How to deal with erectile dysfunction

Sooner or later it happens... It's time to engage in sexy activities, things are feeling hot, you're ready to plunge our throbbing manhood into your waiting partner! Only there is one slight problem: your manhood is not so much throbbing as it is napping.

Hi, I'm Jay, a sex-positive, kink-positive man from Nova Scotia. And I'm here to tell you that this issue, this failure to rise to the occasion, happens to all of us penis-havers. On a long enough time-line, everyone eventually experiences a case or two of erectile dysfunction. Maybe we're tired, or drunk, or stressed, or just not in the right mood at the moment, or maybe our equipment is gradually aging and needs a little more attention before it's ready to operate. Whatever the reason, I want to emphasize again: it happens to us all.

It can be a little unnerving to experience napping naughty bits when you're expecting to perform. It might feel like your body is letting you down or not performing the way you feel a man's body should. However, this is not a big deal and, as I mentioned before, it happens to everyone eventually.

So what do you do when Mr Woody is taking a break? Well, let's talk about that.

He's resting right now

There doesn't need to be any shame or blame

The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no shame in having a sleeping python. It's a minor, usually very temporary, situation - much like having your foot fall asleep or pulling a muscle during a workout. There is no need to worry about it or to feel badly because of it.

When erectile dysfunction first strikes men may feel shamed, hurt, or like they are letting themselves (or their partner) down. This can lead to hurt feelings or deflecting statements such as, "This has never happened to me before!" Unfortunately trying to avoid hurt or a sense of responsibility for what is happening doesn't make the situation any better and it can put a damper on the sexy mood that had been brewing.

Rather than worry about why your flag is flying at half mast or trying to raise it higher, rather than make excuses or deflect blame for a lack of performance, this is a situation where a good sense of humour really helps. Keep in mind that your penis will rise to the occasion again later or during a future liaison. For now, shrug it off and let the little guy sleep.

He'll be back

Try to avoid telling your partner things such as "This never happens to me," or "I don't know why this isn't working!" Try to simply acknowledge the technical difficulties and move on. Tell your partner something like, "My penis said to start without him and he'll catch up later," or "I'm just a little tired, let's shift focus for a bit."


The zen of erections

One of the reasons I recommend not spending time worrying about the lack of erection is that erections are somewhat zen. It's usually only possible to get one when you're not worrying about whether you can get one. This means it's sometimes easier to get stiff on the bus ride home or while singing in the shower than it is when you're about to make love. Erections don't like to be pressured or forced. They're like cats, ignoring you when you call and then taking up space in your lap when you just want to read the newspaper. Chances are if you ignore your erection for a bit and place your attention elsewhere it'll come back.
Hopefully your erection doesn't chase laser pointers.

Focus on things you can do in the moment

All of this leads us to the question of if you're not fretting about Mr Happy taking a vacation and you're trying not to worry about when he'll be back then what should you be doing when your little soldier refuses to stand at attention? The short answer is: anything else.

Assuming you and your partner are heating things up in the bedroom and the two of you are about to become one, there are lots of things you can be doing which are not focused on your erection. As I mentioned before, you can start by acknowledging your pasta is still limp, and shrugging it off. Then be proactive and suggest the two of you do something else. Keep kissing, keep touching, shift the focus of the evening onto your partner's pleasure. Ignore your silent skin flute for the moment and go down on your partner, play with their nipples, or talk dirty. If you can manage it talk dirty while going down on them and playing with their nipples.

Okay, don't go overboard.

This may be a good opportunity to try out some kinks or other fantasies you two have been talking about. Have you negotiated any fantasies recently? Maybe one of you could get tied up? Maybe it's time to get the ice cubes out of the freezer and rub them on your body? Maybe one of you has been naughty and is ready for a spanking? Maybe it's time to see which one of you can do better playing Angry Birds while the other one performs oral sex on them? Be positive, be creative, be enthusiastic. Sex doesn't need to revolve solely around your erection; the important thing is for you both to still have fun together, in whatever form that takes.


Toys are your friend

On a related note, if you're having issues with raising your penis from the dead, even if you don't feel like sex is an option for you at this moment, it's still an option for your partner. Your lover won't mind you being slightly out of commission if you're still happy to rock their world! So grab a vibrator or some nipple clamps, or some tingly lotion. This is an opportunity to make your lover feel special by focusing on their pleasure. Don't "call off" sex because you've been benched this round; keep things going and let your partner be the star of the show! Next time maybe it'll be your turn, but right now this is an opportunity to make your partner see fireworks without worrying about your pleasure.
These awards don't win themselves!

Support your partner if they are having trouble

Thus far I've been mostly talking about what you can do if you are the one struggling with an absent erection. However, it's also important for the partner of the person struggling to be supportive. Not getting an erection is often an unpleasant surprise and you should try to be uplifting and positive if your partner is blindsided by erection woes.

Try not to draw attention to it or make jokes about it. This can feel like a big deal for the person not achieving lift-off. Instead be proactive. Ask your partner to take their time and focus on doing other things with you. Encourage them to touch you, slow things down and kiss more, run your hands over them. Tell them about a hot fantasy you both share. Try to help take his mind off the "deflated balloon" situation and focus instead on letting him know how much you're enjoying just being with him.

I'd also like to suggest that while introducing toys into a scene where the penis has bowed out can be hot, the approach to introducing toys is important. Sighing and saying something like, "Well, since you're out of commission, let's use Ms Wanda," while pulling out your magic wand is, well, insensitive. However, turning the situation into something fun can avoid hurt feelings. Try saying something along the lines of, "You know what we haven't done in forever? Let's make out while you finger me, like we're in highschool! Except this time it'll be hotter because you can tease me with this vibrator."

Getting through these potentially awkward moments it's all about focusing on the positive - what can we do and what can we do it with? - rather than dwelling on what is not working.

He already feels badly enough

Finally, I'd like to mention that some lovers feel like it is their fault when their partner's erection doesn't snap up like a pop tart out of the toaster. All too often a person worries they did something wrong, they aren't attractive enough, or their partner doesn't feel their shared connection. Some people may worry their partner is losing interest if they performed in the past and then struggle to maintain an erection. There is no reason to blame yourself. A shy erection is typically temporary and not a reflection of how your partner feels about you. He's here, with you; he's trying to engage with you sexually. He's into you, his member is just taking a time-out for some reason. It's not your fault any more than it is his - there is no reason to feel responsible. Chances are he'll be back to his usual stiff self soon.

Consider underlying causes if the condition continues

Having an erection not show up to perform once in a while is completely normal. People get tired, people get stressed, people get distracted and erections can become elusive in any of these situations. This is nothing to worry about. However, if erections suddenly stop happening and continue to not happen, even when you're playing Polish The Porpoise by yourself, then there could be a medical reason. Maybe it's stress, maybe it's reduced blood flow to the area, maybe it's prostate related. Whatever it is, if your erections don't return to you on their own after a few days, I suggest booking an appointment to see a doctor.

Usually an erection going on vacation for a while is nothing to worry about, but after a prolonged absence, it's a good idea to double check. Plus, your doctor may be able to prescribe some erection summoning medication which will get you back in the saddle and ready to ride again!