How to get my penis to work as intended
July 19, 2010 7:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm a sexually unexperienced man with a problem. It might just be the standard problem, but there's a weird twist that makes me a bit paranoid. Googling the archives gives me nothing applicable.

Just to start, I have no problems getting erect & climaxing through masturbation, plain jane pornography or erotic thoughts. I'm a relatively healthy 24 year old, drink on occasion, don't smoke, kinda shy, and obviously a bit embarrassed. Whenever I'm having physical contact with a girl who I'm attracted to (not just make out/heavy petting sessions, but evens hugs/holding each other), my penis goes into retreat mode.

I would imagine that this would be just a confidence issue, but whenever I check my penis, there's a small bit of a a clear discharge, not more than drop or two. It's not semen, but maybe seminal fluid? This scares me. I know you're not a doctor, but is this normal?

If so or if even it's just a psychological issue, what type of doctor should I be seeing? I'm in the NYC area, how would I best find this type of doctor? Any recommended online resources for overcoming stage fright & penis leakage? is the disposable email account.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total)
pre-ejaculate is normal, don't worry about it. It's a lubricant.
posted by HuronBob at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2010

posted by HuronBob at 7:11 PM on July 19, 2010

what, i'm the only one awake???

my last comment on this... relax...just, relax... what you're experiencing is pretty normal. Enter into sexual activities with someone you trust with no expectations...allow things to develop... all will be well... listen to this a few times.
posted by HuronBob at 7:18 PM on July 19, 2010

You show all the classic signs of virginexia nervosa. That is, you are just fine and you are perfectly normal. The next time or two you start getting cuddly with someone, excuse yourself for a moment and go to the bathroom and pop a Viagra. (WARNING: this requires you to be comfortable with a pharmaceutical remedy for a very minor psychological issue, and that you obtain the pill beforehand.) Things will work as nature intended, and the next time you6 won't be so nervous, and you'll stop worrying about things, and everything will function just fine after that.
posted by Mr. Justice at 7:21 PM on July 19, 2010

Really? Viagra for a healthy 24 year old who doesn't have problems in general getting it up? I'm really curious about whether a doctor would actually prescribe that.

Anonymous, when you say "whenever" you check your penis there's some discharge -- do you mean all the time, like when you've been reading a book or having dinner or out for a jog? I'm not a guy, but I think that might be considered outside the realms of strictly normal, and worth seeing a doctor about. A general practitioner should be fine, they can refer you to a specialist if they think it's necessary. But if by "whenever" you mean any time you've been excited or aroused, then HuronBob is spot on with saying that it's normal.
posted by vytae at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2010

That's the sign of a healthy Cowper's gland. That stuff is there to de-acidify your urethra and get it slippery so your sperm can zip through and not die in uric acid. So that part is working just exactly as planned!
posted by adipocere at 7:36 PM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

The clear drops of liquid are, as huronbob says, pre-ejaculate and are to be expected. Women who are into you will find it hot (or, at least, I find it so) and fun to ...uh, do things with.

As far as stage fright, I think generally (again, just based on my limited experience in dealing with men with stage fright) as you get more comfortable with one women (working your way from hugging to kissing to gradual nakedness in several sessions) it should subside. An uncooperative penis at the very beginning of a relationship is in no way unusual; everyone gets nervous to one degree or another. If it continues to be uncooperative after several tries at sex, then you might profit from medical advice or treatment.
posted by frobozz at 7:37 PM on July 19, 2010

Do not take some random dude's advice on ingesting prescription drugs.

What you described sounds completely normal. The clear fluid is your body giving you some lubricant to ease the process that it feels might be about to happen. This fluid does contain some sperm.

It really doesn't sound like anything other than a bit of anxiety. That will probably go away with a bit of experience and time.

If the anxiety gets to be too much then maybe some counseling for that issue. If you really feel the need to see a medical specialist then you'd want to see a general practitioner first and ask then ask them about possibly seeing a urologist.
posted by Babblesort at 7:40 PM on July 19, 2010

Really? Viagra for a healthy 24 year old who doesn't have problems in general getting it up? I'm really curious about whether a doctor would actually prescribe that.

This 25 year old friend of mine - who was pretty sexually experienced but all of a sudden started having difficulties due to anxiety - managed to get a prescription without any problems. It can happen, though at the time we were graduate students and on a college campus.

posted by dd42 at 7:43 PM on July 19, 2010

I agree with the others about the pre-cum.

Maybe try some pot or something else relaxing before you go all the way? Even if you do have stage-fright, just try and relax a little bit until you're into it more. Taking it slow seems to be a good way for you to go, and if you're with a lady who's worth your time, she'll understand. It happens. Have fun!
posted by elder18 at 7:50 PM on July 19, 2010

I think you definitely need to make some appointments with Dr. Foreplay. The doctor doesn't only take women as patients, you know!
posted by hattifattener at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Totally normal, both the precum and the hiding penis. My experience is that a shy penis will become less so once there is, you know, actual nakedness and contact and yummy fun stuff like that.

So I think you should first find someone to get naked with, and then if things aren't working quite like they should after trying a few times talk to your doctor about some Viagra. Everyone has floppy dick sometimes -- for me, the first time I'm with someone new is the killer, plus even a few beers makes an erection pretty elusive. In other words, don't sweat it, and definitely don't obsess about this to the point that you psych yourself totally out.

Another thing to remember (again, once you are naked and in bed with someone) is that dudes need foreplay, too. Most of the sex advice I can remember reading when I was younger was all about how to please the laydeez -- and don't get me wrong, those are good skills to have -- but the man's erection seemed to be presumed to magically appear when necessary. Sometimes it works that way, and sometimes it'll only happen if someone gets to work with mouth, hands, or whatever. This isn't the world's biggest revelation, I know, but I had to figure it out for myself (and harder, figure out how to ask for what I needed), and it wasn't something that the more inexperienced partners I've had were very aware of, either.

tl;dr: totally normal, but figuring it out will give you the bedroom skills you will use for the rest of your life.
posted by Forktine at 8:27 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing that you are definitely in the range of normal. Take it slow. Find someone that you like and trust and who likes you and over time this stuff will sort itself out.

Good luck and have fun.
posted by mmascolino at 8:31 PM on July 19, 2010

Viagra or Cialis has very few side effects for most men, and is very useful for psychological, transient erectile dysfunction. If you are in good health your physician will probably write you a prescription. It will work, and you'll get your feet underneath you. Don't listen to the pharmaphobes. Your problem is not uncommon. It can be fixed in a jiffy.
posted by Crotalus at 8:58 PM on July 19, 2010

I don't think it's necessary to pathologize a perfectly normal sexual response. If you're with a woman and you're a bit too nervous, the classic fix is to just concentrate on (mutual) foreplay for awhile and don't worry about how hard you are. Getting both of you really really good and very turned on is pretty damn validating, and will likely magically cure your penis of shyness.
posted by desuetude at 9:49 PM on July 19, 2010

Sounds like your equipment is in fine working order! Being a little nervous is not at all uncommon. Guys and girls can get anxious about penetrative sex, especially if it's your first time with someone. It's a tough cycle to break, too: say you're with some girl and you really like her, and you're nervous the first time and things don't "work out," then the next time you get the opportunity you might be nervous because you're afraid of a repeat of that first time. Just relax.

So how to overcome this? First identify what gets you off. Do you get turned on at all when you're making out with a hot girl? Or are you too nervous to enjoy yourself? (I can't tell from your post.) If making out doesn't turn you on, what does?

Once you've identified things that a real live not-in-a-porno girl can do to turn you on, then relax, and take it slow. I'm talking weeks before penetration is on the table. Don't think about having to get hard. Just roll around naked. You can get her off, and she should certainly try things to turn you on too, but in no way should you feel rushed, hurried, or pressured to get or stay hard. Eventually after gradually progressing through petting, making out, being naked, hand jobs, and oral sex, then you can work your way to varsity league vaginal sex. (This is, of course, assuming you're with a very patient girl, which I hope is the case.)

Seconding andoatnp's advice re.: sex education. Books and websites are good. At the top of your list should be the Savage Love online column. See, for example, this question regarding a guy who is sexually inexperienced and has difficulty staying hard during sex.

Stay away from Viagra for now - you don't need it. If you're still having troubles in a month or so, then maybe see a doc. They make a nice psychological back-up. (So I'm told. I'm a girl.)

Relax, and have fun!
posted by nicodine at 9:51 PM on July 19, 2010

I imagine that you'd follow this progression:

* Enjoy lovemaking with a patient woman who likes you. Do fun things that don't require an erection. Eventually gain confidence and lose self-consciousness, and find that hey huzzah there's your erect penis, ready for fun! If not:

* See a general practitioner. In case you are new to seeking your own health care, your health insurance company's website will list available doctors in your area who are taking new patients. Google the name of some doctors near you to check for giant collections of complaints, and if you don't find any, go ahead and call one to book an appointment. Your GP will run some tests on you and possibly refer you to a urologist or other specialist. If that doesn't seem to help:

* You may want to see a sex therapist. The AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) website has a directory of sex therapists in New York. Some take insurance and some don't, so you may need to call up your health insurance folks and figure out how much the copay, deductible, & so on will be.
posted by brainwane at 11:08 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

every guy i know who has gotten a viagra prescription and told me about it has been under 30 and simply said to the doctor, "hey, i'm having sort of a mental block" and the doctor said "here's 5 of these, that should get you on your way". the self perpetuating cycle of not being able to maintain an erection with a partner is one that can usually easily be solved by having a positive sexual experience or three. viagra a pretty easy, and in most people non at all dangerous, way to get there.

now, this works best if you have a long term partner because if i met a dude in a club and ended up with viagra sex i would be pretty freaked out, i think. it's like taking a guy home, then realizing he's on coke.
posted by nadawi at 11:59 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am not sure about the Viagra path. The last ting you want is to take that pesky pill and have your date end without fireworks... you'll be setting them off by yourself.

That said, all the advice above is pretty valid: normal, even the retreating part.

You need a partner that you feel personally secure with. If, for some reason, the retreating body part does not reveal, the emotional roller coaster could create difficulties. If you are with someone who is understanding then it will become fun instead of confrontational.
posted by Drasher at 5:39 AM on July 20, 2010

"The last thing..."
Where's that edit button?
posted by Drasher at 5:41 AM on July 20, 2010

Everyone else has pretty much covered it--brainwane said pretty much what I was going to--but I wanted to clarify another commenter's assertion that pre-cum "does contain some sperm." The path this fluid travels through the body and out the urethra actually doesn't put it into contact with sperm unless there's been a recent ejaculation, in which case it can pick up traces left in the urethra from the previous ejaculation of sperm-containing semen. (It can, however, carry HIV if it is present.)
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:29 AM on July 20, 2010

Several posters in this thread have suggested what I consider to be an overly aggressive response to your concerns. Just as I would not go see a doctor if I occasionally had a headache, but instead I would first take an aspirin, I would not go see a counselor or a sex therapist if I faced the issues you're facing, which seem to have to do with very minor and very normal anxiety. I agree with Nadawi.
posted by Mr. Justice at 6:08 PM on July 21, 2010

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