Limp lover


Limp lover


your avatar   Sean, 18-year-old man

This is my first relationship ever. We have been together for 6 months and been having sex for the past 3 months, about 3 times a week (or at least we've been trying for that often). I love my girlfriend deeply, and hope to marry her. We have a very open relationship and we communicate well, so this problem has been the topic of conversation more than once.

It's not that I can't get it up, more that once it is up it is pretty much blind luck that it stays up. I figure that my problem must be psychological as my girlfriend is able to, well, 'push my buttons' to put it nicely. So, the problem has nothing to do with her, rather it must lie within me. I'm not on any medication, so that would not be a problem. The thing is, it has been this way since we started sleeping together. It is the same every time, we have a few hours of foreplay then I can't deliver when it gets to the act. However, every now and then I can manage to maintain my erection so that we can have sex. When it happens the sex is fantastic for both of us, with it lasting at least an hour, if not two or three.

My girlfriend and I talked, making the point that maybe the hours of foreplay was what was stopping me from jumping that last hurdle. So, we tried only half an hour of foreplay but still I couldn't 'do the deed'. Thus, we established that it had little or nothing to do with our length of foreplay, nor my level of arousal, as even when I can't maintain my erection I am still aroused something chronic. So, I figure that my problem is of a psychological nature.

What is my problem? How can I fix it? I will also add that it has since become an insecurity of mine. So is this acting as a vicious cycle whereby I get anxious about it and so can't perform and thus get more anxious?


    Silicon Valley Relationship and Sexuality Center,

Dear Sean,

Considering that the average foreplay time is about four minutes, and that the average time between intromission (penetration of the vagina by the penis) and ejaculation is 90 seconds, I respectfully suggest that your "problem" is not erection performance. It is lack of knowledge about how most other folks engage in sex, with a tinge of performance anxiety.

Because you are 18 and this is your first relationship ever, I suggest that you take a deep breath, relax, focus on pleasure using all of your body parts, and stop worrying about your erection. As you gain more experience with this or future lovers, you will likely have a better gut level understanding of the diversity of factors that influence your erection time span. Besides, unless you are trying to get pregnant, using body parts that cannot inseminate is safer from a pregnancy point of view.


This question has been answered by Dr. William Fitzgerald, a.k.a. Sexdoc. He is a bona fide sex therapist. He is one of the sex therapists at the Silicon Valley Relationship and Sexuality Center, in Santa Clara, California. For more of Dr. Fitzgerald’s work, visitors can check out Ask the Sex Doc, his website devoted to answering questions about sex therapy, sexuality, and relationships.For more information visit:


Determination is admirable, struggling isn't.
"The only journey is the one within."
Rainer Maria Rilke
Your purpose in life is whatever you decide it is.