Erectile dysfunction is sadly becoming more common now than ever before. My post here is from the point of view of a man under 35 years of age. However I think people of all ages, as well as their partners will find this useful reading too.
Firstly a little about me, I had erectile dysfunction for most of my late teenage years and all of my twenties. It was only when I was in my thirties that I finally sorted it out with the aid of psychotherapy. I know well the way that this inability to perform destroys self confidence and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Even now I look back at all the years that I suffered with it in shame and ask myself why the hell I waited so long, expecting something to change whilst doing nothing of real significance to help it.
When you can get an erection anytime except when it matters, it’s disappointing, depressing and frustrating. Especially if you’re with a person for the first time and you can’t perform. Especially if that happens several times in a row. I’ve been there several times and it really messed with my head. More than I realised at the time actually.
If you have deep rooted psychological erectile dysfunction, this article itself won’t cure you. The number one most useful thing I did was go to a psychologist. It didn’t take long but having someone ask me the right questions seemed to unblock me somewhat. It didn’t fix me entirely though, some of the things in this article were the finishing touches I made after seeing my therapist. Note that I’m not a doctor, I simply wish that I’d read an article like this myself when I was suffering.
Firstly, just because you have had ED for years doesn’t mean that it is here to stay. Mine stayed for 14 years. Psychological erectile dysfunction isn’t an incredibly easy problem to fix, it’s true. Especially because if you were like me then you stayed in denial and thought it was hopeless for a long time. Yet I believe if I was able to beat it, you should be able to as well (no pun intended).
Everybody has times when their penis doesn’t work the way they want. Now I’m fully recovered but if I’m too tired, too stressed or have been emotionally unstable, it’s more difficult to get an erection. I’ve talked to my friends and they say the same. If it isn’t physical or mental exhaustion, it could easily be something else like being sick, having too much alcohol, drugs or even after eating too much. Especially from the macho types, don’t listen to all of the bullshit and jokes about erectile problems. Nobody is immune.
My personal experience was that erectile dysfunction was psychological. However an unhealthy body will also contribute to your problems if you’re not careful. If you drink too much, eat bad food, exercise rarely, smoke, have nutrition deficiencies or take drugs… you are asking for trouble. So take some time to reflect on each thing that contributes to your body health. I’d even recommend going to see a doctor and taking blood tests. There are some that will tell you what nutritional deficiencies you have. It might sound trivial but your body health and nutrition is incredibly important.
That’s not even getting to the psychological benefits of taking care of your body. Even if you’re never going to be an athlete or model, taking care of your body feels great. Shedding a few kilos or feeling more energy from your new nutrition plan does wonders for self confidence. Cooking new and more interesting meals with new ingredients is also fun. And who knows, maybe your new culinary skills can win points with your partner or date. That can’t hurt right?
I thought there was some physical side to my ED when I had it. Despite the fact that I could get an erection while on my own, I convinced myself that something physical was in place. Maybe it was the way I held my penis, the amount of time I had to get it going. No none of that, it was all in my head.
Most of the time I had it, I was in semi-denial and I actually looked to physical erectile dysfunction as an ‘easy answer’. I wanted to believe that something physical was happening so that I didn’t have to admit to myself that there was something deeper wrong. I thought “no way can I be psychologically weak enough to succumb to this”. That’s another problem with many of us. None of us like admitting to psychological problems of any kind. Stop thinking of it as a psychological ‘weakness’. It’s a trait, picked up from somewhere. Trained to you by either yourself, your situation or other external things. The more you start thinking of it that way, the more you will start to uncover what is wrong.
So what can you do if you have psychological erectile dysfunction?
First I tried what many people suggested. I tried not thinking about it. However when I try not to think of something, I make it worse and think of that thing even more.
I tried mindfulness meditation. This was somewhat useful as it got me used to emptying my mind. There are many free guided meditations on Youtube that you can check out. Plus lots of inexpensive books. There are even classes you can go to. I don’t do mindfulness much anymore but I think the concept stayed with me. In the years since all of the meditation I did, I found myself making deliberate choices to calm my life and my mind. A calm mind makes for better erections in my experience.
Another thing I think could help if you really can’t get meditation to work for you is sensory deprivation tanks/float tanks. Using one is kind of like a meditation short cut. I use them infrequently and my body feels like jelly every time because I get so relaxed. The first time Eve and I used one we went back home and had the most amazing sex.
Porn for me was an addiction and at the end of my twenties I finally quit it. I believe that was another big factor in my recovery. Porn over stimulates us, teaches us bad self image and sets our expectations too high. You are no doubt accustomed to seeing one hundred or more sexy individuals having effortless, explicit sex every month. How the hell are you going to be satisfied on a regular basis with just one sexy individual (who you are also responsible for pleasing)? And this is assuming your consumption of porn is simply average. If it’s heavy, you’re possibly seeing thousands of people having sex every month.
Let’s not also forget the weird shit. Porn can get really fucking weird. Strange fetishes, attractions to only certain body parts, very particular kinds of situations, people and places. Many people who watch porn for enough time will start developing some kind of weird fantasy that they didn’t have before. Fantasies are fine but it’s not good for you to be bombarding your mind with it all the time.
Think about it. How are you meant to keep your penis ‘inspired’ when you only have one person after consuming so much extreme content? No partner should have to compete with that.
Some people say they watch porn because real sex with their partner doesn’t excite them. You and your partner need to face some real issues if this is the case. Breaking up is obviously a last resort but you need to consider whether you are sexually compatible together anymore. You should never use porn as a substitute for a bad sex life.
There is a lot of shame attached to porn consumption. I would go to great lengths to hide the fact I’d been looking at porn. I’d hide it inside random system files. Zip it up. Encrypt it. In fact I hid it so well that I still stumble across it now, even after I thought I deleted it all. I found my own interest in porn very embarrassing.
I stopped looking at porn for a long time because I acknowledged that my consumption of it got to addictive levels. Now occasionally I allow myself to look at it. However usually this is as a foreplay thing with Eve. Either way I make sure the shame factor isn’t included anymore. I’m very open about what I watch and look at now. It helps me keep it in check and makes sure that I’m not using it like I used to.
Unblocking myself personally in relation to erectile dysfunction also meant getting rid of any shame I had. The shame of porn is only one example. Perhaps you’ll find that you are ashamed of your desire for another person, ashamed of wanting to try certain things sexually, ashamed of saying certain things during sex. Try to let it all go. Shame is a destructive force.
After stopping porn, I stopped masturbating temporarily. I did this for months rather than years as some people in the NoFap community do. The first time I did it, I found it really difficult. The feeling of orgasm was all that I could think of. I wanted my fix, I needed it. It gave me a nervous energy that manifested itself in lots of distraction and temptation. Through perseverance I made it one month the first time. By the end of the month I felt quite calm about the whole situation and had a little pride in the fact that I’d held off so long. The first time I had an orgasm again was with someone else and I can tell you, it was more powerful than it usually would have been.
I did NoFap infrequently before I even heard NoFap was a thing. Usually I would stop for one or two months at a time. When I restarted masturbating, I made sure I would not use a speed and grip that was too far removed from my experience during sex. I would also limit masturbation to once or twice per week, because I knew I was still recovering.
For me, at least part of my problem was that I was so attuned to the process of masturbation. My own grip, speed, thoughts, timing, place etc. Everything was so familiar that when something changed (as it inevitably does with a partner) I didn’t enjoy it as much.
I didn’t try a penis sex toy until I was in my thirties, again because of a similar sense of shame that I had connected to porn. The first thing I bought was a Fleshlight. Like with a partner, the first Fleshlight I owned didn’t really do it for me the same way as I could do with my hand. However over time it helped me adapt to something other than my own hand. The ability to be on my own with something and still have change was a good first step towards adapting to new sensations. I began buying more sex toys for myself and every time I did, it helped my mind free itself from that one way of doing masturbation.
By the time I was using toys, my ED was already disappearing but I highly encourage you to try some good male sex toys. Breaking your masturbation habits is rewarding but also if you’ve never tried a toy before, you are missing out! Penis and prostate sex toys can be amazing and take you to new heights. This very blog is a great place to learn about those kinds of sex toys. A sex toy like the Hot Octopuss Pulse doesn’t even require your penis to be hard for you to reach orgasm. A prostate vibrator like the We-Vibe Vector can open you up to even newer sensations.
Your hands, tongue, mouth, toys and words can turn someone on. If you’re a straight male like me I highly recommend ‘She Comes First’ for example. The author of the book had his own problems and developed his oral sex skills as a way to make up for his shortcomings. It is an excellent guide cunnilingus and a great example of someone not letting their issues with penetrative sex hold them back.