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

photo of a drooping flower to suggest a drooping erection

Do you have problems getting an erection when you’re with a new partner? And no matter how much you’re attracted to them, it just doesn’t spring to life?

This started happening to me a couple of years ago (when I first wrote this article), and it proved to be a very frustrating and embarrassing problem.

What happens

Every time I got with a new partner, I couldn’t get an erection the first time we tried to have sex.

Everything always seems to go fine at first. Usually, I take someone on a couple of dates at least before we end up back at my place or hers.

I feel mentally and physically aroused as the passion builds , but then I just can’t get a full erection. I can get a partial erection – sometimes even 75% – but not enough to have sex.

I don’t feel like I’m particularly stressed or anxious to start with. But then when this happens, I definitely do get stressed.

Fortunately, the saving grace is that if we spend the night together, I’m absolutely fine in the morning. And while that’s good to know, I’d prefer it if the first night was as passionate as we both hoped.

My first coping mechanism

I soon developed a coping mechanism to deal with the inevitable awkward moment when she realizes it’s not going on. I accepted that it might happen, and decided the best thing to do is to talk about it openly in advance.

By ‘in advance’ I don’t mean over cocktails though. I find a moment during foreplay to bring it up, rather than leave it as a mystery and pretend I’m as surprised as she is.

Taking responsibility for it

I realized it was important to take responsibility for the issue: if I don’t, then she might. And that’s unfair to her.

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

It’s not exactly ideal to tell someone about all the times it’s happened though. No woman wants to hear about your previous partners on your first night.

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 used to have a serious problem with premature ejaculation. So I first wondered if by learning to last longer through relaxation, I’d gone the other way and become too relaxed.

But I think the real explanation lies in anxiety, and probably in relation to my body. I had testicular cancer several years ago (I’m 7 years all clear now!) and it’s ever since then that I’ve had these erection problems.

The treatment I had left me with some physical, and emotional, scars. And although women tell me that scars are sexy, I think they usually mean from motorbike accidents.

So 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.

First attempts at dealing with it

For me, a key step was to work on my anxiety. And that involved a combination of learning to accept my body now, worrying less about ‘performing’ on the night, and communicating better.

If you’re reading this and have similar issues, my advice to you is this: talk about it openly and with confidence. Take responsibility for it, but in a positive, upbeat ‘shit happens’ kind of way. And don’t let her get all self-doubting and think it’s her fault.

After that, a bit of internal self-work might be needed, either alone or with some professional help.

Anxiety may or may not be the root cause. But either way, I think it’s important to say the right things – both to yourself and your partner.

1 year later: a potential solution

I spent a lot of time thinking about this issue. It helped to read the many comments below from readers with a similar problem. I listened to their stories and theories and tried to come up with a solution.

And finally, a year later, I 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 – I thought – was to boost my testosterone levels so much that it balanced out the anxiety, nerves or whatever else is going on psychologically.

Basically, I did a lot of 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 self-pleasure I was getting harder erections, particularly on the days I really focused on my legs in the gym.

Other than the gym work, I thought I noticed an effect from the L-Arginine supplements.

I’d read some research that found L-Arginine can help with erectile dysfunction because it boosts blood circulation to the penis (more recent medical advice suggests it may not be so effective though).

I also think my serious health and fitness regime helped increase my blood circulation and on a psychological front my confidence. So it looks like I hit the problem from a few different angles.

Trying Viagra in 2016

Since the last update, I had the same problem again. I think perhaps it was because I totally fell for someone, and I really wanted to things to go well, resulting in the old anxiety resurfacing.

So I decided to give Viagra a go, and it was very 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 and a good confidence boost.

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

2017 update

Since the last time I wrote, I didn’t try Viagra again. However, I did a lot of research into the issue of erectile dysfunction.

Interestingly, I experimented this year with not watching any porn for a month. And I’m sure it 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 also put a lot of thought into the annoying issue of condoms making your erection soft.

2018 update

This continued to be an issue for me from time to time. I now think it’s a blood flow problem, combined with initial nerves sometimes.

I tested a range of different treatments in 2018, and all the ones that are supposed to work by increasing blood flow did the trick for me.

That includes both brand drugs like Viagra, generic sildenafil and herbal remedies that affect your circulation.

This might also explain why stopping smoking and losing some weight while getting much fitter helped – not just because it boosted testosterone.

A penis pump helps

I also tested a penis vacuum pump, and that worked very well. But it’s not my first choice when I’m with a new partner – I think it’s more acceptable with an established partner.

So for me, my current way of dealing with it is to work on the psychological points, continue being healthy in general, and have a backup pill at the ready.

2019 update

I’ve been with a stable partner for a while now. So I don’t know if this original problem would still exist for me – nor do I want to find out!

But I thought it would help to share that I don’t have a serious problem with erectile dysfunction currently. Sure, I have good days and bad days where hardness is concerned. But on the whole, it doesn’t affect my relationship enough to be a major issue.

So if you’re worried about the future because of a similar problem to me, stay positive!

Your views

If you also experience this issue, what do you find helps or makes it worse? Feel free to share your story below.


  1. Hi All,

    Wanted to share my experience here – see if there is any advice that could be helpful. I am 22 years old, very healthy and fit, and extremely confident in almost every way.

    The one way in which this is not the case is in bed, specifically the first time I am with a partner. This has been true for my entire sex life (which started with my first serious girlfriend at 17. The first time she and I tried to have sex (she was more experienced than me at that point) I was unable to get erect. The embarrassment this caused me lasted essentially the entire relationship (~6 months). We maybe had sex once, but even this was not fully successful. She was not judgmental, but it wore on me.

    Fast-forward to college, and I had all the confidence in the world. However, the first couple times I attempted to have partners, I had a hard time again (pardon the pun). For my first consistent sexual partner that was successful, it took a few tries, and even once we were able to have sex consistently, my erection would be volatile. Essentially, I would avoid switching positions for fear of losing it. This led to its own kind of embarrassment. I had a number more partners after that, and there were a couple of occasions where it worked the first time, and a few where it didn’t. Then, I had my first really long term partner (~1.5 years). At first, I was unable to get an erection. After month 1, I was able to, and from that point forward our sex life was perfectly fine.

    When she and I broke up ~ a year ago, the first couple attempted partners I had did not function properly. Then, I entered into a new relationship (which lasted ~6 months). Again, I was unable to get an erection for the first ~8 times we attempted to have sex. Once I started being able to, our sex life was fantastic. I gained a lot of confidence, and thought these issues were behind me. However, she and I broke up ~4 weeks ago, and I just had my first attempted partner since then this past weekend. The first time we tried, it didn’t work. The second time (the next night) I was successful, but the next day in the morning and afternoon I wasn’t. I am frustrated, as this has been something that has managed to follow me for 5 years now. At this point I have had 8 successful sexual partners, but all except for 2 did not function properly the first time we tried. What gives?

    • Hi B
      I know it’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing, not to mention worrying for the future. The good news is that you’ve had positive experiences, which means you can have more.
      I wonder if the pressure you now feel to ‘perform’ is a big part of the issue. I would be tempted to set your end ‘goal’ for sex a bit differently when you’re with someone new. Take it easy and take your time. Focus on the connection, the romance and feeling calm and relaxed. There’s nothing wrong with being the one who asks to take things slowly.
      However, if you’re the kind of person who thinks that sounds soft and too romantic for real life and just wants to jump in and give your partner a good seeing to, then that’s a different matter!
      Personally, what worked for me was to just stop caring so much. Maybe getting a bit older has helped where I don’t feel like I have to ‘perform’ or my partner will walk away. But I also think experience and wisdom has taught me that people are generally understanding of sex problems as they know it just happens. They likely have one or two insecurities of their own…”will they think my ass is too big?”…”do I taste ok or does it weird them out?”…”do they like me for who I am and not just my body”…”does he like my BJ style?” and so on. The key is to just be cool about it, don’t stress, be communicative and honest if necessary. And above all keep it lighthearted. It’s much better to laugh and start a silly conversation about how you wish your penis had a remote control with a giant ‘erect’ button on it than it is to be lying there both staring at the ceiling in silence wondering if she’s disappointed and going to leave and never come back unless you magically get an erection in the next five minutes. If nothing else, get a bottle of wine and let the alcohol help you relax and get your blood pumping. That works a treat for me. Just don’t drink the whole bottle:-)

  2. Hey guys! I’m 21 years old and I’ve been with my girlfriend for about 5 years now on and off. We’ve broken up once or twice and during those periods of a month or two, me being young and wanting to experience things I had chances to sleep with like 6 different girls but every time I try it’s like nothing is going on down there at all. During this period of time I was the most fit I had ever been in my life and I wasn’t eating bad either. When I have sex with my gf mentioned above it’s instant even tho I’m not in the mood sometimes. When I was younger from about 15 I had sex all the time and never had this problem until was about 18 or so. I even went as far as trying Ed medications the highest dose with new girls trying to “plan ahead”and it didn’t work! For the past two years or so I’ve noticed a severe drop off in my sex drive. Not sure what to do boys any advice would be good. I sorta feel like a big factor why I took my ex back is because I’m worried I can’t get hard for other women ever again due to my long term young relationship issues.. definitely seems Psychological due to my results with ED medications. It’s gotten to the point to where it affects my life and I think about it all the time. Any advice would be good I’m just trying to live my life.

    • Hi Mike
      Just to be clear, is it the problem with your sex life with your partner that’s worrying you, or the ability to be with other women, or both?

  3. Hey guys!

    Please share your experiences, I really want to know what the root cause of this might be.

    So, the same happened to me and I’ve lost my GF after only 2 months. I was always nervous the first occasion with my new GFs. Once the mutual attachment happened and I felt secure, knowing I’m good for her, it went away on its own.

    This time it was different. She only wanted a sexual relationship as she broke up with her previous BF of 4 years just a month before. I wanted her as a long-term GF as I haven’t had a serious relationship I wished for in years (I’m rather picky). On the first night we were out, I had a huge boner for hours, then she literally dragged me to her bed and my penis went offline instantly. “But this is primal instinct” – she said. I told her she is important to me, that’s why I became nervous. (BTW it’s 100% psychological in my case.) The next day she gave me wonderful oral, I got lost in how well she does it and became hard and we had a great intercourse. The next time we met I took Kamagra jelly before it and have never felt more confident than ever before. We had sex 3 times in 2 days and she had multiple orgasms. After this I didn’t use Kamagra as I was confident and the sex became even better, more passionate with more of her orgasms. Everything went great and after a few weeks she told me she loves me. I felt great, but as time went on I started to doubt her love, as I didn’t really feel the attachment from her side (which is pretty normal after a recent breakup, but anyway I didn’t feel emotionally secure).

    She is a wonderful girl, looks great, very intelligent and educated, has the same interests as I do, has a great sense of humor, is self-assertive (unlike I was beside her) and very talented in bed. Kind of a treasure if you ask me. But also her strenghts looked somewhat frightening to me, she is really critical and can be rather plain-spoken and strict (or so I felt). I really wanted this to work, but day after day I started to feel myself less and less beside her. My insecurity grew. Not because she was too harsh with me, but she seemed more in my eyes than I did to myself, a really strong character. And then the unexplainable happened. I wanted her to take it in her mouth more than anything, I was hard, then when she took it in, I went limp immediately. This has never happened to me before with anyone. So this time it wasn’t about “I don’t have to perform, I’m just being pleased”, it’s something else. She gave me BJs previously, a few times I felt I don’t provide anything to her so sometimes I switched to sex instead. This time I’ve asked her to do it, and I probably felt I don’t deserve it/took it as a favor. Then I switched her to doggystyle and just couldn’t get it up. Later she told me how humiliating this was to her. After this the negative spiral took a nosedive and I’ve struggled to get it up which lead to the breakup as I’ve guessed it will. She told me I stress over everything for no particular reason (which is true sometimes, so I don’t blame her). Now I feel if I couldn’t satisfy the kind of girl I’ve always wanted, how will I be able to get it up with anyone else from now on… It feels horrible.

    Some interesting info about my background which can contribute to the problem:
    – my mother was really strict, sometimes she has beaten me if I didn’t perform well in school
    – my father is more layed-back and permissive, but he always told me I’ll fail in this and that (and has beat me once)
    – I’ve witnessed my father beating my mother once
    – in my early childhood I was ridiculed by my brother and classmates for having a small penis (even though I know as an adult it’s above average when erect, no girl ever complained and once I start having sex I perform quite well)

    So what my guesses are:
    – parental background leading to a “need to perform”
    – compulsion to conform (I’m sure I have this nowadays in other fields as well)
    – general lack of self-confidence
    – some form of mild OCD (obsessing over negative thoughts and future outcomes)
    – unable to accept love
    – Madonna/whore syndrome?

    Have you guys with the same problem experienced any of the above/was diagnosed with such? I’ve talked to psychologists, but they all are just giving advice for the future and don’t help in discoverying the root cause, which could be a huge relief.

    Sorry for the long post and thank you for taking the time to read it.

    • Hi Fevris
      I know you’re asking people in general, but I’ll give you my brief thoughts as I don’t know how many will respond.
      Personally, I can relate because I am someone who generally overthinks, overanalyzes and worrries more than necessary about many things. And it strikes me that you have a bit of that too, regardless of the root cause for this particular issue.
      Now, I often say I like the fact that I think so much – I’d rather be a thinker than go through life never assessing what’s going on around me, and inside me. But it doesn’t always serve me well.
      So, I’m going to give you an answer you might not have expected, or even like particularly. But I’m going to give it to you because it’s one of the things that most helped me in life in general, not just with sex problems.
      My advice is to do some reading and self-work related to grounding yourself in the moment – in general, not just in bed. Though I also believe it can help with both. My personal way to do this was to read good books about the topic – spiritual guidance I guess for want of a better description.
      If you search online for phrases like ‘books about living in the moment’ you’ll find many to check out. One I personally loved is called ‘The Untethered Soul’. As I said, it’s not about sex or even romance. But it’s great for finding ways to stop yourself thinking too much about things that probably aren’t helping.
      Now, assuming there’s a chance you’re thinking ‘what a bunch of BS, I’m not interested in getting a book about spirituality just cos a sex blogger said so!’ here is some practical advice.
      Forget her. You’re talking about announcing love for each other after just a few weeks. And then she’s gone because you humiliated her with what would probably be a passing period of sex difficulty. That tells me she is impatient, demanding and unforgiving. Not someone who is right for you and your desire too have a loving relationship in which you work together as a partnership.
      Harsh but true in so many cases. Move on and don’t let it ruin your confidence. Anyone who is as willing as you are to put their partner’s needs in bed in pole position deserves someone who is willing to see where it goes – and appreciate it for the not so commmon thing it is in a man.

      • Hi Ethan,

        Thank you for responding. Thanks for the kind words and reassurement. I’m definitely an overthinker, yes. I still feel I screwed it up with being nervous (mostly about the future with her and how bad it would be if I lost her – and yeah, I’ve attracted the disaster and it happened.) It’s rather strange as in the beginning I was really confident and very proud of myself for getting her. Then it gradually vanished as I’ve somehow, for no particular reason started to feel not being enough for her as a partner. (And the joke is: not sexually, as she was multi-orgasmic all the time, still, the problems began in bed.)

        I’ve downloaded the book you mentioned and started to read it today, it seems interesting as I feel a “bit” lost lately about who I really am. Definitely not that easy-going lad I was 10 years ago. Probably I was single for too long. Mindfulness has also been recommended to me, which the book seems to cover, so really thank you for the tip, I’ll read this book.

  4. So the issue i have is this. I lost my virginity around 16 years old I’m currently 30. I have had about 10 sexual partners over the years. And i noticed with each partner when it’s our first time i can never get a full erection. And it has been literally every single time. It’s almost as if I’m so used to not being about to perform on the first night i come to expect it. I recently had a girl i have been dating for a few weeks come over and naturally things began to become intimate. Because i assumed it was going to be the night we had sex for the first time i decided to buy erection pills and not even they worked. We had foreplay for about 20 mins and nothing. After foreplay we just laid there kissing each other. And i became “hard” enough to have sex. By the time i put the condom on i became soft again. What’s the advice?

    • Is it always better from the second day/night or does it take time to be able to guarantee an erection?

  5. You are doing amazing work! Thanks for sharing your posts. A lot have this problem. Just different things trigger it. Masturbation does not cause problems with erection. Many guys have trouble getting or maintaining an erection at some point in their lives. Often, it’s caused by performance anxiety. I had the same problem before. Performance anxiety is the fear of being unable to please a partner. This anxiety can actually cause changes in the body that prevent a guy from getting or maintaining an erection.

    • Hi Thoms
      Glad you like the site. Well, anxiety can definitely be a cause, but not the only one. As with many problems in life, not just the bedroom, there are often various things that can create the issue. Part of the solution is in working out what causes it for you. If it’s blood flow, that can be addressed. If it’s psychological, that can too.

  6. I’m glad it’s not only me that’s having this problem.

    Last week I managed to get this girl I’ve been obsessing over for months to mine. I’ve been out drinking with her a few times and we always end of kissing even though she insists we are friends

    By some sort of miracle I somehow managed to get her to meet me at my house late at night, I knew this was finally my chance

    When she arrived, we were sat on the settee watching netflix, one thing led to another and started snogging again, by this time I had a semi, yes this is going to happen!

    So we took it into my room, kissing, touching, got naked in my bed but I soon noticed nothing was happening downstairs.

    I just presumed I was drunk, but i was so frustrated as this was the girl of my dreams, the girl I’ve fallen in love with, the girl I’ve been wanting to be with for months and just nothing.

    Awkward as fuck. She still stayed the night and went to sleep. I couldn’t drop off because of the disaster so waited for her to wake up in the morning so we could try again.

    So by now I should have sobered up right? Still nothing, still couldn’t get it up.

    I dont know if it is alcohol, stress, nerves or a mixture of the above but it’s really getting me down, been very frustrated and depressed by all this as now she seems to have fallen out with me.

    Feels good to get it all off my chest

    • Hi Todd
      I hear you, believe me. It’s one of the worst things ever when you finally get into bed with someone you really like and then it all falls apart because of a lack of blood flow down there!
      It’s really difficult to know if it was alcohol, nerves or whatever. I personally find nerves and general fitness levels play the biggest role for me now. When I’m in form and relaxed, there’s rarely a problem. When I let myself go a bit and get all stressed about it, the problem can resurface.
      I’d say the key in your case is not to let it ruin your self-image or give up on her. Stay cool, stay relaxed, talk to her about it if necessary in as light-hearted and confident a way as possible, and let her know it won’t be forever, and isn’t going to be a silent awkward issue you both have to deal with if she comes back to your place.
      Oh, and read all the comments here if you didn’t already. There are some gems of advice among them.

    • Hey,

      I am a 23 year old who never experienced problems in my teen years. I have had sex with 15 or more girls (mostly one night stands beside a few). Up until the last year or so, I’ve only not been able to get erect once. The past 4 different girls I have tried to have sex with I was fine during foreplay, then could not get erect once it was go time. With a few girls I eventually did later on or the morning after. I am healthy, I work out, but I do watch porn and masturbate daily. It never bothered me because I knew being single I was probably just anxious because I wasn’t getting laid every night or week, so when it did happen, I would be excited.

      Now the problem is I went on a few dates with a girl I really like and we went to do it the other night and I was solid during foreplay and went flat when it was go time. This girl is so beautiful, has an awesome personality, and I think I’m into her already. She was super cool about it and doesn’t care much about the sex, but I obviously care about this happening and think it only hurts my confidence going into the next time every time it does happen.

      Where I’m confused is I am a confident person who performs well in bed and have nothing to be ashamed of downstairs. I also just had sex with a previous partner about a month ago multiple times in one night and I was erect as can be with no issues. I’m starting to see a trend and think I just get super anxious when going to have sex with a girl for the first time? Especially in this case when I care about her. I am planning on stopping watching porn and masturbating, but am unsure of any other steps I could take to help myself for next time. Any advice or help on my situation specifically would be awesome. Thank you!

      • Hi Justin

        Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds very similar to my, and many other readers’, experience. I’m not sure I have any specific ideas for you that aren’t the same as what I’ve already shared to be honest. I would say that you might be right about the nerves, as it seems to be a pattern that when guys get with someone that they really, really like, the problem can occur where it didn’t before, or at least not as badly.
        I think being calm, confident, having a laugh and making her feel that it’s not her fault, and that it’s not a big issue that you’re stressed about, can help. Being relaxed and letting her know it won’t be a permanent issue is a good idea. And finding a way to spend lots of time together so that you can get past the nerves might help too. Also, have a read of all the previous comments. Many readers have left very useful comments.
        All the best

    • First of all, I’d like to suggest you don’t fall in love with a girl who insist that you are just friends. She doesn’t like you like that and it’s obvious. She may like you enough to fuck but not to commit. Don’t set yourself up for heartbreak. If a woman tells me we’re just friends but constantly flirts with me…I know exactly where we stand and don’t allow feelings to develop.

  7. Apolo thank u a lot. The same story that you mentioned above had happened to me twice to a different girl. I have been demanding a certain girl for 2 month then on 9 january 2020 thing gone well. Then I think of playing sex with her for the first time. On our way to sex i were much erected then we reach the lodge I were erected. Still, we had a foreplay and I removed all her clothes. The time i were supposed to put thing inside my erection get lost, and i tried hard to regain it but it couldn’t. Nothing i could do except apologizing and grieving to this girl.

  8. Hi, I have been researching this for some time and I’m glad I found your site! I want to try some of your suggestions. I am with my dream girl for now about 7 months. We fell madly in love. But as unbelievable as this may sound, we have only had sex once! I am 40 and she is 47. She is mind blowingly beautiful and attractive and wants me like more than anything. We had 3 instances where we tried and Although I’d usually start hard, by the time we were ready for penetration it would literally just go away. Just fall extremely limp. It ended in disaster as she became extremely distraught. I had never had this happen before with any other women in my life. Fast forward to just this past Friday night. She had started to get distant for the few previous days with me. We got together and talked. I know the lack of sex has been driving her crazy and frustrating her. One thing I brought up and talked about is what I feel led to my issue. From everything I’ve read, mine is performance anxiety based. She said basically she couldn’t stand it anymore. She said she wanted me so bad it hurt and made her cry. We were just parked in the car talking. We got out and I approached her and we ended up in the back seat and had the most amazing long lasting sex. I thought it was behind me. Fast forward to today. We tried again. I got so worked up and anxious, it happened again. Almost got hard enough, tried to penetrate, and wasn’t hard enough, so it went downhill from there. She said it was okay, she was more understanding this time since we talked. I thought after our breakthrough the other night I was past this? I’m in great shape, do not smoke, do not do any drugs, barely socially drink (1 or 2 per sitting maybe once every couple of weeks) do not take ANY medication for anything, work out at the gym, eat a heart and blood flow healthy diet (after reading about what to eat to increase blood flow down there). From everything I’ve read the past few months I know mine is anxiety based. What would be your top suggestions to try to overcome the anxiety based ED? Thanks!

    • Hi there
      Sorry to hear you’re going through this right now!
      I could give you a long, sensible reply based on psychological principles, but really, I think there is one thing which works better than any other for me personally: have a drink or two!
      I know you say you barely socially drink, but maybe it’s worth trying. It always seems to help me – as long as I don’t drink too much and go overboard.
      Going back to more responsible options I can offer, I would say give her some amazing oral. Your tongue will never let you down, so you just need to get the technique right. And making her happy that way should also make you feel better in yourself, which then hopefully leads to less stress and pressure for you.
      I would also say try to take the pressure off in general – you need to own this, be confident, make it a funny thing if necessary. Just don’t let it make you look weak, scared, anxious, unconfident etc. Some women will work through those traits, but others will find them a bit of a turn off.
      How do you do that? First of all, I think just deciding that you’re not going to define yourself as a person who has a big ‘problem’ can help. You have already shown that you are able to have great sex together. If it can happen once, it can – and will – happen again. You just need to believe that:-)
      Finally, I would read all the comments in this now very long and old thread. There is some great advice from other men here, and in some ways probably better than mine!

  9. Tonight I was with a girl, we have been talking for a while and I decided to meet her, she was completely up for sex and I couldn’t quite get a full erection even though this girl looked like a model, she was amazing. It was the worst feeling, after that happens its the end of the road. I tried what I could, but it was no use. I’ve had this happen to me once before when I was younger, maybe 24 or so and I know that there is no going back. I am now 32.
    I do smoke a lot and I don’t work out. However, I am not overweight or overly unfit with muscle.
    I’m going to potentially meet this girl in a week or so and try again. I’m going to drastically cut down on my cigarettes and avoid porn and masturbating and increase my protein intake.
    I wonder if this will yield results.
    The nerves are the worst part though. I’m wondering if the other measures will counteract my problem
    If I do end up meeting her again, I will leave an update on my situation.

    • Hi Dave
      Sorry to hear what happened to you. I hope you manage to get over the nerves. I think your physical lifestyle choices are a great idea. I’d just eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of veg and fruit too, rather than overloading on protein.

  10. Well, this is my story… 5 years ago I was with a new partner. First time meeting and first time sex. Damn, I couldn’t get an erection at all. No matter how much I tried. Her response was, “I guess I found my match”. That was the first time it’s ever happened to me. We ended up in a relationship that lasted 5 years. Every time we had sex after the first time, it was great, I performed very well except for the occasional times I wouldn’t be 100% hard. She boasted on my size and stamina.
    I ended the relationship last month after I found her in the arms of another man. Not only that she was sending other men nudes and open leg shots and trying to meet up with them.
    Well soon after that, the woman of my dreams whom I’ve known since high school comes into my art studio. (I had taken her to prom and had strong feelings for her for 21 years… We are both 37) Well…..something happened… We both started to fall for each other… HARD….. It’s been a few weeks and we’ve been very close… Doing everything except foreplay and sex cause we both agreed to get to know each other again after 21 years.
    Well, last night she couldn’t wait any longer. Neither could I. Things heated up pretty fast I had a full erection in the living room where it started. But she wanted to go to her room. Dark room, clothes off… We continued.
    Somewhere between the living room and her bed I lost my erection and couldn’t perform. I tried everything… She seemed very put off by it… WTF!!?? The woman of my dreams nude in front of me. I can actually have her…. I’ve waited for this for 21 years… And I can’t even pleasure her… Well, we stopped for a few min and I turned her around and managed to get somewhat hard. And went at it… Ejaculated prematurely ….. Like REALLY prematurely…. All I could do was apologize… I was so embarrassed… She said it was ok… She knows I’ve wanted her for a long time so she chalked it up to that.
    Brother, I hate this. My first time with my dream girl and I blew it….sigh… She said she was very nervous as well. And that we will try again tonight…
    Was it that I was focusing on her too much?? Maybe overthinking about me performing.. fearing that what happened 5 years ago would happen again.
    Maybe we rushed into it without first exploring each other and having some foreplay…
    I just need some feedback…..
    Thanks brother.

    • Hi Apollo
      I feel for you! It’s the same story as many other men have described in the comments here over the years since I first wrote the article. I imagine anxiety and pressure were very likely culprits. I hope you’ve managed to have a better experience since that first night. Try to relax and speak about it. Don’t let it become an awkward elephant in the room. Just speak openly about it, stay calm and in control and don’t act like it’s a disaster. If she cares about you, she’ll stick around long enough for things to settle.

  11. Stumbled on this wonderful blog after a bit of personal disaster last week.
    Here is my short story:
    Always struggled with performance anxiety, since I wasn’t able to take my first gf virginity when I was 17 (I went soft 3 times before penetration). This haunted me for years.
    Present time. I am 28 now. Recently came out of a fairly turbulent 3 year relationship. It also had a slow start in the bedroom but quickly picked up and we had some awesome and even kinky sex.
    After we broke up I took 4 months for myself. Recently met a nice girl in a book store and we went out on a few dates. The last one ended up at my place. Things got hot in the bedroom and we tried to have sex.
    She really wanted PiV with a condom. I was a bit nervous and shy but tried to perform. After oral I put a condom on and get on top, I leave it to her to guide me in but got soft. Awkward. We do oral and try again but the same result. I tell her I am too tired and we just finished each other off with oral. Texted her after that night and she was very distant with responses…
    This leaves my confidence in absolute shambles. I now doubt myself in every way… can I get a strong erection? Do I even know how to have sex in missionary anymore? How’s this possible since I had years of awesome kinky sex?
    Please if you have advice let me know.

    Tdlr: new partner after ending ltr relationship, I struggled in bed badly and now feel like I forgot how to have sex

    • Hi Ashton
      Glad you liked the blog! Sorry to hear your situation though – I can understand the stress.
      Did you read my article about condom problem regarding erections? You might find some useful tips in there, as I had a similar problem with condoms, and have put a lot of thought into tackling just that specific side of things. I highly recommend checking it out.
      And specifically, I’ve also sometimes found it’s not so easy to stay in missionary while someone else guides me in. I don’t know why, but it just kind of feels physically stressful propping yourself up and waiting, especially if they take ages. Weird one.
      If I’m having issues like that, I find staying in a standing or kneeling position while I or they guide it in helps a lot – get gravity and blood flow working for you!
      All the best

  12. Just had my first experience of this tonight. Was searching online for articles about it. I managed to leave with the hottest girl in the bar.
    She was not happy. Thought I did not find her attractive.
    I still cannot believe it.

    I’m 41 now and almost all of the ladies I have been with have complimented me for what I am like in bed. So this came totally out of the blue.

    Probably blown it with the girl.
    But never thought something like that would happen to me.

    • Hi there
      I’d say if it’s the only time it’s happened to you, put it down to the alcohol (if you drank) and try not to get into a negative thought pattern about it. You don’t want stressing about it to influence how things turn out next time!

  13. heya. This happened to me for the first time with my new partner. We have a solid long distance relation, but the first time we were together no matter how hard we tried I could not manage to get hard enough to penetrate. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t aroused or anything. On the third day, I managed to finally do something albeit I had to masturbate a few hours before to see if I could reset the system.
    we are going to be together in 15 days or so and I’m afraid that will happen again. Furthermore, there have been some issues with my size, she said that she is used to bigger (her two previous partners had bigger penises) although she orgasmed (according to her for the first time) when we finally manage to do it. Now that we had that conversation I feel really insecure. I’m average sized, and so far never had any complaints. but now I feel like I’m going to disappoint her and/or not being able to get it up once more.

    • Hi Tom
      Sorry you had this issue, I know it’s a stressful one to experience. And also sorry your partner threw that emotional hand grenade into the mix. That’s not a very fair thing to say, and not helpful for either of you. But hey, people say stuff they perhaps shouldn’t! Personally, I’d forget about the size one. If you can bring her to orgasm, then who cares. I saw a good survey a while back showing that women might prefer larger sizes for fun times, but like a ‘normal’ size for relationships. It’s the novelty factor in many cases. But if it’s still a concern, I’d get learning how best to use your tongue. That’s a sure winner if done right, and tongue size is meaningless! As for the first issue, all I can say is try to relax about it. Read the comments here too if you haven’t already – there is some amazing supportive advice from previous readers. Hoepfully between my tips and theirs, you’ll get it under control.

  14. Thanks for the helpful article. I have this problem with new partners too, and it’s really getting me down. Will try some of your ideas.

  15. Hi Ethan,
    I am a 58 year old man who is very lucky to have a new 35 year old very sexy & attractive girlfriend of 2 months.
    Although my girlfriend & I don’t get together as much as I would want due to logistical reasons, we have been intimate on 4 occasions.
    On 3 of the 4 occasions we have had good time together in bed when I have struggled to get a full erection despite being 100% turned on by her, the 1 occasion we were intimate in the back of my car I was able to get a full erection without an issue.
    I am a very fit person, training 7 days a week on weights & CV & regularly monitor my health with the support of my GP by way of regular blood tests to monitor my Testosterone, Cholesterol, PSA, Thyroid levels and all are where they should be. I have also used all ED tablets available and non of them make a difference to me be able to getting & maintaining a full erection during my intimacy with my girl.
    I have read your suggestions about L-Cittruline & L-Arginine and I am going to give them both a go to see if they help me in any way, but I wondered if you could suggest anything else I could try?

    • Hi John
      Thanks for sharing your story. I’d love to hear back from you if you do try them! I am not sure they will help if the drugs didn’t though. In my mind, they all work in a similar(ish) way by increasing blood flow. But you never know! I guess the other technique to try if no drugs work is a vacuum pump. It works really well for me, even if it is a bit weird…

  16. Hi, great read and reassuring. I’ve had this twice now the second time last night.
    I too am wanting to have the best performance ever with someone I really like too so the pressure was on. Luckily I did manage to become erect and although we had sex I couldn’t maintain or become aroused for further.
    I’ve used a Viagra (half a tablet) before and that worked and like after was fine. I think all you’ve said will help with the physical but I’m sure the psychological anxiety is a big factor.
    Just annoying as I’m usually horny as hell lol?

    • Hi Harry
      Glad the article was useful. You’re right in that the psychological can be more tricky to address. But I also think that addressing the physical points might give yourself a confidence boost too, thus helping with the anxiety. But if you read through all the comments, you’ll find lots of fantastic advice from others who have faced this and found ways to tackle it positively.

  17. Hey, I’m following this article since you first wrote it.

    It’s awesome how you still care of it, please don’t stop and let us know if you finally find a solution.

    By the way, if you’d resume this article in a quote, what’s the very best thing that worked for you with your problem?


    • Hi S
      That’s great to hear! It’s always encouraging to know readers appreciate the articles.

      In a simple quote, it would probably be ‘mentally relax and physically improve blood flow’.

      A longer summary would be that several things helped, and it’s maybe worth hitting the problem from different angles to see what works best for you personally.

      The most profound effect for me came from Viagra and generic Sildenafil drugs – they are like magic and will help no matter how nervous or anxious I am – but the side effects can be a very real issue.

      A penis pumped worked well with a long-term partner who accepts it. But it’s kind of weird, so you have to get past that pride issue. Not taking it too seriously and finding a way to joke about it helps. Otherwise you just look ridiculous pumping away with a serious expression on your face!

      And staying as healthy, fit and mentally relaxed as possible also had a major impact. Plus it’s free to tackle those points, which is always a plus.


  18. Thanks so much for this fantastic article! I have had the exact same problem on many occasions, and it’s incredibly frustrating. As many other readers have said, I think a lot comes down to nerves and how much you really like the girl you’re with. I will try some of your ideas though as they sound sensible to me.
    Thanks again!

  19. Really relieved to have found this post, nice read.
    I’ve had almost the exact same situation as you, had surgery (mine was for colon cancer) and my confidence took a massive hit, whilst I like to think my scars don’t bother me I know they must as I become self-conscious when I take my top off. I had a few experiences since the surgery that were fine but drink was involved, recently I began to want to try dating again (only 27 so would be nice), one girl wanted pics from me and this set off a nice bout of anxiety, I’ve never been worried about penis size or anything like that so I’m not overly sure what in particular caused this but since then I’ve struggled with performance anxiety with or without drink, similarly to you I find I can reach about 50-75% but struggle to get fully erect.
    Sorry to hear you haven’t found a permanent solution, for now I’ve taken a break from it all, hoping that by doing this it will enable me to reset but issues like this cause a vicious cycle and honestly not sure what else I can do, I already exercise regularly and try to eat well, I might look into the supplement. I find now what I struggle with is really getting into the mood, I’m thinking to much about performing and so failing to even just enjoy the moment.

    • Hi Aiden
      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. It’s interesting to hear from someone else who’s been through the whole ‘cancer messed up my sex life’ thing! Several years later, I do find things are better in general as I have a stable partner. I also have more tools in the toolbox, so to speak, for dealing with it. A couple of supplements, some viagra, and a penis pump. Between them, I can sort myself out if I really need to! But generally, I just try to keep healthy and not stress about the occasion erection problem.
      It’s easier when you have a regular partner of course. But if you’re dating and don’t want to worry about issues the first night or two, perhaps keeping an ED pill in the back pocket just in case will help you relax, safe in the knowledge that if you can’t get it up, you have something that will help – even if you never actually use it.

  20. I am a 25 year old that has been dealing with this for about 6 years on and off now… the first 3 girls i ever had sex with i had no problem at all, i was 16-19 during those. When #4 came around i could not get hard at all. I was very embarassed and freaked out something was wrong. We tried again a few days later, and i was fine. I havent experienced this problem any other time, even having a 3 some with two girls and i performed (though i was drinking). Now up to #17 in girls and experienced this same issue the other day. I was drunk at a party and we hooked up, i had no issue getting hard. She came over A Few days later and we were sober and i could not get hard no matter what i/she tried (She wouldnt go down on a soft shaft). I do have anxiety, though I’m good at hiding it, and i am technically cheating on a gf who doesn’t live in the same state as me… so I know this is all a mental thing.

    Any one have any suggestions how to pass this block in my mind? I work out 5-6 days a week, not fat, and i do use chewing tobacco. Ive recently done some reading and thought about taking 5g of L-Argenine. The only other supplements I take are BCAAs and Whey protein.

    It always seems like once im with a girl once i have no issues getting hard again.

    Any suggestions?



    • Hi Jay
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t want to sound judgmental, but maybe you were ok at the party because the alcohol stopped you caring about cheating. But when sober, that thought is more present in your mind? If you suffer from anxiety, perhaps knowing that you’re cheating is stopping you from fully relaxing.

  21. Hello guys,
    I definitely had/have the same problem of not getting hard or losing my erection, caused by anxiety. Only the first or first few times with a new girl. I tried to solve it with getting in a really relaxed mindset etc. But it didn’t work well. Even when i thought I’m relaxed i noticed that my heartbeat is still very fast and my palms are sweaty.
    Here is how I solved the Problem pretty much completely:
    First of all, I really think it helps to stop all porn and jerking off completely. At least until the next successful First time, first girl, erection.
    But the important part is in your own head, especially your way of thinking.
    Don’t think about what she is thinking at all! Stop thinking of her as a person at all. What you usually do is, for example, *touching her at a more intimate place* then checking her facial expression real quick to see if she might like it or not. Stop all that. Turn off your thoughts and only feel with your senses. Just think about what you can feel with your hands and see with your eyes. Don’t think about how she reacts to you. Think of her as just a sex object that is naked in front of you. Ready for you to touch and feel it the way you like. Know what really turns you on, whatever it is (vagina, butt cheeks, asshole) and touch it. Or if you not at a stage where you can just touch her asshole for example, then think about touching it, how nice it will feel and get as close to it as you think is acceptable. Don’t think about yourself either! Don’t think about your penis that has to get hard, or anything related to your sex performance! That will all come by itself with you getting hornier. You have all the time you need to touch her and play with her the way you like. It can help if you get even extremer and maybe think of her without a head, it’s just a vagina that you want to screw. That sounds like being a complete asshole to her but it’s not. At this stage you think about yourself and what you like to do with that pussy to satisfy yourself. You will see that this will make her horny as well when she sees how much you enjoy her. The whole erection thing is not in your mind. I could go one with telling you what to think, but i guess you get what I mean. Keep on with that mindset and you will feel the swell in your penis coming by itself without any force. Trust me this will work 100%. Do all that until you finally stick your boner into her and then just enjoy. When you are at this stage you still got time to now react to her expression of feelings and do what she likes and perform like you/she want. Or most of the time you will see her enjoying even that stage before and you can just continue the whole act thinking the way i told you before. You will automatically get calm and away from any anxieties. This works much better than any viagra or Testosterone boost, because the Problem is all in your mind, so fix it in your mind.

    • Hi Mike
      First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m sure it worked for you, as you say, but I doubt this would be the best way forward for many men. For one thing, it’s not very cool to start thinking of your partner as just a headless sex object – and a little creepy to be honest.
      Many guys have this problem because they are really into the person in front of them, which causes the anxiety. So I don’t think it’s going to feel right to totally ignore their needs and desires and treat them like a fleshlight sex toy with legs.
      I do think some of what you say is perhaps helpful, about not worrying about what the other person is thinking if things don’t happen straight away. But that’s about it for me personally.
      At the end of the day, communicating with them is a better way to start, and continue, with a healthy sexual relationship. Not ignoring their desires and the way they react to your touch.

  22. I am a 23 year old guy, and this is what ive found so far, since i am 20 it happens the same thing that u talking about. Theres two things i have realised. One when drunk, all works out, also because its with colored friends i particularly have no mental interest on, like , its just a sex partner and i simply dont overthink about anything.
    Now last girlfriend i had i liked her very much, and she was something very sexy for me, first time we did it, it worked, no problem , but later started happening, and she understood i was anxious, but during this relationship was happening like 30% of times, and i just realised i was not being myself with her, i was kinda wanting her to like me , during first 2 months happened, Next 2 month didn’t .
    Girlfriend before that, happened first time , but stopped happening pretty fast, a relationship of one year, and i was simply being myself.
    But yea, one year since we broke up(the sexy one), and ive been only like having sex with a colored friend and the “one year girl”, i had no problems with them.
    But 1 hour ago, theres this girl i really like on all sorts of ways, like i love her mind, i guess i want her to like me too, and she does. Anyway, bye bye boner pretty fast, and that sucks, but yea she was impeccable about it.
    In conclusion, i realized, the more you care about her, the more you see her like an angel, the worst happens. I guess the trick is not to think about nothing except the moment, dont think about her past, dont think about what happened before in your life. If you like her, and u want to stick for a relationship, let her know, like i did, before any sex, that this can happen.
    And when it does, dont be worried, mad, or frustrated, wont help on anyway. Just live with it, talk to her, and give it a try next time, because you develop a trust with your partner and this stops happening, but for it, u need to also be yourself.
    Good luck to all ya guys with this performance anxiety!

    • Hi there
      Thanks for sharing your story and experience. I think there might be some truth to the problem increasing the more you really want the person, care about them, and are therefore worried that you have to impress them and it all has to go perfectly so she sticks around.
      And I think you’re right in that the answer isn’t to try not to care about them – you have to stay true to yourself – but to try not to think too much about the past or future. Sure, be upfront and warn them it can happen if it makes you feel more relaxed about it, but don’t dwell on it and get yourself into the moment and enjoy just being in their company.

        • Hi
          In a way, yes it does. But I didn’t see it as a necessarily racist comment needing moderating – if that’s what you wanted to draw my attention to. More a matter of fact talking about personal preferences. Sure, ideally a better choice of words would be good, but not everyone has that awareness, and it’s not my job to police endlessly the language people use.
          Believe me, there are often some very nasty comments which I don’t publish. Considering the nature of this site, finding the balance between discussing matters and not being offensive is no easy task! Feel free to tell me why you think the comment deserved more attention though.

  23. Anyone like me? I have wife but we don’t have sex very frequently ’cause we sleep with my one year old daughter. We have sex about once a week. That a little better compared to a time when we do it once a month. I have sex well with her despite i usually cannot hold too long before ejaculation. (I managed well by slowing down or change position and she usually ask me to cum before i have to). I sometimes have sex with ONS partner but the problem is that i usually can’t keep an erection while wearing condom. And i can’t have erection during the whole night. Just sleep holding each other. Sometimes i don’t experience it but usually do so. But with my wife, it’s ok. I thing it’s about mental. Back then when I first have sex with my wife i experience the problem too. I just want to ask is there anyone like me getting no problem with long time partner while any new partner gets frustrated for the first time and may never have the second chance? I’ve started working out at the gym for 2 months and swim twice a week. Will the workout help?

    • Hi Wilmer
      I don’t know how many of the comments you read through, but I definitely remember previous readers saying that they had a similar issue, so you’re not alone in that one.

  24. Hi Ethan
    I’m 24 years old, and I had dated a girl for 4 years. It was a perfect relationship I never had this problem before. I even could go 4 times. but when she went to university things went wrong. she started hanging out with some guys, and I was starting to get worried. Anyways, I found out she was cheating on me, so I started cheating on her too and everything was fine, I don’t know how stupid I was to stay with her after I had found out, but I did the same thing as she did. Anyways, I couldn’t Get hard with her anymore, I tried many times, it is the worst feeling. Thinking About it drives me crazy. And I’m over thinking person, I think about literally everything. I didn’t love her that much, it was just having fun. But last 3 times we tried to have sex didn’t work at all. I could do it so easily if I was high. So I decided not to see her again. Thought that would fix the problem and that happens to me cuz of her. I met a new girl, we loved each other, she is a virgin. She didn’t want to lose her virginity. But I convinced her that I’m not staying with her if she doesn’t. So she agreed, and last week in my car was trying to have sex, I got hard at first, but when things got serious I couldn’t even feel it. And she tried to play with him and sit on him didn’t change anything. It’s just so embarrassing and stupid. Like I’m been telling her i can’t be with you for not having sex. Sex is everything for me and she finally gave it to me, but I couldn’t perform. Like screw my life and I thought that would happen to me with only my ex but apparently, it’s thinking problem, I was nervous and I kept thinking how I gonna get him hard. btw I go to the gym 4 days a week, and I eat healthy. Don’t smoke. Only weed like once every 2 months. But now I’m stressed and can’t stop thinking about it like what should i do?

    • Hi Ted
      First of all, I have to comment on the part about telling her you will leave her if she doesn’t have sex with you. That’s not a great situation to be in, and puts a lot of pressure on her. Perhaps deep down you knew that, and it also affected you psychologically.
      Secondly, after all that pressure, why did you choose the back of your car to finally do it? Perhaps a more romantic/sensual/relaxing place would have been better – both for her to have a great memory of it, and for you to be able to relax.
      My advice would be to have a think about the way you go about it with this girl. If you care about her as much as you say you do, why don’t you put some effort into creating a wonderful atmosphere and making it a special occasion?
      Even if you still get stressed, you can at least relax together – enjoy some soft music and candles if that’s her thing, or loud music and some quality drinks if that’s what you think she’d like more.
      So basically, go back to square one and have a rethink of your approach to sex with her would be my advice. I think you can give her a great time, and also set the scene for yourself to be able to take your time and enjoy her company, which might help you get past the initial nerves or pressure.

  25. Oh god, this happened to me recently. I’m a 28 year old guy who’s only been with one girl before. Back then I was in a long-term problem so I never had this problem. That relationship ended last year and I hadn’t gotten intimate with anyone until about a month ago. I went out with this amazing girl one night and we ended up in bed in the end. Like you said, I was like 75% hard during foreplay and oral sex and all but as soon as I got to wearing a condom, I went completely flaccid. It was embarrassing and terrifying as it had never happened to me before. We didn’t have sex that night and I was super frustrated and frankly my confidence was completely shattered.

    I started reading a lot on this regard soon after. I realized it was pretty much anxiety that did me in. This girl has been a long time friend of mine and she was going to leave the country the week after. She had two sexual encounters before. Both one night stands but according to her, they were both not satisfying. So I wanted to give her a good experience. And I had just this one night to do it! After that she’d be gone for god knows how long! I made sex like a test I had to pass instead of something I needed to enjoy. As I have now realized, all that pressure and stress I put on myself caused this.

    Since then, I have started working out, stopped watching porn and started nofap as well. Thanks for sharing your story and suggestions. I will make my diet more testosterone-fuling one as well.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like the pressure was a likely suspect! I hope your efforts prove successful and you can enjoy your time with her more next time you see her.

  26. Up till now I’ve not seen it as a problem, I’ve put it down to alcohol. I’ve never had an actual relationship, and all my sexual encounters have been drunken 1 night stands and only a couple of times I’ve been functional. Recently I’ve met a girl that I really like and might actually see a relationship and a future with. We kissed on a night out and she came back to mine but we never had sex, just slept, and it was wonderful. The next time she was over we had a bit of foreplay with each other and I got hard just fine but it ended at that, and that was OK too. Then the 3rd time we were together just the other night, perfectly hard for foreplay, and we decided to go on, but when it came to penetration I just got softer and softer and couldn’t perform. I have depression and anxiety but I think it’s probably what’s caused the issue with overthinking about how I should touch/play with her during it and so on. My mind was also wandering, thinking of everything apart from what I was doing. I have probably overused porn because I haven’t been in a relationship so from now I’m making an attempt to avoid it to see if that will help. I’m just confused as to how I can get hard with just kissing and touching but when it comes to the act im failing. It all seems to be mental rather than physical. The idea of talking about it is appealing but I tend to get very nervous when the subject comes up. Is anyone else on the same boat? Any advice will be greatly appreciated

    • Hi Graeme,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve definitely had a similar thing happen. I think when just kissing, you don’t feel the same pressure as when the moment of intercourse arrives. If you have any worries, that’s a likely time they are going to surface as it’s a key moment – at least in our heads.
      I’d talk about it, make light of it, own it and not worry about it if you can. If it happens, don’t stress, but go back to foreplay etc. I do find sometimes that kneeling on the bed, or standing up, when you get an erection and are ready to go can help it stay hard. I put it down to simple gravity helping send more blood down there, and keeping it there!

  27. Curious if this has happened to anyone… healthy 29 year old here. Became newly single after a 8 year relationship. Never had a issue with ED. My buddy told me to take this Cialis and it will take my sex from a 10 to a 15. As it did. So I took it for about a month with this new girl I was seeing and it was great. She left on a month long vacation so didn’t see the reason of taking it anymore. After about a week I realized I can’t get an erection anymore. And the more I think about it the more stressed I get. Went to a urologist and they said everything’s fine with me and it’s all in my head. The girl I’m seeing is getting back in a week and a half and I’m terrified, I don’t know how to beat this.

    • Hi Todd
      I haven’t experienced this problem personally. I would say though that perhaps it was pure coincidence, and your libido just took a natural dip. I understand your concern, but hopefully you’ll be fine when you see her again. Try not to stress about it, and probably stay away from these drugs if you don’t need them – something I imagine you already decided to do!

  28. Hello,

    Before I start I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your personal experiences with us and helping a lot of us to understand a bit more of ourselves. I do not want to write a book on here so I will try to go directly to the point.

    I’m 25 years now and everything started when I first tried to have sex and I could not get an erection. Since then and from all my past experiences (relationships and one night stands), I realized that my ‘first time’ erection problems would mostly occur when I was sober (I don’t seem to have a problem with that when I am drunk) and when putting the condom on. To be honest, apart from my fist time trying to have sex, I would always find a way to get my erection back and have sex, some examples on how I did it are:

    -waiting some time before trying it again;
    -receiving (good) oral sex:
    -having sex without condom ’cause most of the times I would lose my erection when putting the condom on (but I do not recommend this to anyone);
    -playing with my penis (even if its flaccid) on the girl’s vagina;
    -doing something that really turns you on (liking her ass in my case).

    Lately I gave Viagra a try and it worked pretty well for me (with no side effects). Even though I do not want to depend solely on the pill, it does offer me a relieve to know that I can call back up in case my erection runs away. I hope that by having one pill on my wallet would give me a comfort feeling in case things don’t go as planned.

    It is important to mention that I am very anxious (overthinking being the bigger problem) and I really feel that this is the problem with me since I can get normal erections after the first time I am with a girl. So, I started to research more on how I can work on my anxiety through meditation or recently with the ‘mindfulness’ technique.

    My question is, is it mindfulness something that ever helped someone to deal with their performance anxiety? Is there any books, podcasts, websites you would recommend me to start off on mindfulness (there is a load of material out there and it is hard to choose)? I really feel that working on my anxiety would make me get rid of this problem but it is very hard to find a start point.

    Thanks again for all your texts on the matter and hope we will all find peace in our minds.

    Love from Brazil!

    • Hi Keoma
      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I really like a couple of your suggestions – especially doing something that turns you on, and also touching sexually even if flaccid. But best of all, the idea of keeping viagra just as a ‘comfort back up’ is great. I think that might be a really good suggestion to add to my general advice!
      Mindfulness is something I’ve also practised, with good success. But mainly for stress in life, not specifically for sex. Maybe it did help me over time as well though, as I’m generally less stressed nowadays!
      There’s a good book about it called ‘Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’.

    • I also had the same problem. There is a time a girl who happened to be ma girlfriend came to my house unexpectedly,. I just can’t explain y I went cold n scared….it was my first time to fail to get erection! Months later, this was now a different girl in this case I was aware of our date but the memories of past experience could allow me to even have 10 pcnt erection!….anyway am still confused n don’t know how to beat this!!!

    • So I’m 19, I just got out of a 3 year relationship about 7 months ago with a girl I truly loved but have recently met a new girl and I’ve started to develop feelings. About a month in with this new girl one night we tried to have sex but I couldn’t seem to get hard. I tired to explain to her what might have caused it and slept it off. The next night we tried again but I had the same problem. We’ve tried over 10 times and only about 3 of those were a success, I don’t usually watch porn but when I do I jerk off and that’s only about once a week. I work 12 to 15 hour days 5 -6 days a week and have a pretty healthy diet except I do smoke, which in this article says to cut back on, but that’s way too difficult. I just would like some more suggestions to fix my situation cause at this point it’s becoming embarrassing and I’m getting worried there’s something wrong. Thanks

      • Hi Jon
        Sorry to hear you’re in this situation. I think if you’ve perhaps passed the initial stages where anxiety is a likely culprit, it’s worth investigating physical causes. If you’re not too embarrassed, it might help to speak to your doctor to get a check-up. Smoking definitely won’t help you – I know it’s hard because I was a smoker for 20 years, quitting and starting again countless times. But if ever there was a good reason to try to cut down at least, your sex life is it!
        You can try experimenting with other things, like a penis pump, ED medication etc. But I’d do everything possible to fix it naturally either first or at the same time.
        All the best

  29. This has been happening to me for the last few years as well. Every time I was with a new partner, I couldn’t get it up for the life of me. Even with my current girlfriend, it took a few tries before it finally happened. I definitely think it’s anxiety related, because I remember even before it happened, I’d be kinda sweaty and my heart rate was high… and not because I was excited. I just don’t know how the hell to get it to stop. As of right now, it isn’t a huge issue, because I get it up fine with my gf for the most part, but even with her it happens randomly. I’m just worried that if we ever break up, I’ll have to go through it again with another girl, and who knows if they’ll be as patient as my current gf.

    • Hi Nick
      Perhaps if it still happens from time to time, there’s partly a physical cause too. Do you do, or take, anything that could be restricting blood flow, or affecting your circulation etc?

  30. I have had this problem my entire life too. With every single girl I’ve been with, I can never ever get it up during intimacy the first time (or first few times). Doesn’t matter if it’s sex, oral, kissing, nothing works and it’s so embarrassing and frustrating, because it sucks that something hat is supposed to be instinctual and normal is something that is such a struggle. I’m with my current partner of 2 years and we have issues anymore but I know that problem I had never got resolved, because I feel it’s mental rather than physical. I overthink or get too much anxiety which leads me to not get hard. Even these days if my partner is to perform oral or start to kiss me I start to wonder “will I get it up”, which usually leads to it not working. If I can somehow quiet my mind and feel comfortable and be present in the moment, it’s fine. I really hope to conquer this completely though as I don’t feel like any man should have to go through this problem. I do believe there is a correlation with porn and masterbation… I of course love porn but I do feel like it becomes unhealthy to watch it, I find that it’s really fake in a lot of ways and rather than being present and intimate with a partner we are trying to be pornstars sometimes. My current partner told me that, she said that when we have sex it feels like I’m thinking about what my moves will be or how I perform rather than just simply being present in the moment and being intimate naturally. Maybe a solution is to research and focus on how to quiet the mind and be present in life’s moments, not thinking too much about expectations or performance but just living and being alive, and enjoying it. I hope everyone here and myself conquer this one day, I have faith we will :)

    • Hi Sam
      Thanks for sharing your experience here. Have you heard of Mindfulness? It’s a way of dealing with stress, anxiety and other problems that’s become very popular in recent years. I mention it because it’s all about learning to quieten the mind a bit and be in the moment, which is what you say you need. I agree that it can be an issue during sex – we often worry that previous problems will happen again, which can be a vicious circle. I’ve done a lot of mindfulness work in daily life before, and really liked the results. You can get self-help guides on it in bookshops, online and there are websites that teach it for free.
      I totally agree that ED can be an unfair thing for men. But I also think it’s good to acknowledge that sometimes it just happens. As long as most of the time you’re ok, try not to stress when it does happen, accept it and enjoy being with your partner in intimate ways that don’t need an erection. If you can do that and relax with them, there’s a better chance you’ll get it going anyway.

  31. I’ve had the same problem my entire life, I thought it was just me.
    I found that if I don’t watch porn or only masturbate when I absolutely can’t find a woman and can’t carry on anymore. This is key!
    This has also meant lowering my standards from time to time since woman aren’t always dancing on the tables for me everywhere I go.

    Try to make every sexual encounter with a woman and try not to masturbate at all costs. This seemed to work the best for me.
    However, even doing this I’ve still managed to fail during the first sexual encounter.

    I’ve found a solution that works 100% of the time and that’s sticking to oral sex the first night. The suction from receiving head keeps me hard every single time. I’ve also never had a woman complain about me climaxing before having sex as long as I finished her off as well.

    I have run across a few women who want sex and will not finish me off orally. What seemed to work for me was having them on top. Also, I was very far along from the oral to begin with that losing an erection wasn’t even a thought. For some reason when a woman is on top I can last forever so even though I’m close to climaxing from the oral sex I can last as long as I need to.

    I’m pretty sure it’s all in our heads…this is what worked for me and I never had to explain anything.

    Good luck

    • Hi Dave
      Thanks for sharing your experience and your tips. I agree that reducing masturbation can help, and that there’s a big psychological component for many men. Focusing on oral sex is also a great way to take the pressure off you to ‘perform’. Sex doesn’t have to be all about penetration, and oral is a great way to enjoy intimacy together.

  32. Hi Ethan,
    I’m very well aware that this is an old post but I’ve only just seen it and i cannot tell you how relieved reading this has made me. I thought I was the only one this happened to as I’ve spoken about my issues to many of my friends and no one seems to understand what I’m talking about. I’ve had several potential hookups in the past few years which have all been ruined by my ED. It had happened with all three of my previous girlfriends the first time we hooked up; both times it was thoroughly embarrassing. We would begin foreplay, i would get an erection and after a while when i started to think about sex, i would start to panic and suddenly i would feel my erection going until it went completely and I was left with a girl who was worked up and ready for sex but I was not able to perform. As you can imagine i would feel pretty awful and the night would end with both of us going to sleep unfulfilled and feeling pretty bad. However, through sheer luck both of those girls gave me a second (and third chance) and as a result I was able to get to a stage with them where i felt comfortable enough that I wouldn’t start to worry or panic and I would be able to maintain my erection and have some great sex. My problem recently has been that my ED has stopped a few hook ups and I haven’t been given a second chance. As a result of this I haven’t had sex in two years! As a 22 year old this has left me feeling very inadequate and frustrated. I’ve also been masturbating regularly for quite a few years now which according to your post may be contributing to the problem. As quite a shy guy, now I’ve left university it has become increasingly difficult to meet new girls so every chance I have with a girl is now important and i don’t want to be screwing it up. Any advice as to what i can do?

    • Hi Charlie
      Thanks for sharing your experience, and I’m sorry to hear it’s led to you feeling so worried about sex. I completely understand what you’re going through, believe me!
      I think it’s a personal choice what you decide to do. I’ve been experimenting with different meds to see what works, which you may or may not have seen my reviews of. For me personally, those that increase blood flow work well – viagra, generic viagra, herbal versions even. But also a penis pump seems to work well. My personal feeling at the moment is that working on getting blood flow in order without meds would be ideal. And anxiety/stress in the moment of needing to perform is also something that can stop you from getting an erection. So, my advice would be to work on the mental side (read the comments here for some great, positive advice about that), and also the physical side. And by that, blood flow either naturally or with some help is something to consider.

  33. Hey, thats interesting article, i love people who keep on gathering new information about certain topic for a long period of time…it made me less worried, so thanks… heres my problem: I am 18 years old, i do workout usually at home, but not regularly, i have almost no fat, but im not that much muscular…and im gay possibly bi, but i am attracted to appearance and personality and knowledge, i just want to be with a guy and cuddle and hug, etc… generally i rarely get horny, i usually jack off once or twice a week, but even at those times im not horny or i dont have the desire to do it… and its getting worse as the time moves on…i just started with sex/dating guys, and ive been with 2 guys so far, when we were hugging or something i did get boner, but when we were together at night, in bed, i couldnt get hard on… and it was frustrated… the first time it happened, was like a month ago and i was laying on a bed, he was sucking me, but i only got like 70% erection, and then it went soft, then a bit hard again, and then soft… i didnt know what to do about it, so i tried to sit and not lie on a bed, i must say that it helped but it still wasnt right, it took me like hour to cum after i sat… the next time with other guy, i didnt cum at all… it was really late night tho, and i was tired… but in the morning its better, i can get harder,yet it takes me so long to cum… i was thinking about the causes of this… i think that not working out for more than 2 weeks, doing it at night, not having enough energy, being often on pc/phone takes away my desires and energy, laying down instead of standing, being stressed even a little bit, low sugar intake maybe… these are the factors that i think could affect my boner, but i might try increasing my testosterone, that could help… and probably drinking coffe at evening might help, to increase energy and blood circulation at night… but i find it weird that im like the only teenager i know, who doesnt jerk off everyday, doesnt watch porn(i do rarely), who doesnt think about sex everyday, and whose wanking session takes 10-50 minutes, i can edge for hours :D :D… i thought it was better to be this way, but its starting to get in way of my self-exploration journey… i will appreciate any ideas :)

    • Hi Martin
      Thanks for sharing your story here. I think you’re probably right in that some of those factors could be affecting your erection quality. In my experience, late at night is always worse than first thing in the morning. The blood circulation idea is also probably important, though I’m not sure a coffee is the answer. I’ll be writing more about circulation in the future as I’ve done a lot of research into it recently, and now know it’s a key factor. So again, the lack of exercise and long days sat at a computer won’t help. Don’t worry about the lack of libido compared to others though – you’re definitely no alone there, no matter what others might admit.

    • Hi Josh
      Sorry to hear that. Have a read through the suggestions both in the article and the comments. There are lots of great ideas from other readers too. Try not to stress about it, and work on the mental side as much as the physical.

  34. Hi Ethan. This is a great article as well as your article on condom issues, so a big thanks!

    During your research did you find any correlation in high blood pressure medication and ED, specifically Amlodipine Besylate or Lisinopril? Also, have you found any correlation with reduced sodium intake?

    About 4 months ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and started taking Amlodipine. About a month after that I was also prescribed Lisinopril in addition to and instructed to cut way back on sodium in my diet. Not long after this I noticed I wasn’t getting as hard as I used to and I’m definitely having ED-condom issues. I tried googling this and all I’ve found is that ED can be related to high blood pressure, Amlodipine should actually help with ED, and ED is not a side effect of Lisinopril. I’m finding this pretty odd since it seems like my body has gone through the opposite as I wasn’t having any ED issues when my BP was high. I had a follow up a couple of days ago and my doctor said he didn’t believe it was the meds and maybe thought it was stress related. This is possible, but it seems like a pretty big coincidence that my issues started the same time I started taking BP meds.

    Thanks in advance, and again great articles!!

    • Hi Rich
      Thanks for your comment, and for your compliment – it’s always good to know readers appreciate the articles!
      I can understand why you’d be concerned that these meds could be causing your problem, especially as they would appear to have a similar effect to drugs like sildanafil, which help ED by increasing blood flow. However, they don’t work in exactly the same way, so I think it’s important not to make a definitive connection. I did some research, and all I could find was some mention of Lisinopril possibly causing low sex drive. Perhaps that’s something for you to look into more, rather than straight up ED. Another link in the possible chain of cause and effect, so to speak.
      It could be stress related too, if you’re under stress. So maybe that’s something to tackle anyway. And perhaps ask your doctor about low sex drive rather than ED, and see if that triggers any ideas.

      • Thanks so much Ethan for your quick response. I can confirm that my sex drive had decreased as well after starting on Lisinopril, so will have to look into that as this along with some increased stress (as my doctor had pointed out) could be the cause. In the follow up appointment that I had mentioned my doctor took me off Lisinopril (not only b/c of my suspected side effects but also b/c my BP was back to normal ~120/80 levels) and things seemed to have gotten better. I haven’t had an opportunity to put it to the final test yet lol, but hopefully I will be able to soon. Of course I’m going to be nervous about having issues now, so hopefully that doesn’t screw me up too much.

        What was your experience like with L-Arginine supplements? I did some googling on it after reading your article and it looks like that it not only helps with ED but can also help with high BP (since it increases blood flow). My BP has ticked up a bit since stopping the Lisinopril (still within acceptable levels) so thinking of asking my doctor if I should start on L-Arginine to maybe kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

        • Hi Rich
          No problem, sorry this reply is delayed though – I’ve been away this week. For me, things that increase blood flow definitely seem to help. I had some good results with the L-Arginine, though it doesn’t always work. But having now tried various meds that work by increasing blood flow specifically, I now know that for me it’s an effective way to tackle the problem. Do check with your doctor that it’s a safe option for you though considering the BP.

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