Dear Queerie Bradshaw,
Due to a recent medical reason, my boyfriend can’t get an erection. We’re both starting to get frustrated by his constantly flacid penis. What can we do to save our relationship?
Struggling with Sex
Dear Struggling with Sex,
I’m not a man. I have not been told my whole life that my worth lies in the strength and size of my erection. I cannot know what it would feel like to have that taken away from me, but I can guess that it would be demoralizing, emasculating and disheartening. I feel for your partner and the emotional upheaval his inability to get an erection most likely causes. I also feel for you. Supporting a partner through their sexual issues, whatever those issues may be, is rough territory. You both have needs and you both need to stick up for those needs, so words are important, but one wrong word and you ruin the mood for both of you.
Be honest, loving and respectful, that’s the best advice I can give anyone when communicating about sex, no matter the topic, but especially when one’s sexual ability is being brought into play. We often judge ourselves by how we respond in bed and how others respond to us, so recognizing that feelings are easily hurt is important. But those feelings aren’t just your partners, you have feelings as well, and those feelings include being horny and wanting sexual satisfaction.
That’s fully, totally, completely ok.
Many times when our partner has sexual function issues, we feel bad for our sexual frustration. As a caring partner, we don’t want to put pressure on our significant other to perform when they can’t, especially if we know they’re already self-conscious of their issue. “It happens to everyone,” doesn’t always work, though. At that moment, it’s not happening to everyone, it’s happening to you two. Both of you are frustrated and both of your are justified in your frustration.
Yes, I am saying you have every right to be frustrated at your partner for something they can’t control. I am giving you permission to be upset. Not at your partner, but at the situation. It’s a frustrating situation, so your first step needs to be recognizing that and putting it out there for discussion.
While those lines of communication are open, talk about the ways your situation could be less frustrating, discuss what else you could do to feel sexually satisfied. Remember back when you were young and simply making out and groping the shit out of each other was enough? Think back to those days. Or hell, think back to days even later than that. Lots of the sex I have doesn’t include an erect penis. In fact, most of the sex I have doesn’t include an erect penis.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with hands. Both yours and his.
Try fisting. Rub your hands all over each other. Suck on every part of each other’s bodies. Get some kink kits and tie each other up. Beat the shit out of each other with a paddle. Grab a new sex toy. Get him a penis extension or a harness. Jerk him off with a masturbation sleeve. Have him put his fingers in you, curving up just so until you ejaculate everywhere. Sit on his face and ride.
There are lots of wonderful, satisfying things you can do without his penis having to get hard. You both probably feel like this condition is the end of the world but it’s just the end of the world as you know it. The world is not this tight little square. It is round and diverse and full of options for those willing to explore.
So explore. Talk and communicate about what you like and don’t like, then explore some more. Take notes. Take photos. Hell, take videos if you want to. But most importantly, take your time. You’re learning something new, give yourself the patience it takes to get it right and soon all of that frustration and pent up sexual energy will dissipate and you’ll find yourself in a healthy, happy, sexually active relationship, erection or not.