Erections don’t always follow a schedule or set routine, but what if we could improve the chances of them arriving when we want them to? If you’re struggling to get an erection, you’re not alone, about 1 in 4 men under the age of 40 struggle to gain an erection and about 50% of all men over the age of 40 struggle getting hard too.
Keep reading to learn more about what an erection is and various methods to help get an erection.
What causes erections?
An erection is the process when the penis fills with blood, usually in response to sexual stimulation or excitement. The blood flow in the penis causes it to get stiff, hard, and it often pulls away from the body.
There are two main types of erections–reflexogenic and psychogenic. A reflexogenic erection occurs when the penis is touched, teased, or played with causing an erection. A psychogenic erection happens when thinking of a sexual situation or memory without touching the penis.
Erections can begin with a thought or sexual image presented and then throughout the experience the penis can be physically stimulated to get hard faster. Some people may need both a stimulus present and physical touch to achieve an erection whereas some people experience mainly one kind of erection.
Why is it difficult to get an erection?
Erectile dysfunction can occur due to some physiological reasons, mental reasons, or a combination of the two.
Some physiological factors that may contribute to a harder time achieving an erection include smoking tobacco or nicotine products, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or any other medical condition that affects the nerves or blood vessels.
Mental factors that could make it harder to get an erection include stress, anxiety, or depression. Performance anxiety, when the feeling of fear overcomes the ability to stay present and become aroused in the moment, is a common occurrence during sex with a partner.
Sometimes we need to slow down mentally and physically in order to enjoy the moment. Extending the duration of foreplay, before moving forward to an orgasm, is something fun that you and your partner can do together.
How long should foreplay last?
Most couples on average spend about 10 minutes engaging in foreplay, however most sex therapists suggest couples spend their focus on the quality of foreplay rather than the time spent engaging in foreplay. For both men and women, the longer a couple spends together passionately kissing, stimulating each other’s genitals, and engaging in oral sex, the less likely they are to experience difficulties with orgasm and sexual arousal.
Think of foreplay as the event before the event, like the tailgate party before the football game. Foreplay is proof that you can have your cake and eat it too. The longer that you are able to warm up before sex the better the main event can be. Remember quality trumps quantity, so make sure that you’re listening to your partner.
Go slow, or go fast, but make sure that it’s time that is well spent building tension and building connection. Sometimes the hottest moments can happen with your clothes on, your goal here is to build anticipation.
Communicate to lubricate
Communicating about performance anxiety and fears with your partner can help you navigate your sexual relationship while still maintaining a strong emotional connection. Sharing these struggles with an open dialogue can help you both to express your concerns and find actionable solutions to managing erectile dysfunction.
You can start by practicing active listening, maintaining eye contact, and providing your full attention with verbal or nonverbal feedback while the other is speaking. Using “I” statements can help to open up the dialogue. For example, saying “I feel anxious when I can’t get an erection” or “I worry that you might not be satisfied with our sex life” or “I need more foreplay before I feel ready to move forward”.
Having sex is both intimate and vulnerable, so it is essential to communicate with your partner to feel more emotionally safe. The more you share your preferences, boundaries, and fantasies, the more pleasure you and your partner will feel during that next steamy session.
Explore & discover
Another way to increase physical and mental arousal is through sexual exploration. The beginning of a sexual relationship is often filled with excitement of exploring each other’s bodies. However, after the sexual routine becomes a routine, it can become difficult to prioritize sexual time with your partner or to get excited during the act.
Focusing less on sexual performance and instead on sexual pleasure can help by eliminating performance anxiety. A full body massage from your partner can ease physical tension and promote mental relaxation. Exploration of other erogenous zones on the body like the nape of the neck, ears, nipples, or inner thighs may cause arousal. Setting up a situation as characters in role-play or using sex toys can create sexual excitement.
Manage your health
In general, having a healthy lifestyle has been found to prevent or reduce sexual dysfunction. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting your physical activity in, and limited smoking and alcohol consumption.
Obesity in particular increases the risk factor for erectile dysfunction. People who fall into the overweight or obese categories may find that it gets easier to stay hard once they lose the extra weight. Common weight loss strategies include diet modification and increased exercise. Several studies have found that 40 minutes of cardio four times per week can help to decrease erectile dysfunction in men.
When referring to your health it is all about a balancing act, so make sure that diet is emphasized as much as physical movement and mental health.
Consider erectile dysfunction medication
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Try penis rings to increase blood flow
Toys that restrict blood flow, such as Silicone Rings, may help increase blood flow to the penis. Increased blood flow can help you get an erection. Remember discovering In general, trying new toys could spice things up between you and your partner!
How to get an erection
The journey to get an erection can feel confusing or daunting, but the potential solutions aren’t a one-size-fits-all. Your body is unique and there are many techniques you can experiment with to find what works best for you. Some options to try include more foreplay and communication with your partner, managing your health and lifestyle, erectile dysfunction medication, or sex toys that restrict blood flow to the penis.