Many men approach a sex therapist having self-diagnosed themselves with Erectile Disorder. Frequently a man may have intermittent trouble obtaining or maintaining an erection but these situations aren’t consistent enough or continue over a period of 6 months or longer to qualify for the DSM 5 diagnosis of Erectile Disorder. Here are the symptoms of Erectile Disorder:
- Inability to get an erection during sexual activity
- Inability to maintain an erection long enough to finish a sexual act
- Inability to get an erection that is as rigid as previously experienced
- the problem causes stress or loss of self-confidence, affects a relationship, or is found to be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires immediate treatment
Myth #1: Men are Always Ready, Willing and Able to Have Sex
From a young age, boys and teens are often told, or it’s depicted that “real men” have to demonstrate power over their sexual partners and take charge while having sex, whether engaging with female partners or as a top in sex with men. Through generations of conditioning to this end, there has been established a societal belief that males are always DTF (ready to be erotically turned on every time it’s on offer) , and should be ready to go at a moment’s notice due to a perceived heightened sexual prowess. This is simply not true. Many factors, such as diet, sleep, stress, illnesses and relational satisfaction affect one’s desire and ability to become aroused enough to get an erection. The pressure “to perform” is ingrained in men’s psyche in most societies such that men will avoid any flirtation, dating or relationship encounter in order to avoid feeling deep shame if their penis isn’t responding to a partner.
Myth #2 A Bigger Penis Makes You a Real Man and Sex More Satisfying.
Boys also learn through watching sexual explicit media, stand up comedians or colloquial sayings which they overhear that a penis has to be large if they’re going to pleasure a partner. People have all sorts of erotic and sexual desires and the size of a partner’s penis may be low on the erotic prioity list of many women, men and non-binary partners. For example, 75% of women require direct clitoral stimulation to bring them to orgasm so that vaginal or anal penetration is not as high on their desire list as oral, manual or sex toy stroking and licking. Some men who have sex with men prefer non-penetrative sexuality and would prefer being a side where both partners can self-stimulate or stimulate one another through oral or manual stimulation. Some partners’ primary turn on may be the sound of emotionally intimate talk, dirty whispers or dominant commands rather than the size of a partner’s penis. A 2020 review of research on penis size found that the average length of an erect penis is between 5.1 inches and 5.5 inches. However, the girth of a penis and the potential for intravaginal stimulation has been shown to be more alluring to a small sample of colleage-aged heterosexual women. while a study by Nicole Prause Et Al using 3D models of erect penises contrasted the penis size heterosexual women found desirable in a one-time sexual experience from what they found attractive in a long-term partner.
Myth #3 Porn is a Realistic Depiction of Real Sexuality
Porn or sexually explicit material is a form of entertainment to trigger an erotic response. Much of the porn/SEM industry is owned and produced by men for men who watch it in larger numbers than women. However, as in PG films, the actors are just performers who are chosen for their physical looks including what their genitalia look like in a close up. These performers are also acting, so that when a woman squeals with excitement without any kissing, caressing or receiving any stimulation from her male partner, the film is misrepresenting what many women state they need in order to get turned on psychologically and emotionally as well as physically aroused.
Myth #4 Sex Needs to Include Ejaculation
While most men expect to have an orgasm/ejaculation if they are engaging in a sexual act, it doesn’t mean that it should be a given or a demand. Studies of white heterosexual couples in relationship have shown us that there is an orgasm gap between the amount of times women come to orgasm with partner sex, and a gap between how often men think their female partners have reached orgasm and the actual number of times they do orgasm. Sex is a sexual umbrella under which many sexual behaviors are included. It is more important to focus on what each person desires and defines as a pleasurable and satisfying experience each and every time since each person’s body is in a different state each day and each moment. And while male partners may feel discomfort or pain when they don’t climax after sexual arousal, suffering what is colloquially called “blue balls” isn’t dangerous and the feeling subsides.