This one’s for the guys. Or rather, it’s a girl’s perspective on a guy’s issue and what it means to me in my situation.
For this post, I’m going to relay my current understanding of what it’s like for guys when they can’t get it up, and what, in that situation, I try to do about things. You’ll notice that way down at the bottom there’s a small paragraph about my expectations and desires in such a situation. There’s a reason it’s small and all the way near the end.
I couldn’t find the study, and I read it a while ago, but I remember once hearing that men care way more when they lose erections or can’t get hard than women do (about their men). The point of the article, as I remember it, was to say, hey guys, you shouldn’t be bothered so much when you lose (or can’t get) erections. Because even though you think girls care, they really don’t. Boom. Problem solved.
The other day I had a conversation about this idea with my boyfriend. And I ended up with a much more nuanced view than what I’d been getting from the internet.
(Disclaimer: Please note, I’m not discussing any of these issues in the context of being gay because that isn’t my context and I don’t have the perspective to be talking about it. Neither do I have the experience to talk about this in terms of a poly or multi relationship or sexual encounter. I’m also not discussing this in the context of having erectile dysfunction in a medical sense; I’m talking about it in an “I’m exhausted so my penis isn’t working the way I want it to” sense. Also, as far as I know, all of these points might be different for every guy. I don’t exactly have an extensive polling system.)
Here’s what I understood from the conversation. First off, penis-touching doesn’t feel as good when it isn’t hard. Not bad, just not as good – and definitely, in that case, not as good as expected. (The comparison given to me was as if someone had wrapped my clitoris and vulva in a fluffy sock. I’d still feel touching, and it would still feel good, but it wouldn’t feel gooood.)
Secondly, embarrassment and anxiety are rather difficult to get rid of during erection issues, because he’s not just dealing with what he wants, but a supposed visual sign of what he wants. So the guy is worried that the girl thinks he doesn’t like what she’s doing even if he actually does like what she’s doing. And maybe he’s worried that he thinks she isn’t sexy even though he does think she’s sexy.
Thirdly, he’s annoyed at his body. Because it’s being difficult and he didn’t want difficult, he wanted fun.
Fourthly, sometimes the misbehaving penis results in not reaching orgasm, which means he’s horny without being able to get release in a fun, sexy fashion. Instead, he has to rely on ignoring the fact that he’s horny until it eventually goes away. And if the original expectation was to have a fun, sexy time, then he’s doubly disappointed. (I mean, seriously. Think of trying to reach orgasm and it never quite happening and you can’t figure out why but it’s just out of reach… I’m told lots of girls have this problem and deal with it differently, but it’s only happened to me once that I can remember and when I finally reached orgasm it wasn’t as good and I was just like, ok, maybe next time. It was definitely disappointing.)
All right, there’s my understanding of the situation, now to my response.
It’s my job, as a girlfriend (or possibly just as a sex partner), to make a disappointing situation as good as possible. It’s not just his problem, it’s our problem – because it’s not him having sex, it’s us having sex. It’s a situation that involved two people from the beginning, and, in my case, a situation where the two people actually care about each other.
I can’t do much about the fluffy sock feeling, but I’m going to feel bad about it, on his behalf. Because if he’s making me feel gooood, I want to make him feel gooood too. But feeling bad about it, from my end, is akin to wringing my hands and wailing piteously, which is completely stupid. So instead of feeling bad, I’m going to try and make him feel as good as possible. I’m going to kiss him, I’m going to play with him, and I’m going to pay extra special attention to his vocal reactions and breath changes to make sure that what I’m doing still feels good.
I’m also going to ask him what he wants me to do. Because, as you may have noticed, I’m fond of using language to communicate. Maybe he’s got tips or tricks that have worked in the past, or maybe he wants to focus on me because he’s embarrassed, or it’ll make him feel good, or for whatever other reason that you play around with each other when you’re having sex.
I’m also going to make sure he knows that I still think he’s sexy and that I know that he still thinks I’m sexy. Maybe I’m going to tell him that flat out, or maybe I’ll say something like, your penis seems to think you’re exhausted and should be getting more sleep. (Yes, sometimes I say funny, awkward things during sex. I prefer partners who say funny awkward things to me, too.) But whatever I do or say, I’m going to try and forestall the spiral of doom that his brain might go into – the one that says maybe I think he thinks I think he thinks.
And I’m going to recognize that maybe sex that night (or day, whatever) won’t be as I expected it to. Because yes, I have expectations too, and things are more fun for me, too, when he’s hard – though for different reasons.
(You might want to know my reasons. Reason one is things are more fun for me when they’re fun for him. Yes, that really is my top reason. Reason two is some things are easier to do when he’s at least somewhat hard. The obvious one is that intercourse is easier (read: possible) when he’s hard versus soft, and I like intercourse too. But you may not have considered that fallatio is possible, and interesting, when he’s soft, but it’s easier if he’s at least a little hard. Reason three is that I am usually happier when a sexual encounter – at least with my current partner – ends in intercourse. So of course I’m disappointed if that looks like it won’t be happening. But, and this is a big but, I am much happier when a sexual encounter ends in enjoyment for everyone, regardless of how we got there. And if that happens to not include intercourse for once, then that’s just fine.)
Because sex doesn’t always turn out how you expect it to and that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means it’s different. (All right, sometimes it’s bad. But I’m not talking about those times.)
And sex isn’t all about my expectations, or all about me. As I mentioned above, sex is an us game. And if something is going wrong for one partner, it’s the other partner’s job to check their expectations at the door and try to make things better in whatever way they can. That’s part of being a good girlfriend – or a good boyfriend.