Q&A: No more erection and now his appetite for sex is gone
My boyfriend and I have known each other for approximately two years now.
The first year we had the most amazing sex which we both very much enjoyed.
After that first year, I was the one to initiate sex most often and gradually it became clear that my appetite for sex was greater than his, but it was still a part of our life together that we both appreciated.
For the last three and a half months or so my boyfriend can no longer get an erection.
He tells me that he still wants to have sex, and he still wants me but it is just not happening.
We are and have always been very physical and intimate – we still kiss, fondle and caress every day, but we do not have sexual intercourse and he does not want me to touch him intimately.
We have talked about the issue several times.
Each time because I asked to.
He says that he does not know what the reason is for his lack of erection and that he does not miss it that much.
I am really frustrated and worried!
I feel that something is missing in our relationship, and I find it hard to understand and accept the fact that the passion and lust in our relationship have disappeared for him and that he does not seem to think about it at all.
My worry is that either it is something physical or that the few times he experienced impotence affected him psychologically and now he is blocking it out completely and does not want to try at all.
Whatever it is, what do we do now?
It is almost four months since we last had sex, and it seems to me that this is a very critical situation for us as a couple.
I hope that you can give me some advice.
The worried one
No more erection and now his appetite for sex is gone
Dear the worried one,
The first thing I notice is that he is sending you mixed signals.
You write that he tells you that he wants to have sex.
So now we know that his appetite for sex has not changed – and that he wants you.
But then he tells you that he does not have an appetite for sex and does not miss it either.
I think he is going through something extremely difficult.
So difficult that you are always the one to initiate your discussions.
I can tell you that there is a logical explanation for it.
It’s called avoidance behavior.
The problem is that you do not get anything solved this way.
It is natural for erections to go down during sexual intercourse, but most men feel that they need to stay hard throughout the whole time of sexual activity.
So when their partner performs oral sex, and they get soft, they panic because they’re not meeting expectations.
Or if a man is giving oral sex to his beloved and his erection is suddenly gone, maybe he thinks that something is wrong with him – but no – it is normal, but lots of men do not know this, and then they panic.
When the panic and stressful thoughts take over, it becomes a psychological issue.
Because he is always on edge about whether or not it will stay hard, he is in his head and no longer focused on the body and sensations. And of course, that results in a higher probability of losing erection.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Now he has performance anxiety and keeps thinking “I MUST always have an erection”
It is really important that your boyfriend understands and knows that it is not unnatural that an erection come and go at times.
Just like women can experience difficulty in reaching orgasm if we are stressed, extremely tired and so on.
You write that you are very worried and frustrated, and I truly empathize!
The two of you have chosen to be together as a couple.
In my opinion, within a relationship, you both must take responsibility for the common good of your relationship which includes your sex life and desire for sex. Your boyfriend has backed out of that responsibility.
So you feel alone in this “battle” and powerless because the issue demands that your boyfriend opens up about it and works on finding a solution with you.
I believe it’s important that you determine how long you will live with “his passive behavior impacting your relationship”.
How long CAN you and WILL stay under these circumstances with him doing nothing to solve the problem or even talking about solving it?
I know that it seems harsh, but I think you have to think about it.
If he keeps avoiding finding a solution, it will likely mean the end of your relationship.
Maybe not in six months but maybe in five years.
You may not necessarily leave him physically but leave him mentally.
You’ll end up as two people living under the same roof without really knowing each other.
At least that is what my experience tell me…
When you have thought about how long you can live with his lack of taking action and responsibility for resolving this issue, you should talk to him. He should know that what he is going through is normal and that he can get help.
If he wants the help that is!
If he agrees to find a solution you should start by visiting a doctor.
Even though, lack of erection is a normal from time to time, it CAN be that his issues with getting an erection can be caused by health issues. You are more than welcome to write to me again if the doctor says that he is fine.
If, on the other hand, he does not want to solve the problem, you should seriously consider if you are okay with the relationship staying the way it is and again you need to talk to him about it.
If you’re not cool with the situation (and I don’t think you are), you need to tell him that you can’t be in a sexless relationship.
This is not about threatening him or giving him an ultimatum.
It’s about the reality of the situation and being honest about what’s important to you.
Remember that you are both impacted by this issue!
And remember that the more you insist on the two of you working together to solve it, the better the outcome will be.
For example, you could decide that for the next 6 weeks you will not have sex while he is seeing the doctor and determining what needs to happen to fix this.
Removing the pressure to have sex often helps to bring back an appetite for sex and takes the edge off with performance anxiety while helping your relationship. You can read more about why celibacy sometimes boost the sex drive here.
Maj Wismann – Clinical sexologist and relationship therapist since 2006