5 Reasons He’s Losing an Erection and What You Can Do

Over the years I’ve received a lot of questions about lovers losing their erections during sex or guys that have had trouble getting it up. While those people were very distraught over it, it’s really nothing either partner should be afraid of.

In many cases it can be worked through without the sexual encounter ending or running to miracle pills and creams. While I’m not a doctor or health care professional, I’ve been around in my 20 years of writing about sex and have learned a few things.

So I’d like to share them with you because the more you know, the less insulted, upset or anxious you or your lover will be about it, and the more great sex you can have.

1. Anxiety

This is the main reason guys lose their erection or have trouble getting it up in the first place. This is usually from unrealistic expectations on both your parts due to what the media and porn have us believing what our sex lives should be.

We all want to be great lovers which is why so many books, websites and DVDs exist about how to have great sex or how to improve technique. Plus what we’re taught in school, if we even have the opportunity to learn anything in school, is just about mechanics, not how to have great sex and connect with your partner.

So he wants to be your sexual God, as you want to be his. He’s nervous and wants this to be as great for you as it will, hopefully, be for him.  There’s a lot of mental noise going on in his mind. Getting and maintaining an erection isn’t as easy as one thinks.

He may be thinking he doesn’t want to cum too quickly because if he does, then you may not be satisfied. Even though sex doesn’t have to end if that happens, he can bring you to orgasm in other ways, and you don’t have to reach orgasm at the same time.

He also doesn’t want to take too long because then you may think that he’s not really turned on by you or that you’re not giving him any pleasure. So he may be trying not to do one or the other, which means, ultimately, he’s not in the moment. If he gets lost in his head, he can’t enjoy what he’s feeling and may lose his erection or not be able to get it up at all.

2. Pressure

You may not know it, but if you’re consciously or subconsciously using his ability to get or maintain an erection or even climax as assurance that he cares for you, is attracted to you or as confirmation that you’re a good lover, then you’re putting unnecessary pressure on him to make you feel good, mentally and emotionally.

Erections come and go during sex, it’s the way the plumbing works. However, put yourself in his shoes, his penis is always exposed, so his erection or non-erection, can’t be hidden or faked.  The bottom line is, a man’s erection cannot be used to judge his absolute level of excitement so give your man a break.

If he’s initiated the act of sex or he’s enthusiastically participating and he keeps coming back to you for more…he’s into you. You’re doing something he likes. However, if you want to know what you can do better and/or different, it’s best to just ask and talk about what you both like and want to do.

3. Condom

If you’re using a condom during sex and his erection is lost while putting the condom on or sometime after, it’s not the fact that he has to wear a condom that’s necessarily the problem. Men can still experience sensations with a condom, many just don’t understand how to use it in a way that will give them the most pleasure or even how to get the right one.

If your guy is complaining that he can’t feel anything with a condom on, try putting a dab of lube in the inside tip of the condom before applying. This will lubricate the inside and give your guy more sensation while wearing it.

If he still doesn’t like the way the condom feels then he should be trying every condom available until he finds one that fits comfortably. Not all condoms feel the same nor are they created equally. For example, some are too tight, making the guy feel like he’s got a really tight rubber band around his penis.

Next, make sure that you can properly apply a condom. It doesn’t matter how you do it, with your mouth, your hands, know how to safely and correctly put one on your man’s penis. It should be second nature to him as well as for you and if it isn’t, practice, practice, practice. If he’s not sure or you’re not sure, that creates tension and anxiety which is bad for both of your mental well beings during sex.

Now you applying the condom is one way to keep that sexy atmosphere going resulting in a higher probability of him keeping his erection. If you don’t desire to put the condom on, it’s okay, but keep that sexy atmosphere going.

Do a sexy dance for him. Kiss and rub and touch other parts of his body, touch yourself, masturbate for him, tell him how excited you are about what’s going to happen.

If everything stops for the condom application, that could create tension that could cause him to lose his erection before he even gets the condom out of the wrapper.

Lastly, if he’s still convinced that the condom is the problem and you both absolutely have to use one, he should try regularly masturbating with the condom on so he can get used to what a condom feels like during sex so it’s not so foreign to him. Which brings me to my next point…

4. Intense Masturbation

It’s possible that your man has been masturbating with a death grip and/or a really fast intense stroke. Most men learn to masturbate when they are young and have to do it fairly quickly as to not get caught, so they learn the quickest, most efficient way to cum. This works so they go with it….for MANY years.

Now it’s really the only thing that can get them off. Sure they like what you’re doing, but they can’t get any more excited or cum because it’s not what they’ve essentially trained themselves to cum from. It’s not your fault, it’s not their fault, it just is.

So if this is a possible cause then he needs to make adjustments on his own and masturbate with less intensity and speed to get used to the difference in feeling. I guarantee that no matter how many kegels you do or how in shape you are, your vagina will not replicate that feeling so don’t pressure yourself about it.

This is something he’ll have to work on himself. What can you do in the moment? Don’t get pissy or upset that’s for sure. You can get him hard, but he may eventually have to jack himself off to actually cum, that can be really hot to watch and if you’re touching yourself in the process, bonus.

Grab a vibrator or dildo and use it on yourself while he’s stroking himself. And if he does have one of those death grips, you’ll see it, you really can’t miss it.

5. Alcohol

Whiskey dick, most men have experienced it and if your guy hasn’t and he drinks socially, he probably will at some point. Too much alcohol has been consumed causing your guy not to stay hard or he’ll be hard and can’t reach orgasm or he won’t even be able to get hard in the first place.

So if your man’s not getting it up, take a quick mental inventory of what you’ve both had to drink and maybe too much alcohol is the answer. There are no real guidelines as everyone’s tolerance is different.

So if you like to have a drink or two to loosen up a bit that’s fine. However, if you’re planning to get it on in a big way, save the heavy drinking for a non-sex night.

Best thing you can do

So there you have it, some very understandable reasons why your man is losing his erection and all of them have nothing to do with you in a negative way.

However, it’s always best to check in with your partner, whether new or the ole ball and chain, to hear what he likes. For instance, asking him if he likes it slower/faster, a firmer grip/a gentler grip. Would he prefer you to use your mouth or your hand or both? Maybe he wants you to be on top and take charge or vice versa.  (See my How to Give a Blow Job like a Pro for more tips.)

Ultimately if your partner loses his erection during sex, or has some trouble getting it up, the best thing you can do is to, under no circumstances, get visibly upset by this. If you do, that will only make it worse. So if you notice any of this happening, just do something else.

Make-out with him, tell him how much you love it when he goes down on you and have him do it. Keep the sexual activities going because he may get frustrated but it’s no reason for your sexual encounter to end.

Change things up or start from the beginning and get him all hot and bothered again. Once the focus is taken off his penis and ability to keep an erection, because you’re doing something that doesn’t require it, chances are the erection will come back.

Now if this is something that constantly happens and he’s extremely bothered by it and it’s really upsetting your relationship, making an appointment with a Urologist to make sure there aren’t any other underlying causes is not a bad idea. However, do not take pills and apply creams willy nilly.

And of course, discussing things at some point after is always helpful. Let your partner know it’s no big deal, you’ll both work on it together, being supportive and compassionate will go a long way here and take the stress off the situation.

These days the expectations of having great sex or what great sex even is, is so exaggerated that many couples go into sex with unrealistic expectations. Sex is just fun adult play, a way for us to connect intimately and give each other and ourselves pleasure.

There is not one linear path to only one orgasm for either of you. There are high points and subtler points, there are orgasms from oral sex, intercourse, toys, fingers. There are no rules to follow, it’s whatever you both want to do and whatever feels good to the both of you, whenever you want to do it during that particular sexual encounter.

I know people that believe that having good sex, proper sex is both people cumming from intercourse only and that’s simply ridiculous. It’s those kinds of beliefs, what it’s supposed to be, that get couples in trouble. All that matters is the two of you making each other and one another feel good together and feeling that intimate connection.

So go forth and have fun, great sex.

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My name is Ann Andriani. Since 1999, I've helped millions of folks sort through their questions and curiosities about sex. I hope that you enjoy your stay with me and benefit from my thoughts and sex advice.