Combing the 200+ comments on the recent Sexless Marriage blog post, I found that not only were women confused when a guy’s sex-drive was absent, but also when his equipment wasn’t always up for the job. Is he not attracted to me? Do I not satisfy him? Is he faking it? What does it mean if he loses it? The problem with this line of questioning is that women are reflecting the man’s behavior as a critique of themselves, damaging their self esteem.
Now, attempting to describe the behavior of the male erection can be like trying to unravel the Kennedy assassination or quantum theory. “You don’t try to figure this stuff out,” one buddy told me, coming to a halt in a game of basketball with a dead-serious look.
The reason is that, oftentimes, the behavior of an erection is confusing enough for its owner. Although arousal is generally initiated by attraction and the opportunity of sex, there are a lot of mitigating factors into how an erection works, or ceases to work. Let’s start by busting some myths:
Myth: An erection is a barometer of his attraction. I’ve met girls who were convinced that if a guy wasn’t saluting her at the bat of an eye, he wasn’t really attracted to her. First off, most guys over the age of 16 aren’t going to get hard-ons every time they see a pretty lady – we’ve had to evolve to be able to walk down the street, you know. Plus, there are dozens of things that can affect the quality of an erection that are totally unrelated to attraction: the guy’s health (physical and mental), his energy, over-thinking, anxiety, or even just an off-night.
Myth: If he wants to have sex, he should be able to get an erection. I’ve had sexual opportunities where I wanted it more than ever, but because I was also nervous, my equipment went right into hibernation. There is almost nothing worse for an erection than being nervous. The body produces adrenaline, reducing the blood-flow to the penis that’s necessary for an erection. And lets face it – sex can make anyone nervous, even in a committed relationship. It can be particularly difficult for a guy to overcome this if he’s faltered once or twice, and starts each sexual experience worried that it will happen again.
Myth: If he loses an erection, it’s because he’s not attracted to me. False, again. An erection doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty, and any of the reasons that can stop one in the first place can turn one off.
The point is, if a guy is having trouble getting or keeping it up, the investigation should start with him. If your man is having difficulty with his erections, find out if he’s nervous or anxious. Is he getting enough exercise, or is he depressed? Don’t make assumptions that it’s a response to you.
Still confused? Let me know what isn’t adding up!