I am scared that I won’t be able to have an erection

tensed man


Dear Sir,


I’ve stopped making sexual advances towards my partner because I’m scared that I won’t be able to have an erection. This has happened before when I was tired after a night-long flight or when I was stressed at work and was unable to have sex. This growing gap in our intimacy is affecting our relationship adversely. Please help me.

Aman Bhonsle says:

Anxiety about impotence (inability in a man to achieve an erection or orgasm) is one of the most commonly discussed sex-related fears that many men have. Internet forums are full of chat threads on the subject with many a hoax remedy or bogus product capitalising on this common and oft visited fear complex that so many men have. I hear about this issue every day in my clinical practice.

Face the fear

Ironically,the fear of not being able to have an erection – itself – is the greatest cause of impotence. In 90% cases of impotencies, the cause is stemming from the mind (psychogenic). It is only in 10% cases that the cause is biological.

Just as it is not possible to make saliva, tears and digestive juices flow at will, there is similarly no possible way a man can ‘will’ himself to have an erection. These things happen on their own in response to situations and circumstances. If you’re tired or stressed or worn down, it’s likely that you’ll have a problem getting and maintaining an erection. This is common and normal.

Alter your technique

If one involves oneself in ‘relaxed’ foreplay, the erection will happen on its own accord. Behind the fear of a failure to get an erection is a fundamental anxiety – the fear of being rejected.

With women becoming increasingly vocal about their sexual preferences and disappointments, I’ve also had some cases where relationships have splintered when men have complained that their female partners were particularly nasty with them when they were unable to perform sexually. Your partner’s patient understanding and co-operation plays a very important role in getting over what may very well be psychogenic impotence. Communicate and invest in special moments of intimacy with your partner and don’t rush things. Your body will know what to do.

All the best

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