It’s a natural part of aging that erections are not as frequent, not as hard, and not as reliable as they used to be. But there’s a difference between undependable erections and erectile dysfunction (ED), meaning erections are not possible at all — not with masturbation, not first thing in the morning, not with a favorite sex toy or fantasy. If you’re experiencing true ED, there’s likely a medical issue that you need to address.
- Get a diagnosis from a sex-positive MD who understands not to treat a condition that hasn’t been diagnosed — in other words, who doesn’t throw pills at a penis without knowing what’s causing the ED. ED can be the first warning sign of a medical condition that needs treatment, like heart disease, diabetes, or a neurological condition. It can be a side effect of cancer treatment or medications. Whatever is going on, find out what it is, what caused it, and whether it can be treated.
- Solutions and workarounds: When the cause is physical, injections or implants can be effective, if desired. A strap-on dildo can give you and your partner satisfying penetrative sex.
- There are myriad ways to have satisfying, intimate, exhilarating sex that don’t require an erection. My most popular workshop and webinar is “Great Sex Without Penetration” — and I write about this often. Help me spread the word, because penis-owners and their partners often don’t understand how sexy and fulfilling non-penetrative sex can be.
- Let go of goals. Explore giving and receiving sexual pleasure without the goal of penetration. Be creative and open.
- An erection is not a requirement for orgasm. A flaccid penis is capable of great pleasure, including orgasm!
- Above all, use your words. Talk to your partner, if you have one, about what’s going on. Reassure your partner that it isn’t lack of attraction or problems in the relationship (unless, of course, it is!). Ask your partner, “Tell me how I can pleasure you with my hands, mouth, sex toys.” Share with your partner how you’d like to be pleasured.