What's going on? How can we best enjoy sex?
June 29, 2015 8:35 AM   Subscribe

We've been in a relationship for some time - I am 24 and she is 28 - but we only recently started having sex regularly because we used to live a distance from each other until we (finally!) moved in together. Both of us have physical challenges that seem to be making sex less enjoyable.

Problem #1: Erection

The main challenge we seem to have is my inability to keep an erection. This issue can manifest itself in different ways: a.) not being able to get erection, b.) losing the erection after too much time has passed and losing it in the act of sex itself.

The first issue is self-explanatory - the erection doesn't happen, impotence at its finest. On average this is an issue maybe 5 out of 10 times.

The second issue occurs when I have achieved an erection. Our window of sexual exploration (i.e., positions, foreplay, etc.) is extremely small and rushed, because if I don't ejaculate in less than 5-10 minutes, I will lose my erection and it won't be coming back anytime soon. We experience this issue around 3 out of every 5 times that I am able to achieve an erection, meaning we're down to only 2 out of every 10 times we are able to have sex. A secondary issue of this is that my erection can quit even while I am penetrating her; it just...stops working?

I am on two antidepressants for depression and anxiety?

Problem #2: Female orgasm

In the end I am unable to help her achieve orgasm, either through sexual intercourse, fingering, etc. We have such a small window of opportunity to explore different positions that we are basically stuck in missionary, and the only time I have been able to help her orgasm was after at least an hour or more of straight fingering, which I don't always have the energy or time to do.

We're thinking of seeing a sex therapist to help us straighten this out. Anyone have some advice?
posted by 8LeggedFriend to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I don't think you need a sex therapist, as much as you need:

#1 A trip to your GP. Your issues maintaining an erection can be due to the drugs you are on or the combination of those drugs, and you can be screened for ED drugs as well.

#2 Sex toys, most typically some manner of vibrator.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:38 AM on June 29, 2015 [20 favorites]

DarlingBri is all over this one.
Those meds that you are on can wreak havoc on your ability to have and maintain an erection. Talk about it with your GP and be frank and adult about it. They've heard it before and can help steer you through the different types of meds, their side effects, etc and try to find one that will alleviate your depression and anxiety and still allow you to have sexy times.

And remember that PIV intercourse isn't the only game in town when it comes to making your woman orgasm. If you have to tap out due to the loss of an erection, break out the fun stuff that she loves and go for it. You can still assist and have a great time all around, no worries there. All it takes is a fun discussion about what she likes, dislikes, fantasizes about, and a sense of adventure and you're off to the races.

Good luck on this one! You're heading in the right direction!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Low testosterone can present this way... But if by chance this is part of your problem, testosterone replacement really hits sperm count.
posted by catspajammies at 8:52 AM on June 29, 2015

#1. Erectile dysfunction is a commonly-reported side-effect of taking antidepressants and antianxiety medications. I would recommend that your first stop be with your doctor, as there are a number of options available to you including changing, titrating or ceasing some of these medications, and of course there are medications specifically to help with erectile dysfunction. This can also, of course, result from things such as cardiovascular, weight and neurological factors, as well as just plain old nervousness.

#2. Is your partner on any medications? Difficulty in achieving orgasm is a commonly-reported side-effect of taking antidepressants and antianxiety medications, as well as some other medications. Is she able to achieve orgasm reasonably easily via self-stimulation? If not, this raises questions beyond the scope of your Ask. Certainly doing something to address your first question (which I would bet is a result of your medications) will overall make you more comfortable and able to take your time and mutual communication during the act about what feels good, etc. can be a key component of developing sexual compatibility. This is made a lot easier, needless to say, when both partners are already familiar with what feels good for them, puts them in the mood, helps them get off, etc. It may be worth noting that it's not necessarily all that easy for many women to orgasm from PIV sex alone.
posted by slkinsey at 8:58 AM on June 29, 2015

meaning we're down to only 2 out of every 10 times we are able to have sex.

Sex doesn't have to be just PIV. If you lose your erection, you can still kiss and touch, and give oral. Taking the pressure off of your erection may make it more likely to come back.
posted by chaiminda at 9:20 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

Based on your description, an ED med would probably fix the erection problem. Your GP might subscribe it, but if he is reluctant, see a urologist.

I can't really speak to your partner's issues except to note that pace & elapsed time can matter. A long love-making session hoping for orgasm at the end may not work as well as short and intense.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:20 AM on June 29, 2015

Before you treat it like a problem, make sure she sees the orgasm thing as a problem. Because it's very possible that she doesn't, and wishes you'd just touch her and have fun with her without it being a goal-oriented race to the finish line.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:34 AM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nthing that you need to deal with the obvious answer here regarding your own erections. For now, assume it is a drug side effect. Yes, try to resolve it, but a sex therapist is not indicated at this time.

As for her orgasms, sex is not just a physical act. It is also an emotional thing. My problems reaching orgasm were resolved via emotional intimacy and warmth more than any particular physical thing in the bedroom. Perhaps trying to connect more emotionally would be more productive.
posted by Michele in California at 9:56 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agreeing on the medical aspect to your issue.

Are you able to bring her to orgasm orally?
posted by hrj at 10:39 AM on June 29, 2015

You don't mention it, so I'll ask: Is this one of your first sexual relationships? My first attempt at proper intercourse was a total disaster (no erection due to nerves, partner said she'd be right back and never came back, then snidely brought the whole thing up in front of my friends -- and me! -- a few weeks later), which put me into a pretty bad confidence spiral. That was at 18, and I didn't really start having consistently reliable erections (in a non-solo setting) until about your age, thanks to a patient partner and a lack of pressure. Even today, in my 30s, the first time with a new partner is still sort of touch and go.

If any of that sounds familiar, maybe just give it time. Expect patience and give it, in regards to your partner's issue. Build trust.

But of course, as others are suggesting, it could be a medication or health issue. I'm in decent shape, but I've smoked for years. So, after a certain amount of sexual exertion, my body decides that my blood is needed elsewhere. Like my brain, I guess (stupid brain). After some cooldown and focus on my partner, I'm usually able to get back at it.

Even if this isn't related to nerves/inexperience/history, or directly related to meds/health, trying to force something to happen will absolutely not work. Relaxation, trust, and a sense of humor will.
posted by credible hulk at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

You know, I think the two of you might really get a lot out of Orgasmic Meditation. Don't dismiss it as too far out. Specifically, I think the two of you would benefit from working as a team within the set parameters of an OM. I think the principles of goallesness, focus on sensation, and acceptance of the fact of each other's experience will get you unstuck about performance. Also, the focus on clitoral touch will back off on the focus on your erection or not.

OM isn't sex and really isn't a substitute for sex, but it's a good way to get grounded in some good foundations for great sex.
posted by Sublimity at 3:10 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

So in addition to the above great advice, can you reflect on the times where things do work and ask yourself why? Basically, what are the conditions for good sex? Does the temperature have to be a certain way? Do you need a certain position? Do you need to hit a certain level of turned-on-ness before you engage in an act? Does it matter if its the morning or evening? Do you need to be well hydrated? Do you need to know if you lose your erection that you can still have a good time? That your partner is okay with it?

Identify your conditions for successful sex and communicate them with your partner. Support each other to meet them as best you can.

And in the meantime, go to the GP, get some aides so you don't have to worry about it so much, and focus on the fun and not the requirement for orgasm, erection or PIV sex.
posted by miasma at 4:47 PM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

In the end I am unable to help her achieve orgasm, either through sexual intercourse, fingering, etc. We have such a small window of opportunity to explore different positions that we are basically stuck in missionary, and the only time I have been able to help her orgasm was after at least an hour or more of straight fingering, which I don't always have the energy or time to do.

I will add to the chorus here that you seem to be trying penetration solely for trying to get her to orgasm, and that just doesn't work reliably for a lot of folks. Are you stimulating her clitoris? If not, give that a try (fingers work just as well if you're not interested in oral, which is fine if she's fine with it).

I cannot favorite all the comments about PIV not being the only sex enough. :)
posted by joycehealy at 4:53 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

24 is young to have issues with erections for most people. Do your medications list sexual function issues as part of their side effects? I will also add to the recommendations to seek medical information.

How does your partner usually orgasm by herself? Do you know what she wants? Does she know what she wants? Have you asked her?

Either of you thought about practicing on yourselves? Using porn to help if you need to?

Don't hate me for saying this, but is sexual attraction at all a part of the problem? You say it stops working - I assume you don't want it to stop working? Mood at all a part of the problem? Does the sex ever feel like work?
posted by Strudel at 6:18 PM on June 29, 2015

« Older Restaurants and other things to do in New London...   |   The only thing that separates us from the animals.... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.