February 29

How Can I Maintain an Erection?

Dear Mark,

How Can I Maintain an Erection? I want to have sex, a lot…

The trouble comes when I actually get to have sex. My erection is there to start with, but I go limp before finishing.


A lot of advice I read about this aims at helping my libido in general, but my sex drive is fine. It’s my ability to act on that drive that’s a problem.

What can I do to fix this?

Other Mark

Hey Mark,

I’m working with limited information here since I know nothing about your lifestyle habits…

So I’m going to take a stab at this, then pass you onto Jason Brick who will cover some of the more general info on this subject.

Hopefully, one of these points will strike home with you.

Let’s go…

How To Maintain an Erection

The first question you need to ask yourself is, can you maintain an erection while watching pornography?

If so, you’ve trained your brain for a dopamine rush that regular sexual activity simply cannot provide.

If this is the case, you need to execute the protocol outlined at the bottom of this page.


If you’re using any medications (even OTC), that may be your problem, as many med’s shut down the biological signals between your brain and your groin.

Recreational drugs and excess alcohol are included in this list.

Honeymoon Impotence

This form of Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction typically happens in new relationships, but it can also happen in relationships where the balance of power has shifted to far into her corner.

For example, when the female controls everything in the bedroom and he feels lucky when he can get it, two problems often arise….

Premature ejaculation and failure to get and/or maintain an erection.

This problem will be amplified if the male is a victim of nagging, put downs and disrespect, which is often the case when power balance heads South in a relationship.

Several studies have shown that emotional states such as worry, panic and fear can torch erections as soon as they get started (source).

Other studies have found a close link between anxiety and retarded ejaculation, where the climax takes forever to come, or doesn’t arrive at all.

So if you regularly feel anxious or worried about her behavior towards you instead of horny when you lead her back to the bedroom, this could be your problem.

Now here’s Jason with much more detail on the subject….

How Can I Maintain an Erection Part-2

Hey Other Mark,

First, let me thank you for your honesty and courage in bringing up this question.

A lot of men are so embarrassed by trouble with their erections that they never ask how to fix it.

So good on you for “stepping on that grenade” so we can put all of my research into one place.

Advice for maintaining an erection range from the oddly specific to the should-be-obvious-but-somehow-isn’t, and there’s a lot of a advice.

Despite the range, the advice falls into three general areas: Physical Health, Emotional Health and Mental Health.

I can’t tell you which of those areas (or which combination of areas) are the source of your problems, but here are the Top Tips for each area so you can start working to find out for yourself.

Physical Health and Maintaining Erection

Healthy sex drive or not, maintaining an erection relies on several complex systems in your body. If one of those isn’t working right, it can mean difficulty maintaining an erection.

Some of the most common examples include:

Overweight/High Blood Sugar, which can lead to type-2 diabetes and/or nerve damage throughout your body. If some of that damage is to nerves involved in sexual arousal, that can impact your ability to stay “up to the challenge.”(source)

Circulatory Problems of any kind can interfere with blood flow. The basic mechanic behind erections relies on healthy blood flow to your penis. Poor blood flow = poor erectile function.

Hormonal Health Issues like low testosterone, high estrogen, or issues with dietary or environmental factors messing up how well your sexual hormones function. A variety of supplements can help with this.

Lifestyle Factors ranging from excessive drinking, to smoking, to drug use and getting enough sleep can all impact your ability to get it up and keep it up. Bottom line: if you’re living an unhealthy life, you can’t expect your erection to live a healthy one.

Mental Health and Maintaining Erection

The link between mental state and physiological performance is complex, and incompletely understood. That said, here are a few of the things we know for sure what’s going on in your head can impact what goes on with your “other head”:

Stress Constricts Blood Vessels. This is great when you’re about to fight a saber-tooth tiger because it slows bleeding (and fighting saber-tooth tigers is what your stress responses were originally for). It’s not so great for keeping a healthy boner (source).

Sexual Indifference, whether it’s caused by aging, medication or a personal focus on other factors, can (obviously) lead to your body not wanting to have sex long enough for you to satisfy your partner.

Anxiety and Depression are two related mental disorders that can really run a number on your performance in bed. Even when the illness lets you feel comfortable in romantic and sexual situations, the physiological impact of anxiety and depression, plus the drugs commonly prescribed for treatment, can absolutely destroy your ability to keep it up (source).

Self-Esteem Issues can lead to such performance pressure or uncomfortableness in a sexual situation that it’s all your body can do to get an erection started. Asking for it to stay until the party’s over becomes too much to expect.

Emotional Health and Maintaining Erection

Even casual sex is fraught with emotion, so it’s no wonder that your emotional state can help or hinder the amount of wood in your would.

The difference between emotional health and mental health (for this conversation today) is that your mental state is what’s going on with you. Your emotional state is what’s going on between you and your partner.

For example:

Guilt: Whether it’s guilt over some real or perceived wrongdoing in the relationship, or over a real or perceived inability to satisfy your partner, guilt can ruin the mood that keeps your performance strong. The less said about the destructive spiral this can cause, the better.

Trust: If you fear your partner is cheating, this can lead to your penis betraying her the way she’s betraying you. More subtly, if you don’t trust your partner to desire you or find you sexy, this can lead to the same self-esteem issues we talked about above…especially if you’re already having trouble keeping an erection long enough for a mutually satisfying romp.

Relationship Malaise: Relationship problems in the bedroom can show up outside the bedroom. You already knew this. The inverse is true, too. A failing relationship can lead to less sex, less frequent sex, and less ability for you to maintain arousal as the sparks fade everywhere else.

New Parenthood: Between the utter exhaustion, increased anxiety, new relationship dynamics, and changes in both of your bodies, becoming a parent can ruin your ability to have sex. The good news about this cause is that (most of the time) it fades as the baby grows and you learn how to parent.


Again, without a lot more information I can’t help diagnose exactly which of these issues is at the heart of your trouble when you tango. You should talk with a health professional (preferably a naturopath) and help identify the most likely source.

Once you’ve done that, my site has tons of information about whichever specific issue you’re having trouble with.

Once you’ve identified the problem, and several possible solutions, the rest is just committing systematically executing different protocols.

That’s harder than I just made it sound, but you’ll almost certainly be surprised about how quickly your erectile health returns once you’ve started on the right solution.

About the Author Mark

Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.

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