Updated: Jun 12
Guys, let's just face the facts, shall we? Here we go... Most men have had the experience of their erection coming and going, and all men will experience this at some point. And all the bravado in the world won't change that.
The reality is, that for a man's erection to wax and to wane occasionally is a very normal part of sexual functioning. In fact, most people fail to realize than men actually have a lot less control over their erections than they like to think.
And as you age, that waxing and waning of your erection tends to become much more common. Incredibly common in fact. For 40% of men in their 40s, this will take the form of erectile dysfunction - where they struggle to achieve or maintain a satisfactory erection on 25% or more of sexual encounters.
And while we have a whole course on the Lover app dedicated to helping you build more control of your erections - Getting Hard, Made Easy - it's also important to be able to talk with your partner (or partner's) about this in a confident way.
Challenging Societal Norms
Sadly, while many men have grown up in a society that has told them to associate erections with "performance", many of our partners have been given the unhelpful message that the lack of an erection can somehow be their fault. Which of course, is completely untrue.
Women can often assume it’s because their partner is not attracted to them, or that they are doing something wrong. But this is almost always a false - and unhelpful - assumption. Not only is it distressing for both parties, but it can actually exacerbate the erection problems.
Because by feeling - and displaying - distress themselves, the partner can unintentionally contribute to their man feeling even more self-conscious. Or worse still, to feel pressure to obtain or maintain an erection next time.
And performance pressure, plus self-consciousness, is a sure-fire recipe to the normal waning of an erection becoming a real problem. In some cases leading to challenges like erectile dysfunction.
Communication Is Crucial
Which is why communication is crucial.
When it comes to having a conversation about any issue, the first thing to think about is location. If erectile issues feel like a really sensitive conversation to you (as it does for most men) you might consider having a conversation outside of the bedroom. The kitchen is great, but even better could be while driving, or on a hike - so you’re not constantly looking at each other in the face. This can feel a little less vulnerable for some people.
You could start the conversation with your partner by reinforcing how attracted to them you feel. Be clear that there’s a scientifically proven difference between subjective sexual arousal (I’m turned on) and objective sexual arousal (I have an erection). Basing the early stages of the conversation in proven fact will help keep any emotions at bay.
Be inquisitive about how your partner feels in the moment, when you've not been able to get or maintain an erection. Let both sides tell their story, so that both sides feel "heard".
And wherever possible, try to end on a positive. Remember that all men occasionally lose their erection. So when it does happen, you can agree to use it as an opportunity to switch things up. Going down on your partner orally for instance, is likely to give them a much better chance of reaching orgasm than penetration - and at the same time, this will also take the pressure off you and your ‘performance’ ability.
Nip It In The Bud
To sum it up, being able to communicate with your partner freely protects you both from misconceptions and false assumptions.
And why is this important? Well, because false assumptions can simmer under the surface and these can cause bigger problems down the line.
Remember that sexual arousal goes way beyond the physical, and into fantasy and mental stimulation too.
Be sure to check out our previous post on ‘Coreplay Not Foreplay’ to learn more about this, and ‘Being Present For Sexual Pleasure’ to understand how to optimize your five senses for how to increase interest in sex.
And don't forget to download the Lover app for our personalized step-by-step guide to Getting Hard, Made Easy.