/anxiety type stuff going on.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with being with a guy who has serious performance issues or is unable to acknowledge his shortcomings... I'm still wrestling with the decision to continue seeing him or not. Maybe he does need time, and maybe I should move on to other relationships that are more satisfying.

Thanks again, and if you have any further comments I'm glad to hear them.
posted by bacall423 at 5:55 PM on March 6, 2009

It could be physical, it could be psychological - hard to tell without a bona fide medical opinion. If it's not just a condom thing, as you seem to be suggesting, then there does seem to be an ongoing problem of some description that needs to be sorted.

If you're not prepared to help him through it, whatever the cause, then let him go - you either care enough about him that way or you don't - neither is the 'right' answer and you're doing nobody any favours if you don't want to be there. Be honest, but be kind - there's a truckload of self-esteem issues tied up with this kind of thing and if you're not the right person to help him, try not to bruise him so much that he doesn't seek help at all. If he's resistant to help, then maybe losing you will spur him to action.

If he's prepared to work on it, and you're not averse to helping him out, well, that can be fun too.
posted by Sparx at 7:26 PM on March 6, 2009

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with being with a guy who has serious performance issues or is unable to acknowledge his shortcomings... I'm still wrestling with the decision to continue seeing him or not. Maybe he does need time, and maybe I should move on to other relationships that are more satisfying.

Then this poor guy is screwed. If his issue is emotional then he needs someone who is supportive and cares as much about him as they do about themselves. If you do move on, please at least don't make this the central issue in the break-up. Can you imagine how much fun he will have in his next relationship. Frankly, I think you are being a bit selfish here. Sometimes we all have to protect ourselves, true, but I perceive that this is sort of a deeper thing that has likely permeated your lovemaking sessions with him and your likely very apparent frustration with his ability to perform has only made each time more difficult. Perhaps if you had been more understanding from the beginning it would have gone better. Perhaps I am also reading too much into your comments here, but if I am right you might want to reevaluate.
posted by caddis at 4:56 AM on March 7, 2009

Frankly, I think you are being a bit selfish here. ... your likely very apparent frustration with his ability to perform ... Perhaps if you had been more understanding from the beginning it would have gone better. ... you might want to reevaluate.

For heaven's sake!! It's a casual relationship. They're not in love or engaged. She's been perfectly nice and understanding. In a casual relationship, the sex not working out well is a pretty big strike against continuing the relationship. To me it seems like this guy will do well with a serious exclusive girlfriend and maybe medication. There's no reason and no way for OP to take on this project.

I get that male performance issues are fraught and difficult, but blaming the woman (whether the ex-wife or the OP) is not really sexy or nice.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:26 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

It is very likely psychological. Therapists can help clear these problems up.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2009

Frankly, I think you are being a bit selfish here.

Dealing with ongoing ED is very, very difficult for both people involved. As the female half you have to pretend that it doesn't bother you and you don't take it personally-- i.e. you have to keep saying "It is NOT my less-than-spectacular body that is causing his loss of erection." You may find yourself losing all spontaneity because you become very wary of saying things or changing positions that might lead to a loss of erection. You may also have to put up with lots of depression and moodiness and even down right anger. You may also be asked to do things that you would not ordinarily chose to do or do things for longer than you would chose to do, all in the name of being a good support. This really is not something that can be taken light-heartedly. I would not blame anyone who is less than 100% committed to a relationship to tackle this difficult problem.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2009

I would not blame anyone who is less than 100% committed to a relationship for not choosing to tackle this difficult problem.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:09 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, damn. If you're that close to giving up, I'd say definitely suggest he try viagra. It pretty much always works. A lot of times, men just need something to "break the cycle." Once he's had sex a few times, he'll have his confidence back, and will be able to wean himself off.
posted by Jake Apathy at 9:51 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

caddis, while I appreciate your concerns, I don't care if you think I'm being selfish. Like ClaudiaCenter said, this is a casual relationship, he may be seeing other people while seeing me (and that's ok! we're not exclusive!), and I'm at a point in my life where I'm not ready for a "project" relationship.

I'm trying to avoid becoming seriously involved in a relationship that requires that *my* needs are set aside for the sake of the other person's. Women in particular are often told that we must set aside our needs for the sake of our partners emotional/mental issues. I'm done with that mindset, thanks. And I'm not looking for a long-term relationship right now (and neither is he).

The purpose of my post was simply to figure out if this is a common problem amongst guys, if it's potentially a long-term problem, and then to use everyone's responses in helping me decide to continue CASUALLY seeing him.

Did I mention we are only casually seeing each other?
posted by bacall423 at 3:11 PM on March 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Women in particular are often told that we must set aside our needs for the sake of our partners emotional/mental issues.

It still could be physical, but by all means dump the cripple. Sure he works out in other ways, but you have set a standard he can't meet at the moment.

This is not a generalised thing, this is two particular people. You have your standards. Be honest with yourself at least. You weren't asking if you should stay with him. you were looking for an escape route. Fair enough. You're might be not mature enough to handle this kind of departure from the rom-com norm. Or maybe you just find it too emotionally taxing.

Believe it or not, there is nothing wrong with that. You need the dick to confirm your relationship. You're young. Whatever. You might never grow out of it - some people don't.

Just know that this is an aspect of your character and avoid other people with the same problem in future. Having important criteria for yourself is essential in determining who your evential partner should be.

I wish you well.
posted by Sparx at 5:02 PM on March 7, 2009

If you're thinking about ending things because of it, it might be worth at least bringing the subject up with him. Either he's embarassed as anything about it or he's totally clueless. I suspect the former.

I know it sounds crazy, but there might be some innocuous reason behind it that he's too shy to bring up (maybe he really, really got used to masturbating a certain way?).

If you bring it up, at least you give it a chance to get resolved, but I think it's totally reasonable to ease up on the relationship or break things off if you feel like he's not mature or comfortable enough with himself to bring it up in the first place.

In terms of how to bring it up, I'd suggest the following.

"Baby, I'm really into you, and you turn me on alot, and I know sometimes I really turn you on, but sometimes it seems like I don't. Is there anything happening down there when we're getting together that we can talk about, cause sometimes you get really hard and then it goes away."

I'm a guy, and that doesn't sound too insensitive.
posted by fantasticninety at 5:09 PM on March 7, 2009

I'm a few years younger than he is, but I've never had a problem with taking the 5 seconds it takes to roll a condom on, so yeah this is a problem.

My experience is that usually girls are way slower and more fumbly with putting one on me, but maybe you could try that before giving up on the guy.

Ignore anyone telling you to stay with this guy if that's not what you want to do, do whatever you need, life's too short to be unhappy and it sounds like this guy has some things he needs to resolve - I'm sure you could help him with that, but if you don't want to, move on, you're not responsible for his wellbeing if you're still only casually hooking up.

There's also a possibility that he's used to some other stimulation from his marriage that he's shy to tell you about. I've never tried it, but I've heard some guys like a finger in the ass. Who knows?
posted by The Monkey at 10:54 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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