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not_my_main_8888208 karma

As a 20-something-year-old guy who has problems in that area, here's what I wish all my future partners knew:

In the heat of the moment, don't ignore it, but don't make a big deal about it, either. All you need to say is 'don't worry, it's cool', and suggest something that takes the pressure off ("I want you to go down on me" or something along those lines). Making it the 'end' of sex just puts more pressure on him next time. Of course, if he isn't receptive then just cuddle up and talk about something else, for now.

Definitely don't pretend nothing is wrong and push on with what you're doing. He can feel it, he knows it isn't working, and fruitlessly continuing with whatever the two of you are doing isn't fooling anyone. Having a girl on top of you, acting like she's enjoying herself when you know she can't feel a thing... it just feels pathetic and ridiculous.

Another huge don't, is to ask if he feels attracted to you. He feels like shit already, and knowing that he is making you feel insecure just makes that worse. To any women reading this - it has *nothing* to do with you. It's possible to get hard with no mental stimulation at all, and equally, a tiny bit of stress or anxiety will completely block the process, no matter how turned on he is.

Erections are kinda like orgasms in that sometimes they just won't happen, regardless of what is going on or how horny you feel. When it won't work, it's like trying to have an orgasm through power of will alone, or trying to sneeze on command, or trying to fall asleep when you're stressed and anxious. It's just one of those bodily functions that isn't consciously controlled, and which sometimes just doesn't happen, for no obvious reason at all.

In terms of sex and foreplay, it's important to do everything possible to take the pressure off. Tell him to not worry about his performance, and to just enjoy how whatever you're doing feels. Gentle stimulation, teasing & massage is nice hard or soft - a futile handjob or blowjob isn't. It's also helpful when the woman puts the focus on herself, and lets the guy feel like he can satisfy her properly in other ways. Ultimately, we care more about impressing you, than we do about getting laid. If we can give you a great night without penatrative sex, it at least takes the edge off our bruised ego.

Finally, after things have cooled down and you're not doing anything sexual, bring it up and tell him in no uncertain terms that it's ok, and that you don't think less of him etc. Some guys won't want to talk about it, others will, but all of them probably feel extremely insecure about the problem and could benefit from some kind words.

Assuming you do want to support him, I'd advise the following:

- Assure him that you will NOT tell anybody about this, ever, and make damn sure that you don't. There's a stereotype that women will gossip about their sexual partners (I'm not saying it's true, but the stereotype exists). This prospect is terrifying for most guys facing this problem, as the only real control we have is in controlling who we tell. In my case, even after years, I've never told anyone aside from my doctor and my partners. Realise that for those of us facing long term issues (in my case, likely due to faulty plumbing rather than anxiety), it's the first thing we think about when we wake, and the last thing on our minds when we sleep. It's an absolutely defining part of our lives, and to go gossiping about it would be a massive breach of our trust.

- If it's a casual encounter, make it clear you want to hang out again, and instigate another hookup down the line. He probably won't feel confident enough to pursue you, as much as he might want to. Make it clear that you had a great time, regardless of his performance, and that you want to do it again. It may also be worth saying something like 'let's not focus on sex for now', and then basing your next few encounters around foreplay and other stuff that doesn't require him to perform.

- If it's a relationship, do much the same, and also focus on going on dates and doing other coupley stuff that doesn't revolve around sex. Make sure he knows you find him sexy, and try to help him feel masculine and valued, despite the sexual issues. Compliments on his other qualities (personality, apperance, humour etc) will go a long way in helping him realise there's more to being a man than having a pornstar dick. If the issue is persistant, encourage him to get to a doctor just to check things out, and make sure he understands that you don't think less of him.

Also, try to understand how difficult it is to seek help on this. I've done plenty of 'scary' things, skydived etc... and nothing in living memory even came close to triggering the fear and anxiety I felt in the doctor's waiting room. My heart rate must have been over 180, and I could barely speak with the lump in my throat. It's the one and only time in my life where I've felt like I understood what a panic attack was. Going to a doctor means admitting that you really do have this problem, and that's a really rough fact to accept as a man.