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Your Man Can’t Get It Up. Now What?!

Your man checks all the boxes: he’s handsome, charming, and has your group chat’s seal of approval. But there’s one problem: things don’t look (or feel) like you expected them down south.

You may ask yourself, “Isn’t he supposed to be hard?”, or “Did I do something wrong?”

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common issue, even for guys under 40. And it can wreak havoc on your sex life, especially if you both ignore the problem and expect it to disappear magically.

Before you stress yourself out, remember that it’s completely normal if your partner doesn’t get a boner on command—he’s a man, not a machine. But if he routinely can’t get it up when you’re both ready to get down, it’s time to take action.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about what to do when your man can’t get it up.

Don’t Blame Yourself

Before you jump to any conclusions about your man’s erectile issues, let’s set the record straight: it doesn’t mean he’s cheating, it’s not something you did (or didn’t do), and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re “not hot enough.”

Yes, erections require arousal. But countless factors interfere with blood flow to your partner’s penis, even if he’s obsessed with you.

Slow It Down

If your guy is suddenly having trouble getting it up, ignore that panicked look in his eyes and pump the brakes for a minute. You know you don’t want to be rushed in the bedroom, and he may not like it, either. But he may not know this about himself just yet.

Take the pressure off immediate penetrative sex by enjoying each other’s bodies. That means more cuddling, more foreplay, or a massage to ease into the action. You can also remind him that there are different ways to pleasure you, whether that’s through oral sex or sex toys like dildos and vibrators.

“Knowing that he has options may reduce some of his performance pressure of feeling like the success of the encounter all hangs on his ability to keep it up,” says sex therapist Ari Tuckman.

Try Talking Dirty

One trick to combat psychological ED is talking dirty to your partner, shifting his focus from his penis to you. Remind him he’s sexy to boost his confidence and tell him what you want him to do to you (or what you want to do to him.)

One woman we spoke to reported that by guiding her boyfriend out of his head and refocusing on what she was into, he calmed down and got super turned on in the process.

Talking dirty can be a win-win: you get to tell him what you want, and he escapes the vicious spiral of worrying about his erection.

How to Know if Your Partner’s ED Is Physical or Psychological

Partners ask this common question about ED, mainly because there’s not an easy way to find out unless you visit a healthcare professional. That said, younger guys (40 or younger) tend to be affected more by psychological issues, while older guys tend to experience more physical issues.

If your partner gets erections sometimes (in the morning, while masturbating, or randomly) but doesn’t get hard during foreplay or when you initiate sex, this might be an indication that the issue is more psychological than physical.

Remember: sexual problems are complex, so it’s best to avoid generalizations about your partner’s ED until you both know the facts.

Clarify Your Preferences

It may be the case that you and your partner want different amounts of sex. If so, have a frank conversation about when, how often, and what kind of mood works best for each of you.

Understanding each others’ preferences can reduce friction in your relationship, so you’re not blindsided if he’s not hard after a hard day at work.

What If It’s Performance Anxiety?

Sex can put a lot of pressure on a man, especially if he has self-esteem issues or isn't confident about his ability to please you.

“Anxiety and erections can’t coexist, so worrying about his performance will suck the wind out of his sails,” says Tuckman. “If he notices some partial softening and then panics, it’s game over.”

If you guy is putting too much pressure on himself, remind him it’s not the end of the world and that you’re willing to work through the issue with him. Those words of encouragement can be just what he needs to get his mojo back.

If performance anxiety persists, see if he’s willing to see a sex therapist who can help him find and address the root causes of the problem.

What If It’s a Mental Health Issue?

Mental health and sexual health go hand-in-hand. If your partner is experiencing depression, chronic stress, or anxiety, it can interfere with his ability to get hard or stay hard.

In a calm moment far away from the bedroom, you can gently suggest counseling. Remember: you’re not your boyfriend’s therapist, so don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself to single-handedly “fix” him. Your main job is to be supportive and non-judgemental.

What If It’s a Physical Issue?

If your man is calm and confident but still struggling with ED, the issue may be in his body, not his brain. Many physical factors can negatively impact your man’s ability to get hard. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Low testosterone (levels typically decline 1% per year after age 40)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Side effects from medications, such as antidepressants
  • Substance abuse, including excessive alcohol and recreational drugs

If your man’s physical health (or lack thereof) is the source of his ED, lifestyle changes can get him back on track. A recent study found that guys who lost weight, exercised more, and stopped smoking had significant improvements in their ED compared to a control group.

Prescription medications like Tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis) and Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) are another effective way to treat ED. Harvard Health notes that they produce erections strong enough for sexual intercourse in about 70% of men.

Getting a prescription used to be awkward and expensive. But with BlueChew, your man can get approved online (for free), choose the plan that’s right for him, and get his medications shipped discreetly to his door.

Talk It Out to Get It Up

Many guys would rather do just about anything than chat about erection problems (especially with their partner). But a non-judgemental conversation can minimize the embarrassment and give your man a much-needed outlet for his frustration.

Get Started with BlueChew today!