Erectile trouble (let’s call it ET) is going to happen (when it happens most of the time, it’s erectile dysfunction [ED]). If your partner is a man, you and he are going to need to understand this probability in your sexual lives. You’ll need to accept and work with it the same way we work with all of the changes that come along as we age—with curiosity, intelligence, creativity, a bit of adventuresome spirit. ET and ED, like a lot of body changes, give a couple a chance to go where couples maybe haven’t gone before.
But before jumping there, let’s back up a bit. I am a doctor and have to make sure you’ve covered your bases. ET happens to every guy, and starting much younger than the endless ED commercials on ESPN would have you believe. But when guys have trouble getting or keeping erections more than half the time, you really should talk to your doctor. (One in five times or less? Not something to worry about. Relax.) We want to make sure the ED isn’t a signal of something something going on with your health. If it is, fixing the underlying health problem could easily fix the ED. Got that? Really important. In 30 percent of men who go to their doc about ED, the ED is the first evidence of cardiovascular disease.
We’ve talked a lot here about our Recipe for Good Sex, and with ET/ED, we need to attend to the whole enchilada. ET/ED is not purely a problem of blood flow, though the pills and paraphernalia made to treat it usually focus just on that. But we here at Middlesex MD know that ET/ED is a head game, too. Pun intended. Treated best, we treat both. Pun definitely intended. We help the guy with ET/ED by sustaining blood flow to his penis and sexy thoughts to his brain.
Once we have that recipe in our heads, it doesn’t take a genius of a woman to figure this out. There are smart positions and smart actions to help your guy out. Smart foreplay and smart sex. Different kinds of sex. Even sex that requires no erection whatsoever. That’s where we go boldly where maybe you never thought of going before, and maybe where he never did either. Bear with us here and use your imagination…
First, his brain and your foreplay…
Your man needs to feel relaxed and playful and as if no matter what happens between you, nothing is at stake in your sexual play. At this point in your lives, just being together and making each other feel good is a very good goal.
Is. The. Only. Goal.
Can we all agree to that?
Can we leave orgasm aside and not worry about it as a goal? Orgasms are very nice, yes we all agree, but they aren’t necessary. And can we all get to that place and that freedom? All kinds of sex feel good. Rubbing skin feels good. Goose pimples and tickling feel good. Caressing hair feels good. Soothing muscles feels good. Stroking limbs feels good. Nipple play and earlobe play and lips and tongues. It all just feels so good. So… you know? Can that be the thing? Good music? Scented candles? Chocolates? Sexy movie? Lovely dinner first? Maybe a wee bit of alcohol, if you like, but not a lot, because it could slow response... (No caffeine at all, no nicotine. These constrict blood vessels and cut off blood flow.) A back rub? Shower? And then?
And then, ah yes, blood flow to the penis! Logic: If he is using his major muscles in his body for blood flow, he is reducing blood flow to his penis. Right? Right. So think about that, and reduce that effort. That means, lady, if he is able to achieve an erection, you climb on top. Or both of you stay on your sides, spooning, or with your legs interlocked. Or both of you remain in a seated position, with his back resting comfortably against a wall. He should not be holding you up. If anything, you hold him up!
No erection? No problem. Plenty of playful options. Here are our favorites:
- Oral sex. Even without an erection, a man will generally not say no to suction on his penis. So long as he knows you don’t need his penis to be hard. Keep your fingers working at the base of his penis to keep the blood you suck up into place.
- Toys. Vibrators, dildos, rings and balls, warm and minty lubes, feathers, ticklers, flavored lotions. These are all the things that make playful sex more interesting these days. It’s time to make variety work for us. This is really our time to take the time to explore these things. Why not? A man can come without an erection with a vibrator applied to the glans, but be careful and gentle, and let him be the guide.
- Rubbing. Climb on top, with his penis facing his chin, lots of lube between your vulva and his penis. Find a yummy spot, and glide. Be generous with the lube, and stop if anything gets sore. If you are prone to sensitivities, try Uberlube and enjoy a sensational, friction-free glide.
Well. We hope this helps keep your play-dates interesting and the love alive and well even with ET/ED in the room. Ours is the generation that ought to make ED no big deal. Easily shrugged off for any guy and certainly any couple.
You both deserve this.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten. Read more about and from her here.