I lose my erection with condoms

A young man is sat down using a laptop to search for help with losing an erection with condoms.

How do I maintain an erection with condoms?

Do you suffer from erection issues with condoms? Think this only happens to you? Think again…

Safe sex. Safe sex. Safe sex. You know. You get it. You’re trying, OK? But whilst you were carefully applying a condom to a banana in Sex Ed at school, the banana didn’t inexplicably wilt and die. In fact, whilst everyone is delighted to warn you about HIV risks, warty dicks, unwanted sprogs and all the other lovelies that come from unprotected sex, NO ONE thought to tell you that condoms can make you lose your erection. Or what you can do about it when you’re trying to be sexually responsible.

Losing an erection during sex with condoms is normal

Listen. Carefully. This is so, so normal. Contrary to popular belief, penises are not invulnerable sexual robots and condom-related erectile dysfunction is very common. The problem is we aren’t particularly skilled at sharing our sexual hang-ups and you’re left thinking you’re the only person in the entire universe who struggles to keep an erection when using condoms.

Dr Gillian Vanhegan, from Brook, says: “Losing an erection during sex when putting on a condom is really quite common. You’re not the only one. In fact, I’ve had three people come in about this only this week. But people don’t talk to each other about this despite the comfort in knowing other people have the same problem.”

Why do I lose my erection with condoms?

There are many reasons why the sight of a rubber can lead to losing your erection during sex. Firstly, the nature of putting on a condom isn’t high up there on the erotic scale. The kissing and foreplay halt, you have to rummage around in a drawer, faff about with the packet, worry if it’s on inside-out …Is it really surprising your cock has lost interest by now? Plus, yes we know, sex doesn’t always feel as good with a condom on. It can decrease sensitivity, making it harder for your hard-on to stay… well… hard. All of this is commonplace. But the issue becomes a problem when, psychologically, you start linking your erection deflation to condoms and get yourself into a massive head-mess about it.

Dr Vanhegen says: “If something goes wrong sexually, some people can just laugh it off. Whereas with other people it can go quite deep and this is where the problem starts. They start thinking ‘last time I used a condom I lost my erection – what if it happens again?’, and quickly just the thought of a condom can make an erection fade away. It’s all about confidence, and trying to break this vicious thought cycle.”

How to maintain an erection with condoms

You are not destined for a life of dick-flop whenever you hear the word Durex. To learn how to maintain an erection with condoms, treat yourself to a posh wank (masturbation with a condom) and practise putting a condom on alone without the pressurising eyes of your partner on flop-watch. If you do have a partner present, stop separating the condom application time from the sexy time and make it part of foreplay. Ask them to stimulate you with their hands or mouth while the troublesome foil packet is being unwrapped. Or you might find it sexy if they put the condom on for you. The most important thing is to COMMUNICATE about it. Yes, I know you would rather stick six-foot needles into your eyes than have a frank conversation after your floppy cock, but it will help. We promise. And your other half will feel better about it too.

Dr Vanhegan says: “The trick is to make it fun so the condom isn’t seen as this dreaded thing. Try not to just stop what you’re doing, get the condom out, and try and stick it on – that’s quite cold and clinical. Talk to your partner so you can both work at maintaining your erection and condoms become part of the lovemaking process.”

How to keep an erection if that doesn’t work

Don’t panic. This is the time where you need to start talking to your doctor, rather than ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. Or worse – avoiding sexually-satisfying scenarios because you’re scared your penis won’t perform.

Dr Vanhegan says: “If you’re avoiding sex it’s definitely time to see a professional who understands. It might be that you need a one-off prescription of medication just to ensure you keep an erection, get that condom on and have a successful time. It usually only takes one good experience to get over your performance anxiety and break the cycle. But always get a prescription rather than buying the medicine yourself off the internet.”

My partner hates condoms. What should I do?

Number one. Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing to do with your attractiveness, your sexiness, or how they feel about you. If you get them to open up and talk about it, they’ll tell you that themselves. Check out our article on how to talk about condom use here.

Number two. Don’t be sharp about it. Seriously. Even if you’re so sexually frustrated you’ve considered dry-humping a wall. Nasty comments will only make things worse.

Dr Vanhegan says: “People are actually quite fragile. They don’t appear that way but a negative sexual comment can haunt them for years. You have to be extremely careful about what you say and don’t reject them or say anything critical. Instead discuss calmly how you can overcome this problem together.”

I hate condoms. Can’t I just risk it?

Please don’t. Think a condom is un-erotic? How about big weeping blisters on your appendage? Or the thought of your doctor telling you you’ve contracted HIV?

Dr Vanhegan says: “If you’re sleeping with a new or casual partner and they’ve not been tested don’t risk anything. It’s just not worth it. Talk to someone at Brook about your condom problem and we will be able to help you.”

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By The Mix Staff

Updated on 10-Feb-2023