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.

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