My Guy Can’t Get It Up. What Should I Do?

couple in disagreement in bedroom

Evan, I have been dating a 35-year old guy for a couple months now. When we first started fooling around, he was unable to attain an erection. It was understandable, because he was going through a divorce, and so I know he had a lot on his mind all the time, and was used to one woman for so many years. After a few weeks, he was able to have sex with me, and even reached climax a couple of times. But now…we’re back to erectile problems. There is nothing wrong with his sex drive. Even when we’re unable to have sex, he’s always making sure that I’m fulfilled in other ways. I really, really, really would love to think that there isn’t anything wrong with me…I’m only 24 years old, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not totally disgusting. It’s a very frustrating matter, because it makes me feel so unwanted. He reassures me constantly that I’m sexy and beautiful and that he does, in fact, want me. But… a body cannot lie, and his inability to maintain an erection at all times worries me. —Brittany


I know, by looking at me, you’d think: this guy is an expert in erectile dysfunction.

This is biology we’re talking about, and it’s futile for you to take responsibility for what’s going on inside of him.

But really, that’s just an image I try to give off for the public. In fact, my penis remains in good working condition, not unlike a reliable Honda Accord with 120,000 miles on it. So, like any expert who is out of his depth on a given question, I turn to the Internet to help bolster my opinion with a few facts.

First of all, I want to disabuse you of the opinion that this has anything to do with YOU. It does not. Blaming yourself for his inability to get it up would be like a guy blaming himself because you’re PMSing or are clinically depressed. This is biology we’re talking about, and it’s futile for you to take responsibility for what’s going on inside of him.

Second, you should know that this is FAR more frustrating for him than it is for you. The only times that I’ve had trouble getting it up were the times that I HAD to (when my wife and I were trying to conceive). And I’ve gotta tell you, not being able to summon your penis when it’s been perfectly responsive (both voluntarily and involuntarily) your whole life is really trying. While I’m no doctor, I think it’s obvious that the more pressure a guy puts on himself to perform, the more he’s stuck in his own head, the less likely he’ll be able to perform. Factor in the pressure that you’re putting on him — as if he’s not just disappointing himself but disappointing (and rejecting) you, and, well, it’s no surprise that this problem hasn’t corrected itself on your watch.

Your body’s not the problem, but your attitude may be.

Put another way: your body’s not the problem, but your attitude may be.

As it stands, erectile dysfunction (ED), effects about 18% of the population, according to a study reported by the Mayo Clinic. For men aged 20-40, that number is closer to 5-10%. Unusual, to be sure, but not outside the realm of normal probability. Hell, I’m color blind, and that applies to 8% of all men, too. I can assure you, Brittany, that’s not your fault either.

If you’re going to turn this ship around — or get this elevator to rise, as it might be — you’re going to have to adapt a supportive, loving, no-big-deal stance to his temporary flaccidity. It IS hard to get it up when you’re not in the mood and your brain is buzzing with thoughts of work, lawsuits, and divorce, and you have to respect that.

While I can’t guarantee that you’ll solve his ED problem, I can promise you that your new attitude will not make it worse — something I can’t quite say about your current stance on his Royal Limpness.

(By the way, I’m not saying that you have to stay with him if he leaves you sexually dissatisfied; I’m saying that if you’re GOING to stay with him, being supportive, easygoing, and positive will be the most effective way to help him with his problem – instead of making it all about you.)

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  1. 61

    please, OP, either learn to not take this personally or move on. I married at 21 and his ED issues began almost immediately. His response was to ultimately shut down sexually rather than to take a chance upsetting me with his inability to perform. 25 years later I am still thing to convince myself that the years of rejection had little to nothing to do with me or my body. It is a horrible, lonely place to be.

  2. 62
    Marc Orens

    M.O., April 2016
    Hello All,
    This is about a straight and simple “do-it-yourself” solution to male sexual disfunction. If interested, this is rather long, but read one! And about myself, I am just Joe Blow who found THE solution on his own, not a medical practioner or whatever, who just wants to help out fellow sufferers.

    Now get ready to sit down and cry when you discover just how easy — 100% natural and on your own — it is to get a dick up and going in a big (literally) way. This solution probably applies to 90%+ sufferers, whatever the supposed problem. Why? Simply because a common sense diagnosis never seems to be mentioned anywhere by anyone.
      False diagnoses abound. For example, a much abused “explanation” is that the sufferer has some psychological handicap. Well, any man who can’t get it up is bound to have psychological problems — but these are a CONSEQUENCE of the disorder, and rarely have anything to do with the problem in the first place. So having debunked that insidious deception, let’s move on to identifying the real problem.

    Explanation: Ever tried to hitch a 40-ton trailer to a Mini-Morris? Well, that great car for just about anything else will huff and puff, but is not going to go far, just like our sufferer.

    Let’s elaborate. Imagine a stone quarry, to which two brand new dump trucks are to be delivered that morning. And here they come, bright gleaming red, with 20-ton loads to dump. A little gathering is planned to celebrate the event. The first truck backs up to dump its load — the driver leaves his engine ticking over, gets down to free the back end of the trailer, and then tugs on the control handle. The engine revs up just a bit, and slowly the hydraulic piston under the back-tray pushes up (just like extending a collapsible telescope) the load to a steep angle. And to applause from the gathering, the load is dumped.
    Now the second truck — the perfect twin of the first to all appearances — moves up. But once the engine revs up a bit to action the hydraulic piston, nothing happens. So the driver revs up the engine more and more without any effect, until what had to happen happens, the engine blows up (prematurily if you see what I mean). The quarry manager, furious, hops up on the running board, opens the hood to inspect the engine… and no wonder there was a problem. At the truck factory, they had mistakenly put in a Mini-Morris engine in place of a supercharged 8-liter diesel, a very brave engine, but obviously not up to it. Easily corrected of course by putting in the correct engine.

    Get it? The penis, sexually speaking, is nothing more or less than a hydraulic piston. And what gets it up is blood rushing in, NOT a gorgeous girl walking past topless on the beach. Obvious, no? But only when you think of it, and nobody seems ever to mention it. Common sense diagnosis: the body is not delivering enough blood to the penis to enable it to get a hard-on.

    So let’s fix the problem — easy!   Obviously, it is the heart that pumps blood throughout the body, hence this is the “engine” we are talking about. Now, just like the penis, the heart comes in all sizes, big and small, normally all perfectly healthy and operational. So what we have is a “mismatch”, that is to say a smallish engine (heart) and a big piston (penis, big even if you don’t and can’t know it yet). Across the male population, one could talk of a heart/penis “performance” range, going from small/big, medium/medium, to big/small. Any man can move up the range, wherever he starts from, to become a better performer.   And by the way, female partners should relax, the more confident a male is in his capabilities, the more attention he will pay to you and hence be a better lover (at least in principle).

    Solution:   The heart is a muscle of course, and simply needs to be built up. Remember all those press-ups to show off your arm muscles at school? The trick is choosing the right exercise or sport for building up your heart’s performance. In this case, endurance is the key, that is to say maintaining your effort non-stop. A daily, seven days a week, rain or shine, 30-minute run, swim, row, etc., should do it. In-house bicycle fine (don’t want the downhills outside). To repeat, essential trick is to maintain your effort, and never (hardly) miss a day.
      Example: Take running, that I know best. Chances are you won’t be able to run more than a few hundred yards when you start before running out of breath. So you drop to a walk, recover your breath, and take off again. The first month is torture, but after that it becomes a bit of a drug you can’t do without — all that adrenalin pumping through your system. Could be awhile before you manage your first mile non-stop, let alone three miles in 30 minutes. (This is about twice the average time an elite 26-mile marathon runner will take so its no big deal!). But hang on in there, the rewards are fabulous.
    WARNING: Don’t, repeat don’t, over do it. This takes time, nice and easy. If you are say fortyish, rushing out there pellmell is not a good idea, you might even consider a medical check first before starting. You may have a genuine medical problem somewhere, so please don’t push it whatever age you are.
    NOTE: Fairly obviously, overeating, drinking, too much coffee, lack of sleep, etc., does’nt help, although not forbidden by any means, simply be moderate.
      How Long?   No idea, depends!   To illustrate, let’s say your piston requires a 100HP (horsepower) engine to expand. .. and your engine (heart) is at 70HP (of course you might be much better off at 80HP or 90HP and not far short of what you need). Depending on your starting point, it could take several weeks or even months, but hang on in there, the result is all but guaranteed, and you will soon be in great shape, bursting with energy, and for example needing one hour’s less sleep a night.
      Progress, when do I make it?   Again, no idea! It is not because you have at long last managed to run 3 miles non-stop that your heart   has made it to 100HP+. And even if it is now at 95HP, that’s not good enough, and you won’t even know you are that close. Frustrating! And one day, as ordinary as any other, and you have not seen any improvement whatsoever after weeks of trying and you really feel like giving up, IT happens in some most unexpected way.
    Cured: Imagine you are driving and stopped at a red light, in front of a giant billboard advertising a tropical beach holiday with an enticing tanned girl in an itsy bitsy bikini. She starts you dreaming… and all of a sudden, your piston goes into action and how (you probably have a big one). You won’t even know what’s happening, but you’ve broken the 100HP barrier. You are cured! And once and for all, just about any time any place, providing you maintain your exercise.
      Enjoy, and good luck!
      PS: Premature Ejaculation. That happens because you are trying to compensate under performance by excess stimulation, i.e. getting over excited. When you get to 100HP+ you won’t even remotely have this problem since you will no longer need to get over excited.

  3. 63
    Cathy Dyer

    This is probably why he’s being divorced. Run for the hills. 24? You are too young to waste your time on this.

  4. 64
    Rich Spicowski

    I’d have to say that it might actually be you.    Just because you’re 24 does not mean you’re hot,   does not mean you’re supportive or a good girlfriend.   You sound like a bitch because you’re whining about this in the first place.   My advice to this guy would be to get a less judgemental girlfriend. My advice to you – go find yourself an over-“testosteroned” gorilla who will bang you 3x daily,   and beat you in-between.    At least you’ll be betting the sex you want.    You might even think about 18 yr old guys- closer to you intellectually and emotionally,   and would probably think they were gods for landing an older ‘woman’.

  5. 65

    My guy is 70 now and way past   the sex part of his life. Any way my husband hasn’t   had an erection in a little over 40 years, he didn’t   even have one in the morning, so I’ve   been left out of sex.   Back then doctors didn’t know a whole lot or if any thing about ED. When he started this he climbed into a shell like life where he excluded me and all our family life. It hit him really hard and he turned recluse. He wanted to be left alone and didn’t   ever want to sleep with me again. He decided that the basment was the best place for him, so he has lived all these years alone, never talking or associating with me or anyone. He has no friends and all he does work on his old car or in his work shop out in the garage. He’s still depressed and very extreme and at this point no one can’t get   through   to him. I lived basically alone at home but made friends elsewhere. We never had a chance to have kids, I wanted 2 kids, I thought that was good, but never happened.   I probably should have moved on to pursue my dream family, but know it will never happen. I can’t   feel   sorry for my self   I made a choice which happened   to be the   wrong   one. I have just hung   in there the best I could.

  6. 66

    My husband was never really interested in marriage. He couldn’t get it up and hasn’t   got it up ever.   He’s   been to many doctor’s over the year’s   but nothing has worked.   His up bringing was terrible, his parents always fought and he gave up listening and he started his own life at age 11 or 12. From what I can figure out he worked three paper route per day 2 in the morning and 1 after school, and on weekends worked in the morning. Needless to say school work fell apart. Then he worked at a grocery store where they treated him like family, he worked there till he was 18. He went in the service and got shot up in Vietnam no one went to see him so he chose to stay in the service on a desk job. After the service he worked an assembly line job, then by some unknown reason got a job in the engineering   division. He moved on to work for a telephone company. I guess he worked hard and long hours for himself, he had no one else. We met about here in my life and I think he was trying   hard to accept me. Now my child hood also sucked, little brother came along and parents were only interested him. So I married my husband to get out of the house, that was a mistake from the get go. To this day all we do is coexist only we haven’t   slept together ever and he was never interested that much in sex. He always had his separate bedroom for himself. I was never accepted or trusted and I can understand his feelings. He was never mad or unkind to me and never treated me with disrespect . I’m   sad our lives   never worked out to be like a normal couple. He never goes any where, he’s   retired and works in his shop or an old car he has. Hasn’t   any friends that I know of, his life is him only.

  7. 67

    Its because of women(who have no empathy) and hurt men ill need to get a penile implant. Thats the only way i can get an erection anymore.

  8. 68

    Yes girl im having the same problem im 25 he’s 50 im so upset about this i do oral and everything he still cant get a get it up been with him for 7 years .

  9. 69

    For me after a divorce there was two questions in my mind. #1 was I not enough man to make the marriage work? And #2 I have to show the new gf and myself, that I’m a great lay. Both put too much pressure on me. The first gf didn’t go well. She just got pissed. Which only made things worse. The 2nd gf after the divorce was aces! The first night in bed she just started fondling me and talking about camping out under the stars. After awhile, my mind went off sex just enough that I started getting erect. Then she went to more adult subjects like how she liked to sleep naked. Adult subjects. But NOT sex. Next thing I know she’s on top doing a “cowgirl” and talking about how her breasts jiggle so much when she’s on top. And away I went down memory lane, with a great ejaculation. She still has to has has to get my mind off “performance” once in awhile. But that’s one solution. Keep his mind occupied so his thinking doesn’t go to “failure mode”

    I’ll take a good woman over a   blue pill anytime!

  10. 70

    Why can’t Brittany just go back to being single and hang out with friends, date, travel, etc.? Why is our society so single-averse that we have to tell a 24-year old girl to “Oh just accept him as he his, understand what he’s going through, talk to him about his issues, tell him to see a doctor, adjust your expectations.” Plus why all this sacrifice for a man she has just been dating for a couple of months? Nobody ever tells men that they are mean and cruel for not wanting to date 300 lbs hairy grungy women, because a man “is attracted to what he is attracted to.”

    I am currently in a similar situation – dating a guy for a couple of months and zero intercourse except for once or twice very briefly. Yet I can tell that he won’t like it if I sleep with other men, not that I have asked him or am sleeping with anyone but him. But, the big question is: why do I need to continue to see him? It’s been only two months, no shared marital memory together.   I need to do this soon.

    Of course, right before he came along, I was seeing a man with fantastic sexual chemistry, but he wasn’t interested in any sort of a committed relationship with me. Some people may say, “See, the other guy(s) you tumble with won’t put the ring on your finger.” But why do I have to accept either relationship?!? Why not leave situations that do not suit me well (like the noncommittal guy with great chemistry, or the very nice guy with ED) and move on with being single and happy (yes, it is possible to be single and happy!)?

    I hope that Brittany can move on soon and open herself to possibilities out there, rather than suffer in a relationship that’s not good for her. At 24 she should be dating a lot and travelling, taking fun classes, activities – doing things that give her joy and she can meet a lot of people. I personally am twice her age with a smaller pool of men available, but even I feel that I don’t need to settle or be caged into a relationship that I’m not happy in, even if society tells me that I don’t have too many options. Because I always have the option to decide for myself what makes me happy.



  11. 71

    My husband had the same problems because he had to work and was always stressed and under pressure. So it was not really possible for him to relax in bed because he was always thinking about his problems at work etc. but the problem was also that he put a lot of pressure on himself and it developed into a kind of anxiety.

    So we went to the doctor and talked a lot about our problems and now we talk a lot before we start, try to relax and then he always takes an  enhancement pill and it really helps him to last longer in bed and he got rid of his erectile dysfunction.

    I think that it can help everyone and your husband needs you. Do not put pressure on him.

    1. 71.1

      I’m kinda over the “talking”

  12. 72
    Juan Sanchez

    If he is not suffering from an illness 90% of the time is stress, exhaustion, diet, exercise, drugs, drinking too much and  relationship issues.   Unfortunately men are very hardheaded and lack communication. Excuse my French, but I don’t know who the fuck altered our DNA for us men to think and be this way. Anyway so the key thing here is time, commitment and communication and knocking these key points above out 1 by 1. I guarantee he will be coming around in anytime.   Once this is accomplished. We all win…. well you both win. P.S for me it was stress and exhaustion. I was a workaholic working from 9am to 1am everyday. My partner and I talked and I learned how to bring balance into my life…. I’ll end it with this quote ” Organize your mind, organize your life”

    – Juan Sanchez

  13. 73

    My husband and I have been married 10 years. We have ALWAYS had problems in the bedroom. He would blame his lack of interest on the kids, stress, and whatever other problem may be the flavor of the week that day. He was in a wreck around 4 months ago and our sex life is now nonexistent. I am sick of excuses! We have had sex 4 times in 10 months! I love him, but I’m seriously thinking about divorce. I feel unloved and not wanted. I have begged him to talk to a doctor about this but he has done nothing.

  14. 74

    I am 43, recently divorced from a 50 year old man & currently dating a 51 y/o. My husband couldn’t even think about me without getting an erection & actually had a difficult time keeping it down when I was nearby. Obviously, we had sex a min of 2x a day… everyday but sometimes 5-6x. As a nymph (& self conscious woman), I’m having an extremely difficult time that my boyfriend & I may have sex 1-2x a week if I’m lucky & even then, it seems difficult for him to get an erection or sustain one.   When we have sex, it’s typically 1st thing in the morning (go figure). Before we started dating, he said he was also a nymph & that “I would NEVER go unsatisfied” (I have yet to climax & it’s been 3 months). My hand automatically magnetizes to his dick (in private settings)… it’s like a baby & their teddy (or binkie) & he has actually removed my hand from touching it.   I can’t possibly be the problem but naturally I feel rejected & I am struggling.

  15. 75

    Here is something to consider: A man, who is positive for HIV, may experience severe erectile dysfunction. Other physical symptoms include dark and unexplained bruising and rashes all over their extremities/back. Undetected diabetes, prostate cancer, alcohol and drug abuse can be another factor. At your age, I would move on for several reasons: He is dating you while still married. Before inheriting a serious problem, you may need to explore the reason for his impending divorce and marital issues. He have a serious health or mental health issue and taking medications.

  16. 76

    Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful response, Evan. it can be difficult to advise on issues   you haven’t personally experienced, but you do it well here; you’re clearly a natural and empathetic people person.

    Some of the responses in this section, though, are very shocking to me and I hope the questioner doesn’t read. I ask you commenters to, just for a few seconds, re-consider what you are advising this young lady. Try not to dismiss other people so readily. This man is a person for whom this young lady has feelings. Perhaps she will love him someday.

    As Evan has wrote in other posts, feminine energy is caring and accepting of vulnerability. Are you displaying any of this? You should care more about this man’s issue because he is a person as well. People are not commodities to be thrown out and replaced like a faulty household appliance. Everybody will do better in relationships and life in general if you try to adopt a more caring outlook. I think this couple can work through this issue as many couples before them have. No man or woman is perfect. Good luck!

  17. 77

    My sex life was always messed up and I’m the one who did it. Now I’m 70 and haven’t had sex with any one in probably almost 40 years. I’m married 50 years and it hasn’t been the greatest thing in my life, I would say the worst. When younger like in my teens I never got a woody in the morning, and to me that was normal, I could get it up to masturbate and did that when ever I could some times four times a day. Met the wife and went to get a medical checkup and I explained I never got a woody in the morning and all he said I was young and once married things would be better. Well back then nobody knew about viagra etc or E/D. We were married and a couple of things happened !   I was able to get it up with help but the wife was a terrible lover, it was like having sex with a log, no emotion and she acted like a nun. Then I got put on the night shift and worked weekends and most holiday’s. My weekends were Tuesday and Wedensday , she worked like normal people. I saw her maybe an hour a day, and that was devoted to dinner and getting ready for work. I continued masturbating as many time as I could, my wife knew what I was doing and complained . Well I enjoyed masturbating it was better than sex with wife, I probably wore the thing out and as years past it slowly stopped getting erect. By that time I didn’t care anymore! She did force me to the doctor but by then it was to late, I tried Viagra and all the other stuff nothing worked, It worked the wrong way it made me sick! Also as time went along I got high blood pressure, colesterol issues, depression issues, sleep problems, gained weight and took pills and that put the final nail in the coffin.   I really didn’t care any more, and thought such is life. Through this 50 year marriage thing I had no idea what my wife did. I hope she had fun some way or another,she probably sat in the corner with her granny clothes on and knitted.



  18. 78

    I’m having a similar issue , except my partner and I have a 2 year old and I Can’t stand his ED… I found out 6 months into my pregnancy that he had a porn addiction and it is something that isn’t addressed in real life. he says he doesn’t watch porn anymore but he always has ED ( huge turn off) tbh and at first I was stressed, sad , down and feeling betrayal    but I understand he is the problem.. it’s hard . Loving someone who doesn’t satisfy u. Even. Worse when you have a child. For some people a sexual physical attraction isn’t everything but it is important in a good  hhealthy relationship.   It’s normal . Sex is part of   the package. Lots of resentment and   self esteem issues will affect a person when things like ED   doom your love life overall  

  19. 79

    Every impotent guy I’ve ever dated has ended up blaming it on me.   I never thought it was a big deal, but just last Friday night, my date drank too much, has a heart condition, he had whiskey dick, so I said, “Let’s just take showers and go to sleep.   I have to get up early for the doctor in the morning anyway.”   But no, he wouldn’t listen.   He kept wanting to have sex, but his cock wasn’t working.   So then he grabbed me by my hair, twisted my neck backwards, looked my body up and down, and said, “Look at you.   So much beauty.   Yet you do NOTHING for me” in the most evil voice you can imagine.   I ran out of there like I had lightning on my feet.   If you stay with an impotent man, he WILL blame you for it.   Trust me.   I tried being the understanding girlfriend before and got abused royally for my kindness. Let him fix his own problems.

  20. 80

    Our experience:

    it takes 2 to tango-there could be personal issues with the personality of the partner causing resentment towards her- a power struggle -and not being comfortable enough with her for him to even get an erection. If a partner is not giving any good ‘vibes’, help or patience in understanding the issues, then the sex partnership will wane. Also the partner should help with a hands on approach not lie there like a dead fish. This would also go with a female who cannot get wet.

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