Performance Anxiety? I’m A Young Guy & Can’t Get Hard Or Stay Hard During Sex

Q: I’m with a beautiful girl that I love, yet I am having trouble getting hard and staying hard during sex. I have no problems getting an erection when I masturbate. What’s wrong with me?

A: When you masturbate, do you only masturbate to porn? Because that could be a contributing factor. Some guys have experienced similar symptoms – they claim to have “death grip” masturbation issues, which causes you to be less sensitive and a vagina isn’t tight enough and won’t keep you hard. YourBrainOnPorn offers some advice about that here.

Since you are able to get aroused and have an erection before sex, another thing that might be an issue is performance anxiety, which is very common. It seems like you may need to get out of your mind and into your body during sex. One thing to do to help with this is focus on breathing and touch. And just slow down, noticing where you are on the arousal curve. Maybe when she’s on her period take the opportunity to just touch and massage each other without the expectation of it leading to sex. That way you can get away from performance pressure and start focusing on touch and being in your body. Another thing you could try is a “felt sense” exercise, like Keeley talks about here.

Q: I used to watch porn but ever since I’ve been with her I’ve stopped and just use my imagination. You’re absolutely correct that I need to get out of my head and into my body, though I guess that’s easier said than done.

A: Did you watch a lot of porn growing up though? It may still affect your perspectives about fantasy sex vs. real life girlfriend sex. Do you feel like you may like some things in porn that you feel you can’t do with your girlfriend? Like you don’t want to hurt her or you’re worried she may not like what you like? We’re getting into the the idea of the Madonna-Whore Complex. Not sure if that’s relevant to you. You definitely seem physically healthy, because you’re getting morning wood and erections during other times, so there’s probably no need to go see a urologist. There are other kinds of therapists called somatica practitioners that work on arousal in conjunction with traditional talk therapy, if it continues to bother you, you might consider contacting someone like that.

Also, is she on birth control? Some guys say that they are worried of “losing control” and getting their girlfriend pregnant. And that can kill an erection pretty quickly.

Q: I’d say I watched as much porn as every other teenager? It’s not like I was glued to the laptop but I most of the times I masturbated I used it. I’m not sure if it’s the fact I can’t do certain things with my girlfriend, I’m not really into anything too crazy, just regular vanilla stuff. Read up on the Madonna-Whore Complex and I don’t think that relates to me. That’s the weird thing for me – I’m physically healthy, in decent shape, and I play sports etc. Do you think it would be a good idea to visit my family doctor? She’s on birth control, and takes it consistently every day, we don’t use condoms, and I never finish inside her. Pregnancy isn’t really a thought that crosses my mind often.

A: It’s probably not the porn then. If you think it would help to visit your family doctor, there’s no harm in it. Another question: when she gives you a blow job, do you have problems maintaining an erection? Are you good at receiving pleasure? What happens when she takes control?

Q: Blow jobs seem to have no problems about 98% of the time, I definitely get pleasure from sex and blow jobs. To be honest, she doesn’t take control all that often, but from the times that it has happened I’ve had the same problem.

Example: Valentine’s day and other random days I’ll come home and she’ll be in bed waiting for me in lingerie, yet I have the same problem.

A: Her wearing lingerie is not taking control though, it’s nice that she does that but it’s passive initiation. A blow job is a situation where she is doing the majority of the work, and you’re receiving most of the pleasure. And it’s a good sign that those go well for you. See what happens when you suggest her taking more control in bed, like her being on top and gyrating, so all of the actual performance part isn’t on you. My sense is that the more you can take pressure off you – while still being aroused – and focusing on being on your body, the less of a problem it’ll be.

Q: You might be right, I’ll suggest that. When she does ride me it does usually go a little better, and it does put me at ease.

A: Are you nervous about giving her pleasure too? How focused are you on her orgasm? It might also help you relax a bit if you get her to come first by eating her out/ fingering her/ using a vibrator on her. See what happens when you give her an orgasm first then. It’ll probably help you knowing that she has been satisfied.

Q: I’m definitely focused on her having a good time, probably more so than me having a good time, and I think that also messes with my head a little bit. I love the girl a lot and I want to give her great sex so that kind of places pressure on me which obviously doesn’t help. Hopefully I’ll be able to snap out of it, thanks for talking to me!

A: Our pleasure! One last suggestion for anyone struggling with a similar concern: get in touch with what you want out of sex. Worrying about your partner’s pleasure is a sure fire way to feel pressure and lose arousal. The effects of porn is something to consider, but it’s not a huge issue for most guys. It is more about what you think you deserves, as in how much pleasure you are allowed to have, and following your desires instead of being mentally preoccupied with what your cock is doing.

If you are the partner of someone having erectile problems, take breaks when he loses his erection and don’t stress too much. There’s no need to have a funeral for a limp dick. It happens and occasional erectile dysfunction is natural. If he falls flat, he can stimulate you in other ways until he’s aroused again. Taking breaks is fun and it gives him a chance to take the pressure off of his dick and put the attention on you. Fingers always stay hard, dildos always stay hard, and mouths are always amazing. Practice other ways to give and receive pleasure that aren’t so penis-focused. The entire sexual experience shouldn’t be dependent on his cock; his cock isn’t the only way you and he can have sex. Lady Jane says she once dated a guy who rarely came. They would have sex, he’d lose his erection, but they’d keep fooling around. They’d do other things until he was hard again. “It was great. The sex lasted a LONG TIME because it wasn’t all dependent on his erection. Sex that is totally dependent on a man’s equipment is just asking for frustration, dissatisfaction, and a time limit!”

– Keeley & Nikita