Column: ashamed of erectile problems

schaamte door erectieproblemen

Danny thought that he was the only man who suffered from this kind of problem. Still, he wasn’t really sure because he’d never talked about it with his friends. That’s strange, considering that the problem has been going on for about 8 years now, and sex is a regular topic of conversation. Apparently it’s never about the things that really matter; the things that Danny is ashamed of.

Danny has erectile problems. When he engages in solo sex, he manages to get an erection and to hold it until he orgasms. When he has sex with his girlfriend, he can’t. While kissing and caressing, with clothes on, he feels more and more aroused. He then manages to get an erection. As soon as there’s an initiative to take off their clothes, his erection disappears immediately. Then he gets so caught up in his thoughts that he cannot focus on his excitement, let alone succeed in getting an erection.

He’s incredibly ashamed of this. From a young age, he’s heard that as a man you must always feel like having sex, and that an erection is the epitome of manliness. But he doesn’t always feel like sex, and often he finds it difficult to get an erection. So how masculine is he, really?

Danny has grown up with an image of masculinity that always involves strength, perseverance, and self-confidence. His emotions about his sexual problems do not fit in with that. That makes him vulnerable. He feels small and insecure. He feels ashamed and it makes him sad. But, because he’s grown up with an image of masculinity where there’s no room for these feelings, Danny hides them. Even from his best friends and his girlfriend! She, of course, knows about the erection problems, but not about the immense shame that comes with it.

Suppose Danny were to be more open with them – then he might hear that they have the same problem sometimes. Or that one of them always comes too quickly. Maybe there’s another friend who often feels less interested in having sex than his partner. Or a friend who has trouble climaxing. And what about that guy who has a particular sexual preference, such as wearing women’s panties?

If one of these conversations had taken place, Danny might have felt less ashamed. Perhaps he would’ve still felt bad, but he would’ve known that he isn’t the only one feeling shame and discomfort. And, who knows, maybe the shame would have been less of an obstacle to his erection.

Reading tip: sexuality during different life phases

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