Can’t Get An Erection The First Time With A New Partner?

image representing the idea of erection problems

Something very strange has been happening to me recently, and I’m not impressed. After years of battling premature ejaculation, I’ve been hit by another sexual curve-ball.

Every time I’m with a new partner, no matter how much I try, I just can’t get an erection the first time we try to have sex.

The problem only resolves when we sleep next to each other, wake up the next morning and try again. And from that moment on, everything goes back to normal.

How weird is that?

The first time it happened I didn’t put much thought into it, especially because alcohol had been involved; I just put it down to the beers and didn’t worry too much about it.

But then it happened with a second, third and fourth woman. And every time the exact same thing happened.

What happens

Everything seems to be going fine at first. I’m with someone I’ve been dating for a while (sometimes). Things get steamy. We go back to one of our places and I’m happy as can be.

I don’t feel stressed or anxious on the surface, but I can’t get a full erection. Partial yes, sometimes even 75%. But not enough to have sex.

The annoying thing is that I’ve had to develop a coping mechanism for this weird phenomenon. I’ve accepted, for better or for worse, that it’s probably going to be an issue. And so I’ve decided the best thing to do is to talk about it openly in advance.

Obviously by ‘in advance’ I don’t mean over cocktails. But at least before we’ve spent several hours trying increasingly more frustrating ways to make it happen.

I realized it was important to take responsibility for it for one very important reason. If I don’t, then she might. And that’s really unfair and unpleasant for her.

I spoke to the last two partners about it, who both admitted in virtually the same words that they would assume they just don’t turn me on. And even when I told them it always happens, I could tell they were still doubtful.

You can’t exactly start telling them about all the times it’s happened. No woman wants to hear about the last 3 women you were with at the moment the two of you are supposed to be celebrating something magical.

But you still somehow need to convince her it’s just a ‘thing’ that happens, and it will pass. It’s a tricky one.

What caused it?

I did have a laugh to myself at first, thinking that in my efforts to avoid premature ejaculation through relaxation, I’d mastered it so well that my body enters a zen-like state in preparation for sex.

But I think the real explanation lies in anxiety, and probably in relation to my body. I haven’t spoken about it on this website until now, but I had testicular cancer several years ago (I’m fine now I’m happy to report) and it’s ever since then that this new problem has existed.

The treatment I had left me slightly scarred, and needless to say, a bit wonky downstairs. Whilst women tell me that all guys are wonky and scars are sexy, I think deep down I’m still anxious about their reaction.

Add to that the fact that I’ve had to deal with premature ejaculation for years, I think it’s natural to have developed an anxiety problem. Even though I don’t feel anxious on the surface, I do know I’m a born worrier, and that I’ve just learned to mask my anxiety with a well-trained sense of confidence.

I’m not the world’s greatest expert on erectile dysfunction, but I don’t think you need to be to come to the conclusion I have done. What happens next is still undecided.

First attempts at dealing with it

I think I’ll need to do some personal work on that anxiety – if I can get to the root of it on my own. I’d like to think I can, having managed to do so well in my battle with premature ejaculation.

If you’re reading this and have similar issues, then my advice to you is this: talk about it openly and with confidence. Take responsibility for it and don’t let her think it’s her fault. Otherwise you might not have the good fortune to wake up with her smiling and willing to try again.

After that, you’re in the same boat as me I’m afraid. A bit of internal self-work may be needed, either alone or with some professional help. Anxiety may or may not be the root cause, and it may be a while before I’m completely sure. I’ll come back and update this article if I ever do find out for certain.

1 year later: I think I’ve found a solution

Since I first wrote this article a long time ago, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the many comments from other guys with similar problems, thinking about their stories and theories and trying to come up with a solution.

And finally, a year later, I’ve had some success. I managed to get an erection the first night with the last 2 women I slept with, and also pretty much when I wanted to.

The secret – at least for me – has been to boost my testosterone levels so much that it balances out the anxiety, nerves or whatever else is going on psychologically.

Basically, I started doing some research into erectile dysfunction and discovered a common suggestion is that it’s sometimes due to low testosterone levels. So I duly decided to do everything within my power to boost it.

Here’s what I did:

  • Stopped smoking.
  • Started doing lots of work on my legs in the gym, particularly dead-lifts and similar exercises for the thighs, which apparently help with testosterone production.
  • Stopped drinking protein shakes (apparently they can lower testosterone!)
  • Worked hard to improve my sleep pattern and get a regular 8 hours.
  • Started on a testosterone boosting diet.
  • Started taking L-Arginine supplements.

Within 2 weeks I noticed that even during masturbation I was getting harder erections, particularly on the days I really focused on my legs in the gym.

Other than the gym work, I’m fairly sure I also noticed an effect from the L-Arginine supplements. I’d read that researchers have found that L-Arginine can be effective in treating erectile dysfunction because it boosts blood circulation to the penis.

2016 update: trying Viagra

Since the last update, I’ve once again had the same problem. I think this time it was because I totally fell for someone, so I really wanted to things to go well, resulting in the old anxiety resurfacing.

So I decided to give Viagra a go, since I was in a country where you can get it in the pharmacy without a prescription. And it was remarkably effective.

I won’t be using it on an ongoing basis, as I’d like to try to manage the problem naturally and it gave me headaches. However, it was interesting to try out and was a good confidence boost.

If it’s something you’re also considering, you might find my Viagra review helpful.

2017 update

Since the last time I wrote, I haven’t tried Viagra again. However, I’ve been doing a lot of research into the issue of Erectile Dysfunction, and am planning on writing more about it in the future.

Interestingly, I experimented this year with not watching any porn at all for one month. And I’m pretty sure it’s had a positive effect on how easily I get turned on in the presence of women. So it might be worth a try if you have a similar issue.

I’ve also put a lot of thought into the irritating problem of having trouble with keeping an erection when using condoms. I’ve experienced this many times, and several guys have also said the same in the comments.

So if this affects you, you might like to check out my latest article with tips for staying hard when wearing a condom.

Your views

If you or your partner experience this issue, what do you find helps or makes it worse? Feel free to share your story below and any ideas you have for coping with it.

244 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi there!

    I watched porn and masturbate like 3 times a day. I mean go hard on porn girls but now I got a cute white blond girl friend. We tried to have sex and my penis stand up but not 100% and then I tried to penetrate but she was a virgin so my penis I was normally stand up to penetrate but It turns cold down and we tried again at all it couldn’t stand up 50% but when we slept for awhile it turn 75% but when I went between her legs it turn cold down like 3 or 4 %. I admitted to her that watched a lot of porns and masturbated pre maturely a lot and then we started laughing. She does not care about sex she told me but I feel she really want to give me her virginity. How can I quit porn? How can gain active erection during sex?

    • Hi ATJ
      I think there’s no magic secret to quitting porn – you just have to decide to do it, and then do it! Perhaps set yourself some small goals if it’s too difficult to quit completely. So try to go 1 whole day without it. Then 2 days without it. Then go 3 days before watching it and so on, until you stop.
      Try to think of a good fantasy you can imagine instead, and work on building your imagination. You can fantasize about this girl if you like (probably best not to tell her you imagine her when masturbating though…).
      You might then find your erection quality improves naturally. If not, then try to keep yourself calm when you’re with this girl. Spend good quality time with her having sexual fun in other ways, and take the pressure off yourself to have sex. When you’re feeling relaxed enough with her, it will probably happen naturally.
      Ethan

  • There are so many great comments here, and I encourage everyone with similar issues to read many of them. This has been my situation for many years now (I’m 34) and would like to add some of my thoughts that I don’t see mentioned.

    First, I no longer think it’s a “problem,” so I don’t call it one. As much fun as it would be to always be a rockstar in bed with a near-stranger you just brought home (after just meeting, or a few dates, etc), men aren’t always made that way. Society doesn’t talk about how there are feelings involved in sex for men, so we feel like failures when they get in the way. I once had a friend call me in the night, panicking because he couldn’t get an erection with a girl. He assumed he was broken forever. I asked, “are you attracted to her?” “Not really” – “Do you have a strong connection with her some other way?” “No.” It’s funny how men don’t realize those kind of things matter for many of us like they for most women.

    I’ve brought lovely women home and it hasn’t happened at first, I’ve brought home women and it has. Our chemistry plays as big a role as being comfortable and not anxious. There are women out there with whom the first time anxiety isn’t there because of the connection you have with them. With others it will take longer, or may never come. Even with beautiful ones. It’s sad but true, and I just try to take it as a learning experience of what I desire personally.

    And some advice if ED strikes, don’t apologize. Be confident, smile, make a joke. Women really don’t mind, but it’s wrong to put your baggage on their ego, which will happen if you’re not careful. Sometimes I point at the little lazy guy and say something about how he was running at the track all day and is tired, or how I know how beautiful the woman is and I’m excited to play around all night in other ways, but he sometimes gets shy the first time because he’s a sensitive one. Sometimes it seems women find the talk about feelings, yet with confidence, as charming. Don’t apologize! It’s bad for your ego.

    Ethan, thanks a lot for sharing this and continually managing the comments. I think it makes everyone posting feel better to get your supportive response, as well as knowing there is a community of people in the same situation. I certainly should have used this 15 years ago the first time this happened to me.

    • Hi Jay
      Thanks for this fantastic comment. It’s reading comments like yours that makes me think I should really ask readers if I can put their comments into a collection page with the most useful ones. It’s one thing for me to write a blog article, but another for readers to take the time to share their own thoughts, experience and ideas for dealing with potential issues with sex – and in such an eloquent and positive way.
      I don’t know if you’re following this thread – I doubt it from the funny email address you put (funny for me anyway!). But if you do, please let me know if you’d be ok with me using your comment on a published article.
      And in terms of what you wrote, I couldn’t agree more!
      Ethan

  • Hi guys,
    Am 21years old and their is this hot charming girl i have been dating for the past 2years, in those past 2years after lots of going out on various dates and it was really fun, so i decided one day to have her at my place bt just mere her knocking on my place, my penis shrinked within 30seconds bt went on and did foreplay for some good minutes but no erection happened at all so i made up stories for her not think it’s her fault so she decided to give me another achance after aweek, things just went from worse to terrible, we broke but after 7months she came to back to check on me to see if i had quite the drug use and alcohol that i had made up in the stories in the first scenario , bt this time i erected but not long enough to put on acondom, what i should i do cause i know now that am not gay!

    • Hi Jackson
      I totally understand your frustration! I imagine you would have had no problems if she had come back sooner than a week, or stayed longer after the first night. But I think a week is long enough for the nerves to come back and cause the exact same problem. Will you be seeing her again, or is that the end for sure? Whether you see her again, or someone else, I think the main thing is to be honest about it, make light of it and not such a serious issue. It’s also important to remember that sex isn’t all about getting erections and having intercourse. If you can take the lead and create a situation where you both just enjoy each other’s bodies, through foreplay, manual and oral or whatever, that’s great. If you don’t get an erection, it’s ok – just spend more time pleasuring her and enjoying each other’s company. If you can take the pressure off to perform, then it will help you relax.
      I also suggest reading through the comments here as there are some amazing bits of advice from other readers.
      Ethan

  • Hi , Im a 34 year old woman and every time i have sex with somebody for the first time they can’t get an erection. I’ve slept with more than ten guys and it has happened with every single guy. Im not sure what that says about me but I decided it must be me because it happens every time. Regardless of the partner. The funny thing is that usually by the second time its all good. A few times its taken 3 or 4 tries but once we get past the initial failure my partner has no issues at all. In fact most of the time we have sex 2 to 3 times per day. My last 4 boyfriends that has certainly been the case. So I guess I’m writing this to let the guys know its common, and also to ask whether its me…but from what the guys say its nerves. I just don’t understand why i make them so nervous.

    • Hi Meg
      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. It’s really helpful to hear from female readers regarding this problem. To be honest, my girlfriend also told me it’s happened several times with previous boyfriends, so you’re not the only one that has it happen repeatedly! Whether there’s something about you that makes them nervous or if it’s pure coincidence is impossible to say. I wouldn’t worry about it though, as it sounds like you’re doing the right thing which is to stick around long enough to let them get over the nerves and relax with you. Perhaps you could experiment with ways to help them relax, setting the scene to be more relaxing and less pressure on having penetrative sex. You could suggest the idea that you like just being together intimately, but sex isn’t the be all and end all and that there are many ways to enjoy each other’s company. If you can help them think that it doesn’t matter if they have sex or not that first time, but without making them think you’re avoiding it, then that might help.
      Ethan

  • Hi guys,

    I can’t get any erection with my girlfriend. She’s really attractive to me but everytime we try to have sex, I can’t have any erection… I never had sex before and she’s my first girlfriend. We spoke together about my problem, I read a lot of articles about erection but there is no results. We try to have sex since approximately 7 months… I’m starting to be worried and hopeless

    • Hi Jonathan
      Sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with this issue – I can appreciate how frustrating it must be for you. Have you spoken to your doctor about this? I think it’s probably a good idea to get yourself checked out physically by a doctor, in case they can find a simple cause and offer you a simple solution.
      It’s one thing to read article like this one, and for some guys that can be all they need to sort out a problem themselves. But really, if it’s an ongoing problem that self-help hasn’t worked for, it’s good to get a medical opinion.
      If there’s anything in this article you haven’t tried, then have a go at that too, as you never know what might help. But I do recommend speaking to a professional if it’s still going on after 7 months.
      I can understand you feeling worried and hopeless, but don’t give up or feel too shy to speak to a doctor. They deal with this kind of thing all the time, and you might find they can offer you a solution that works well and gives you and your partner an opportunity to be together sexually.
      Ethan

  • So I turn 19 in a month.I got with this girl and we started doing a few things. Not full intercourse but foreplay. I can get her off easy. But when it comes to me I only get half erections. I’ve been reading a bit about it and I think it might be due to my anxiety and her being the first girl I’ve been with sexually. She is very understanding about the situation but I feel very emasculated about it and she keeps bringing up that its her fault. We have tried twice, both times I’ve only gotten half-way. When we are kissing or doing small things even cuddling lol, but when she goes down there is just never gets any better than half no matter what she is doing. Please help me, I am worried I might have to go to the doctor.

    • Hi Zach
      I completely understand your worry – it’s really unfair when you get together with someone like this and it just doesn’t seem to happen for you! I think it’s possible that stress is a factor, as you identified. But it’s impossible to say for sure at this point. Do you find you get erections ok when you’re on your own? Or do you struggle then also? If you’re fine when masturbating, then it’s possibly a psychological factor. In which case I highly recommend trying the ideas in the article, and also reading through the comments here as many guys have left some excellent advice which can help a lot. I also recommend taking a break from masturbation and porn for a week or two, and see if that helps you get going when you’re with her.
      The main thing is to try to relax, and create a spacd where you both feel comfortable. If it doesn’t happen immediately, it’s ok. Just enjoy each other in other ways until you do relax with her. I know you’ve tried twice, but maybe it will take a bit longer. So maybe get together, put some candles out, some soft music, get some massage oil and massage each other and just enjoy the time without any pressure. Even if it takes hours to relax, that’s cool.
      If you do continue to have the problem, or the answer to the masturbation question was otherwise, then speaking to a doctor might help. Don’t be embarrassed by it – they will be very used to this kind of issue, believe me!
      Ethan

  • hey guys!
    ok..i’ll start saying that i’m 26 and i’m having these kind of problems since years..but with the last partners i didn’t have any problems since the first night or even for a one night stand so i thought my problem was gone.
    So i recently broke up with my ex, which has been a very intens relationship, we had plans for the future etc..we broke up last may but was on and off until 2 weeks ago when i decided to end the thing becasue it was too much of a headache for me.
    So after a few years i was free and my plan was just to go out and sleep with as many girls as possible.
    Here is what happen next. The excat day after i leave her, i go out with a girl, cute but there was no connection, saw her again and just kissed.
    The day after i meet a new girl and we go out in pubs and we kiss and we have amazing time together and we decide to see eachother again the day after. We see eachother anothe couple pof times when yesterday finally she came over my place to cook and spend some nice time together.
    I didn’t think to meet such an amzing girl like her after just 2 weeks i broke up with ‘the love of my life’. Now i don’t even think about her anymore.
    But anyway we come home, we have a glass of wine, we chill with some nice music, we kiss and thing get hot and i get an erection but we didnt do anything, then we have dinner then we go on the couch and there is when i started getting very stressed and anxious. We were hagging and sometimes i was feeling my penis getting a little hard but only for a minute or so and the rest of the times it was like my penis shrinked and was too scared to get things hot because i knew if we would have started i wouldn’t have been able to get hard so i deicided to talk to her and tell her that i was nervous and a bit messed up in my head because of my last relationship. She completely understood and she didn’t put me any pressure..she is really hot, attractive and amazing..and feel sorry also because i knew she wanted to have sex. After a while we decide not to push things and i brought her back to her car. I’m really scared now that when we get to that point i can’t get hard, the weird thing is that when we kiss like in places where we can’t have sex like public places or cinema i get hard easly..only when we are in an intimate place i can’t.. i read other comments which it helped me to understand that maybe spending more intimate time like in bed under the sheets to talk could helpful to break this wall…becasue once i get confortable with someone i get hard in one nanosecond.
    Pls guys tell me what you think and sorry for the long post

    • Hi there
      It sounds like anxiety is definitely playing a part in your situation, as with so many other people. It probably also didn’t help being so close to breaking up. As much as we often think going out and having sex will help us move on, or just be purely fun, our mind and heart still need some time to mend properly.
      Having said that, if you like this girl that much, and the chemistry is there – at least in public! – then I’m sure in time you’ll be able to get past the nerves. As you said, it’s good to find a way to just be together sexually, without the pressure of sex. You can do lots of enjoyable things to each other, and make her happy in other ways. The erection will come when its ready.
      Ethan

  • Hi guys i am 21 years old my first time with a girl was when i was 19 years old but i couldnt achieve an erection after really heavy drinking,i was afraid after that and lived the life of a monk without going for girls for 2 long years of loneliness.two months ago i felt ready and i met a childhood friend,we liked each other and we took it further to have sex after 2 weeks of dating,i remember i was feeling anxious and when the time came i couldnt achieve a 100% erection and when i did i lost it the moment i was preparing to put the condom on.we had some dates as normal even though on the inside i was dying everyday,my mind was a wreck of overthinking.so after a week the second try came i wasnt feeling as anxious as the first time but my erection was even worse,after that she dumped me.now after 2 months i still dont know if it was anxiety or inability of erection with real girls because of porn or am i gay.i never had confidence and i am kind of scared the same thing will happen if i go after other woman,your opinions would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Paul
      Sorry to hear you had that experience. It’s a shame she didn’t stick around to give you a chance, because in time you probably would have found a way to overcome the problem. As you’ll have seen in the comments here, this is a problem a huge number of guys face. And while nerves seems to be a common reason, there are other causes of erection loss too. The good news though is that usually it can be fixed – either by getting over the nerves you initially have, or through various other techniques for coping with erectile dysfunction if it’s a more on-going problem. My advice would be not to give up on your sex life, but read all the comments here to get an idea for dealing with the nerves next time, and also research other tips for getting health erections.
      Ethan

  • Hi guys.
    I’m 26 years old and my first time with a girl was about half year ago. it was one night stand and i couldn’t get erection until she gave me a blowjob which made it work very fast, then i put the condom and the erection went down to like 70% and i penetrated her and finished after 30 seconds of “trying not to lose the erection so i better do it fast”. since then i had 2 more one night stands. on the last one i sat on her butt and gave her a back massage and i got an erection from it, and i noticed that simple little things like kissing or licking her on the neck/mouth will make me go hard. but it’s going hard and few seconds after it goes back down so i can’t put the condom and penetrate.
    It makes me feel so sad and frustrated…and it makes me think if i’m gay… how the hell can i know it?! i’m masturbating on hot girls only videos and i can’t even think about watching gay porn.

    • Hi David
      It sounds like stress could be playing a role in your case, as it does with so many guys. If you don’t think you’re gay, and you get turned on and attracted to women, then you probably aren’t. I think the trick, as with so many of us here, is to try to get past the whole one night stand thing, and not put pressure on yourself to perform the night you meet a girl. Have a read through the comments here as there are lots of good ideas, tips and advice that can help.
      Ethan

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