It is an all too common scene – you are giving or receiving a right dicking, things are progressing apace, and suddenly (or gradually) the equipment becomes either somewhat or completely non-erect. The term Erectile Dysfunction seems too clinical a term to describe one of life’s most human, vulnerable and in some ways (believe it or not) touching events. Despite the title of this piece, sudden detumescence has happened to everyone at some point, whether because of tiredness, physical issues, or a host of other psychological causes, and thus is not really an emergency per se. In fact, the more we can use it as an opportunity to find out more about ourselves and our partner(s) the less it becomes a source of angst, upset or even trauma. Here’s how:
1. DON’T PANIC!!!! (or more accurately, don’t panic)- It happened or is happening… The first thing the dick owner (for argument’s sake I am talking about the man, though penis ownership can be a muddy issue in some relationships) needs to know is that for a woman, the event in itself carries ZERO judgment. Even the very first time it occurs in adolescence, a girl has little baggage about her role in the matter, and is most likely to be anything from nonplussed to understanding. She’s okay, you’re okay, it’s going to be okay! If two men/people who used to be male/transitioning men are sticking it, there’s even more opportunity for understanding! He gets you bruh!
2. Observe Your Emotions – try to make like Thich Nhat Hanh and just be with the horror. Try not to throw shit against the headboard, punch a pillow or gaze at the heavens screaming “Why?” just observe what is happening in both of your bodies, and be with it, rather than overreacting.
3. Finish The Paragraph – This cannot be overstated, if you are observing your body and hers, you will notice that her erection did not subside, and this is because she has an “inny” instead of an “outy.” Though there are simple ways to tell if a woman is aroused, consider right at this very moment FINISHING YOUR LADY OFF, with either your hand/fingers, or another apparatus. I can’t tell you how many men do not understand that this eliminates the stress of the experience completely and sets you both up to win for whatever conversations need to happen next.
4. Have A Conversation – and don’t necessarily do it in bed or right then. Do not get all WASPy or practice your best “Shall we watch television, dear?” as if that shit didn’t happen. Turning a blind eye to this event is where madness lies and, as reluctant as anybody is to discuss what’s going on, nothing good will come of not discussing it.
5. Eliminate Physical Causes – If this is something that happens more than occasionally after a little too much whisky/cocaine/time at the steel mill it is advisable to consider that your body is trying to tell you something. Now is the time to go all Sherlock Holmes, and I don’t mean Google. Go to an actual doctor and find out whether your hormone levels are dropping due to age, or perhaps an enlarged prostate or something else is blocking the blood-flow. As scary as it is to consider anything awry in the region, it is so important to have answers so you can treat it naturally, with Eastern medicine, Western medicine or all of the above. Hold off on ordering the chemical cock-grower just yet, though, until you…
6. Examine Your Brain-Dick Connection – unfortunately many men still see sex as “performance” based, and as such understandably experience “performance” pressure. Though a dude might watch tons of porn and have an idea of what is arousing for him, he may have little idea (as does any chick he happens to be involved with) about what he finds unarousing and why. Though tempting to override these psychological factors with a nice (expensive) dose of Cial-agra, it may come at the expense of using the opportunity to grow personally, and ultimately be better at the kind of communication needed for doing it just the right amount of nasty.
7. The Love Connection – I have heard plenty of men discuss how they are going along quite happily shagging their lady until they fall in LERV, at which time a period of re-adjustment occurs and with it a little Penis Prankery. This is a specific phenomenon usually somewhere in the first six months of a new relationship, so if it comes at the twelve year mark of a marriage, it is probably not that.
8. Consider The Obvious – might get hate mail for this one but here it is: sometimes you just don’t want to fuck a bitch anymore. This does not in any way mean that she caused it, it’s her fault, or that it’s up to her to fix it. This can take place after a life-changing event such as the birth of a child, menopause, or an uptick in certain kinds of conflict within the rest of the relationship. If this is a union worth saving, rather than trying to find your kicks elsewhere (unless you’re poly and don’t mind having a platonic primary partner) it’s time to head into the therapists’ office/shaman hut/ayahuaska retreat. An objective observer you are both comfortable with should be able to help you understand where the desire went and why it went away. (A sort of Where’s Waldo of Fucking, oh look it’s up in that tree.)
9. Consider the Mystery – sex therapist Charlie Glickman once told me one of the things he most wishes people understood about sex is that a dry pussy and a flaccid penis do not mean lack of arousal, and neither do gushes of wetness and an around the clock hard one necessarily mean someone is turned on. (Who among us has not had a fear boner/lady boner?) There is a certain unpredictability to human beings because we are not unlined robot girls like in the movie Ex Machina, and thus have quirks and ambiguities sometimes even science can’t understand.
10. The Shame Is Optional – neither partner has to volunteer for it. With so many loaded misconceptions about sex already (Is a woman a slut if she enjoys it too much? Can the mother of my children also be my personal whore? Does an STI mean I should not have had sex?) it’s no wonder so many people take a Boner Barrier to mean something far more than it is. Just like we can volunteer to be victims in our relationships with people, we can learn to work with our reactions to a potentially upsetting situation with compassion for ourselves and others. If someone is throwing you one, he/she/they probably like you enough to be a little patient, so give yourselves the benefit of the boner (sorry) expand your notion of what sex can be, and know that you will work through this together and live to wang another day!