Skip to main content

Why Do I Lose My Erection?

Why Do I Lose My Erection?

Erections usually happen from a combination of mental and physical stimulation. But sometimes, even the hottest mental and physical stimulation doesn’t lead to an erection. 

Typically, aroused brains get the blood flowing to erogenous areas, like the penis, nipples, anus, lips, etc. Pressurized blood flow to the penis creates an erection. Erections may or may not lead to orgasms and ejaculation. Erections make sensations to the penis more intense, but non-erect penises can also enjoy stimulation without becoming erect. 


Challenges with blood flow

Alcohol, some medications, recreational drugs like MDMA, and even chronic weed use can impact erections. Some health conditions, especially ones related to vascular health, can also impact ability or stamina of erections. 


If you feel challenged about your relationship, work stress, home stress, global stress — all these stresses are hard to leave outside the bedroom. You might be consciously in the mood for sex and physically ready, but your mind might be having a hard time winding down from work or thinking about a to-do list or that argument you had with your partner or be grieving. 

Worrying about losing the erection

It can be hard not to think about it, but this creates performance anxiety. Mental tension can block feelings of relaxation and openness in the body. Your body might be interested but your mind is preoccupied with pressure or worry about losing the erection, feeling unable to perform, potentially disappointing a partner, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, etc.


If you masturbate with a death-grip frequently, sometimes the penis gets used to only that kind of stimulation as pleasure. Taking a break from penis-focused solo pleasure or changing up the way you masturbate can help reset your pleasure. Your erotic imagination can also get over-stimulated and unresponsive — try exploring different types of stimulation than you normally do like erotica or feminist porn. 

Arousal non-concordance

Sometimes you're in the mood but your body isn't and vice versa. Physical arousal doesn't always mean readiness for sex (think about in-opportune times that erections have happened outside of sexual stimulation) and erections don't always need to be present for sex to happen. 


If you are comfortable with not always being erect during sex, then you don’t have to do anything about losing an erection. It’s normal and happens to penises more often than you think. If you want to do something, here are some things to try when you’ve lost your erection:

Take a break from penis-focused stimulation 

There are multiple erogenous zones on ANY body — but we tend to only focus on genitals. Explore giving pleasure to nipples, anuses, armpits, feet, perineums, testicles, necks, lower backs, backs of knees, inner thighs. 

Let go of orgasm or erection as a goal

Penetration doesn’t need to happen for sex to happen. Flaccid penises also enjoy stroking, sucking, licking, grinding and sex toys. Orgasms can happen without erections. Some prostate orgasms don’t include erect penises. 

Communicate with your partner

Let them know (during a non-sexy time) what’s happening and if there’s anything they can do to support you. Maybe you want verbal reassurance or sex without the expectation of erections or a mutual masturbation session to get things rolling for you. You might want to reach out to a health care provider to rule out physical causes. 

Change up penetration

There are so many other ways to penetrate your partner. Explore toys like dildosstrap-on harnesses that are comfortable for people with penises, hand, face, or thigh strap-on harnesses. You might also consider being the receiver and exploring pegging

Slow things down

Sink into the sensations of grinding bodies, warm skin, dirty talk, eye contact, kissing. Give your body time to decompress or arrive in the moment. Use your senses to receive more pleasure. Use a good quality lube to create a velvety texture that reduces friction during handjobs.

Breathe and make sounds

When we’re stressed we tend to take shallow breaths. Notice if you’re having sex and holding your breath with tension in your pelvic area. Allowing yourself to make sounds during sex, like moans, groans, grunts, sighs, can relax the body too.

Try cock rings or penis pumps

Penis rings can safely be used up to 20 mins to increase the firmness or stamina of erections. Get tips for choosing a cock ring here. Penis pumps help bring blood flow into the erectile tissue of the penis. The Hot Octopuss is a great toy that does nto require an erection to feel amazing. The Duo versions allow your partner to also have pleasure at the same time. 

You get to decide what sex and pleasure looks, feels, smells and sounds like for you. Take the pressure off of erections being the only offering during sex and enjoy them when and if they are possible. 


Written for GFH by Luna Matatas