On getting hard (or not)

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It’s 2-3 years ago when I arranged to meet that older guy for erotic massage exchange. The first thing he told me was that it’s hard for him to get erections. I told him not to worry and that I didn’t really care, especially as that’s not what we were about to do. We were gonna exchange meditative genital touch – something I was first instructed some time ago at a workshop.

He started first. When it was his turn he didn’t get hard at all. In our brief chat afterwards he talked about his worry, that he was afraid that getting older was part of the problem. I said “but I didn’t get hard either”. He said I did and it was true, I got hard briefly but it didn’t last long, even if he continued touching me. I didn’t know what else to say.

A few months later I found myself in his shoes. Getting erections was difficult and sometimes impossible. I knew it wasn’t a functional problem, I was always waking up with a hard-on and I was also quite hard when wanking on porn. The moment I met someone for one-on-one sex though, even if I was getting hard at the start for a few minutes, by the time we were getting naked my erection was gone – never to be seen again. I knew my frustration was part of the problem (probably even the problem itself) but I didn’t know what to do about it.

A couple of months later, Jason, a sexological bodyworker based in the UK, happened to be in Berlin and I took the chance to arrange a couple of sessions with him. My problem with erections wasn’t the only reason I got in touch with him for, but it was part of it. It helped a lot but not in the way I expected. Through exploration, with touch and talking, I understood that my biggest worry about not getting a hard-on was that I’d disappoint the other person. I was treating my dick as a tool for pleasing others, something which my dick obviously didn’t like and was protesting against. In those sessions I did manage to get an erection but I also got immense erotic pleasure without our focus being on my genitals. Those sessions didn’t fix the supposed issue but they made me more curious about what happens when I don’t get hard in my subsequent sexual encounters.

What I’ve observed since is that there are guys that get a hard-on at the drop of a hat but I’m definitely not the only person worried about my erection – there’s a lot of us out there. I also discovered that apart from the lack of the feeling of safety (which is a big subject, worth talking about it separately) one of the biggest boner-killers for me is expectations. It’s fair to say that in 9 out of 10 of my sexual encounters men expect penetration – and especially if the guy is a bottom and wants to get fucked, there’s too much pressure for my friend down there. Lots of friends I talked with about this said that this happens to them too.

I recently met someone who I was having a lot of fun with exchanging wet, long, intense kisses and super soft velvety, nurturing naked hugs. Not much of an erection going on for either of us. It should have been perfect for what it was, but there was that pressuring, aching feeling telling me something was missing, accompanied by that annoying, nagging voice asking me “what’s wrong with you two and you don’t get a hard on?”; to which I could only reply “nothing is wrong with us you arsehole. We were having a great time till you started asking questions.”

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