Q: Dear Tia. This is a little embarrassing to admit and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but lately I’ve been having difficulty with my performance. Most of the time I can get an erection, but I can’t maintain it, and I’m worried that my girlfriend is going to get fed up and start fucking someone else. She says she’s not upset about it and that I should just relax but it’s impossible for me not to get freaked out. She asked me the other day if there’s something she should do to make it better, and that made me feel even worse. Now I’m worried that she thinks I don’t find her hot enough. I feel like every time I try to fuck her, I’m under a lot of pressure and it’s making things worse. I obviously can’t talk to anyone about it. I thought about going to the doctor, but I’m only 35. I’m way too young to go on pills. I can jerk off, that doesn’t seem to be a problem, so I know things still work in that way. What should I do? – Tim
A: Dear Tim. The first thing I want to tell you is that you’re not alone. Lots of guys have the exact same difficulty you do. Every man I’ve been with, at one time or another has had some trouble maintaining an erection, and every one of them has felt worried and frustrated about it. I’m telling you this because I think that part of the pressure men feel with regards to this issue comes from the false belief that men are supposed to be ready to fuck at all times, and that you’re the only guy in your age group who isn’t. As a woman, I have to agree with your girlfriend in saying that it probably doesn’t upset her as much as you might think. Her concern likely stems more from the fact that you’re being so critical of yourself. If she cares about you – and it sounds like she does – she will be patient and not just go in search of a new partner.
There are a few things that can cause erectile dysfunction. It might not be a bad idea to go to the doctor after all, just to see if there are any lifestyle changes you could make that might help. I know that diet and exercise can make a difference, as well as stress relief. I don’t know if this might be applicable to you, but watching a lot of porn can seriously affect a man’s ability to get aroused by a real partner. If you find that you’re jerking off easily to porn, you might want to cut back on it for a while to see if that helps. In any case, be kind to yourself. No one gets an instant hard-on every time.
Hookup Help is a Q&A series. If you want advice or a female’s perspective on hooking up, online dating, relationships, or sex… we want to hear from you. SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION, and who knows, you may appear in the next Hookup Land newsletter. -xo Jenny and Tia