It might be hard to imagine having great sex with erectile dysfunction (ED), especially when for many men and penis owners, erections are the universal salute of health and happiness. An erection evokes power and confidence. It's a litmus for attraction, a precursor for pleasure, a sign of good things to come. This is why perspective is essential for managing erectile dysfunction and reclaiming your sex life.
Everyone's body responds differently to their internal and external environments. Understanding that bodies react uncharacteristically under stress is essential for putting ED into context. Have compassion and patience for your body; it's handling a lot. We aren't machines. (Thankfully, we do have the help of machines!)
Although some causes of male impotency are physical and might be treatable with a little blue pill or surgery, such as nerve-impingement, other causes are psychological, like stress, performance anxiety, depression or relationship problems. Some of these can be harder to identify and treat and may require talking to a therapist for a more long-term solution.
If you struggle with erectile dysfunction, you're in good company. 52% of men and penis owners will experience some form of impotency in their lifetime. And much like those before you, there are many ways to have great sex with erectile dysfunction and experience pleasure so read on to find out how.
Ditch the Goal-Oriented Mindset
Sex is not a performance; it's an experience. And the experience is not 'one-size-fits-all.' In order to have great sex, it's important to abandon a goal-oriented or performance mentality. The mind-body connection is real. When we approach sex with a goal in mind, we render the experience to pass or fail. That might turn into a toxic thought pattern. Our brains are the architects of our experiences, which makes our thoughts critical building blocks.
Sexual encounters start in the mind before they manifest in a physical space. If you enter into a sexual encounter with a negative or anxious frame of mind, the experience will be just that. Putting pressure on your body to perform in a certain way or adhere to any expectation is problematic.
It's common to reduce our sexual experiences to the physical act of becoming erect or ejaculating. But sex is so much more than a physical reaction. It is possible to have an orgasm without ejaculation and vice versa; they are not mutually exclusive. Ejaculation is defined as the expulsion of semen from the penis, whereas orgasm is the process of neurotransmitters delivering pleasure signals from body to mind. The only goal should be pleasure in whatever form that takes. Sex meditation or therapy can do a lot to help with reframing your mindset and removing these anxious thoughts so you can enjoy the present moment
Reconsider your Definition of Sex
Societally, we put emphasis on penetrative sex (penis-in-vagina or penis-in-anus) being the only acceptable type of sex. However, there are many ways to have non-penetrative sex and explore your sexuality. The beautiful thing about sex and sexuality is we have the freedom to define what that looks like. Intercourse is only one of many types of sexual expression. Other types of sex include:
- Oral sex
- Anal sex
- Vaginal Stimulation
- Outercourse or Dry Humping
- Masturbation or Mutual Masturbation
Focus on Erogenous Zones
Sex isn't confined to genital contact either. A skin-on-skin connection can be orgasmic without an erection or ejaculation. Focus on stimulating and pleasuring erogenous zones. Lips are our most exposed erogenous zone, yet kissing is an underrated sexual experience. The human body is riddled with sensitive areas that will give you and your partner a toe-curling experience regardless of how your genitals respond. If you want to up-the-ante, try using a vibrator or sex toy to really stimulate erogenous zones.
A tried and true medical method to alleviate erectile dysfunction - the little blue pill! A doctor can prescribe medication for ED known as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors or PDE5 for short. More commonly known by their brand names, Viagra, Cialis, Stendra, or Levitra, to name a few, this oral medication helps relax the muscles in the penis which increases blood flow and helps you get an erection once you are aroused.
Oral medication is discreet and easy to use, helping men achieve a longer lasting harder erection for penetrative sex. But they are not magic pills and it’s important to cater your expectations around using them. They provoke a physiological response in your body but can require external stimulation to get an erection, and they do not increase sexual desire. The increased blood flow could also lead to a severe reaction if you have underlying health conditions, so always consult your doctor before taking this medication. But keep reading; we’ve got you covered in ways to increase desire and intimacy!
There are various ways to use male sex toys to enhance sex with erectile dysfunction whether that is to heighten sensations on the penis, for example with a vibrator on your frenulum, perineum or A-spot or to experience an orgasm with or without an erection with products like Pulse Solo Essential or Pulse Duo from Hot Octopuss. Below are the most popular products used for sex with erectile dysfunction from achieving and maintaining an erection to engaging in penetrative sex, which are also a great alternative to medication:
Wearable Vibrator for Men
Tenuto is the only wearable vibrator for men with an adaptable design that comfortably fits around the penis acting like a traditional cock ring to restrict blood flow for a harder longer-lasting erection. Unlike a traditional cock ring, it has 6 anatomically placed motors that vibrate from penis to perineum, increasing blood flow and heightening sensations and arousal. Tenuto also stimulates the labia and clitoris, giving both partners pleasure at the same time for a sensational ride.
Penis rings or cock rings are popular and simple devices that sit around the base of the penis and help maintain an erection by constricting blood flow leading to a harder, longer-lasting erection. Vibrating penis rings also include a vibrator to stimulate the clitoris during sex helping further enhance sensations for your partner. They can be used during sex in combination with other methods, like penis pumps, sleeves, or medication and are commonly used whether someone suffers from male impotency or not.
One thing to note is that penis rings should not be worn too long as they can cause damage to penile tissue or nerve impingement. And no one wants that! Only good vibes and a good time are desired! So make sure you take it off after 20-30 minutes or if it feels too tight.
Penis pumps or vacuum erectile devices (VEDS) are mechanical pumps that temporarily alleviate erectile dysfunction. The pump creates an air-tight vacuum seal around the penis via suction and promotes blood flow in the shaft. Pumps come with a constriction band or tension band, much like a penis ring, which you slide to the base of your shaft to keep erect. It might take a few minutes of the pump’s suction to achieve an erection and typically last around 30 minutes. They cannot be worn during sex, but are used before to foreplay or just before intercourse.
In mentioning penis pumps, let’s dispel one myth regarding their purpose - they won’t enlarge your penis permanently or give you extra length. Any enhancement is marginal and temporary.
Penis sleeves, which can also include penis extenders, sheaths, and enhancers, are hollowed, rubber, or silicone fitted sleeves that look like a penis and are worn over the penis, allowing you to engage in penetrative sex whether you have an erection or not. The tension of the sleeve, while minor, can also promote blood flow in the same way that a penis ring or tension ring does.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some sleeves covering the penis completely and others leaving certain parts exposed. Some even come with internal and external ribs for more intense sensations and even vibrations. It’s a matter of personal preference, so feel free to experiment with what’s available on the market and find what’s best for you and your partner.
Learn & Lean into Honest Communication
Communication is the cornerstone of all great sex, fostering intimacy and trust in our relationships with others as well as ourselves. When we feel connected to our partners and ourselves, we are more likely to reveal our innermost desires and fears and take risks. Communication requires us to become intimately acquainted with our desires and fears before we can verbalize them. This level of self-awareness can only benefit your sex life.
As daunting as vulnerability sounds, especially regarding erectile issues, your willingness to communicate honestly is rewarded tenfold. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. According to intimacy expert Dr. Brene Brown, vulnerability is a building block to any relationship. Vulnerability yields compassion; compassion yields connection to ourselves and others.
It's important to recognize that there are various forms of communication beyond verbalization. You’ve probably heard the adage, “actions speak louder than words.” Many men and penis owners identify strongly with non-verbal methods of communication, usually showing their appreciation and attraction to their partner(s) through arousal and using sex as the language to express that they care.
Male impotency can present an obstacle to express their love and attraction for their partners. However, this obstacle is an opportunity for men and penis-owners to expand their vocabulary and learn a new form of communication. Sex, or physical touch, is not the only love language available.
Developed and popularized by Dr. Gary Chapman, 5 love languages can be applied to your relationships in sexual and non-sexual capacities:
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Receiving Gifts
The silver lining of any tribulation is that it presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Take this opportunity to get creative and try something new, whether with yourself or your partner. Exploration without a goal in mind can be incredibly liberating, as well as a reason to change up the pace.
Rediscover your body and your partner's body. Use your lips, your fingers, your mouth, your feet. There is no wrong way to explore. Try to engage all five senses for a dynamic sexual experience, from incorporating sight and sound stimulation in your foreplay or experimenting with sensory deprivation.
Experiment with using sound or audio to arouse yourself and/or your partner, whether that’s incorporating music, ASMR or using dirty talk. Aside from sex noises being proven to arouse our primal instincts, it's also an excellent method of providing feedback to your partner.
Interested in adding kink or BDSM to your sex life? Blindfold your partner and command them to touch themselves to the sound of your voice.
Focus and build upon what you can do versus what you can't do. Are you good with your hands? Consider a sensual massage. Nothing sparks eroticism like glistening, smooth skin at the mercy of your hands.
Where there is a will, there is a way; it's trite but true! Pleasure is still available, even if it means adjusting your routine and stepping out of your comfort zone so you can have great sex with erectile dysfunction.