“Guys think it’s sexual suicide to admit things went wrong”
Erection problems are the subject of our first episode of Safe Space, where two guys sit down in a pub to discuss a taboo subject. Watch Chris and Angus’ episode here.
“I haven’t had an orgasm at all for almost a year. I was afraid that my tubes were completely frozen.
It’s about Chris, who couldn’t get hard after finding out his boyfriend cheated on him, which caused him to lose confidence in himself and his erections. Before being cheated on, like most men his age, Chris “pitched a tent” every morning when he woke up and had multiple erections throughout the day.
A 2013 study suggests that Chris isn’t alone – 26% of men under 40 have problems getting it up – but hardly anyone talks about it. JOE asked our audience and 58% of voters said they felt shame when they couldn’t get hard, and 71% said they would worrying about a partner’s reaction.
Men get floppy for so many reasons. For Chris it was a mental block, for others like Angus who we talk to below it was triggered by hitting him too hard on the bike path. The stigma surrounding erection problems kept both men from seeking help or telling their friends.
“Young men without underlying medical conditions will most likely have psychological erectile dysfunction,” says Professor Neves, who specializes in psychosexual psychotherapy and advises men on erection problems.
Professor Neves confirms that struggling to do so “can cause devastating shame in some men”, which prevents them from speaking out. “The more we normalize these conversations, the better,” he adds.
JOE sat down with Chris and Angus to inspire others who are suffering in silence to open up.
“A guy I tried to have sex with became aggressive”
Chris De Sousa, 25,
“I used to wake up and ‘pitch a tent.’ The erections were constant. Then my problems started – there was a period ffrom March 2020 to December 2020 when I did not have an orgasm. It’s been almost a year. I started thinking, would I ever come back? Did my tubes freeze?
“The funniest situation I found myself in was going to my doctor. He kept calling me daddy all the time. I know it’s because he’s a family doctor and he calls all men “dads” and women “moms”. But still – it was weird having a guy who smelled like your groin and said “daddy”. Usually that would have turned me on – but in this case, obviously, it didn’t.
“As a gay man, without your penis, you can’t do much. A guy I tried to have sex with became aggressive. He was like, ‘I’m so hot, why can’t you get an erection, what’s wrong with you?’ He slammed me against a wall. I broke down in my car afterwards.
“For two months after that, I abstained. Then my friends dragged me to a pool party in November 2020. It was there I met my current partner.
“After snacking on it with him, he slowly started working again. He asked what other parts of my body felt good when he touched me. His patience really helped. At the beginning of last year, I was pretty much back to where I was before. There was an air of confidence again. I did it.”
“Guys think it’s sexual suicide to admit things went wrong”
Angus Barge, 31 years old
“The first time I couldn’t get up was with a girl I’d known for ages. I put it down to alcohol because I knew friends had problems when they were drunk. But a few weeks later, it happened again with someone from college. I put it on being out drinking. But when it came in the morning, sober, I was broken.
“Getting up had never been a problem, although I was hammered, so when it happened out of the blue, at 27, it was a moment of disappointment. I didn’t know any of the stats like 50% of men in their thirties from a sample of 2,000 men with sexual problems. It was like being hit by a train.
“I kept trying to have sex. Every time it happened it got worse, to the point where I was terrified. Masturbation was possible but nothing else.
“Looking back, it’s pretty obvious why it happened. I had been cycling and had crushed blood vessels in my perineumbut at the time I didn’t know that.
“I tried viagra but by then my problem was no longer just physical. Viagra worked but left me feeling empty. I was getting hard and then losing it because I was worrying so much about it.
“A conversation with my cousin, Xander, changed everything. I had done a lot of work on my erection issues and felt back to normal. I used masturbation exercises or breathing exercises, CBT stuff to heal my “inner critic”.
“Now I think erectile dysfunction is the best thing that ever happened to me. I started Mojo, an online community for men who can’t get up. One of the first questions girls ask on dates is, “What do you do for work?” I tell them I run Mojo and they say, ‘Why are you doing this?!’
“Guys often think it’s sexual suicide if you tell potential partners that something is wrong with sex, but talking can help them share their anxieties, and frankly, everyone has anxieties about sex.”
If you have erection problems, don’t worry – here are some tips to fix it
First, forget the blue pills and all the pills that start with the letter V, with “iagr” in the middle and ending with “A”. The good news is that “Pilly Willy” can be overcome in many cases with the right physical and mental exercises.
“Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to get help,” says sex therapist Lorraine Grover, who confirms that anxiety often makes things worse. Doctors can walk you through daily physical and mental exercises to help get you out of your head when it comes to overthinking your erections.
Drinking too much alcohol is a major cause of erectile dysfunction, and taking party drugs can also be the cause, explains Lorraine, who tells us that excessive consumption of chocolate will not help either, because diabetes is a other cause. Stress, fatigue and anxiety are other causes of erection problems listed on the NHS website.
The best advice is to simply start chatting with the docs as soon as you can. Honestly, they’ve seen it all. It’s a “common problem,” says Lorraine. “Talking and understanding why this is happening can help ease the anxiety that often makes things worse,” she says.
Even if you’re in the middle of erection problems, you still deserve pleasure – and you can get it because not all pleasure comes from your cock.
“The skin is a massive erogenous zone to explore,” Lorraine reminds us. “In sex we use our senses of sight, smell, taste and touch. Taking the time to kiss, caress and allow your body to respond sexually is important, don’t rush into it. thinking it’s about getting an erection.
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Mojo is an online subscription service for men with psychological erection problems. Men can try clinically proven physical and mental practices from home