Much like what our erections look like, ‘normal’ erection behavior can be very different from one guy to the next.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all timeframe, it’s common to wonder how long should an erection last. While many of us compare ourselves with pornstars, this type of comparison can be unhealthy on our sex life.
When we look at erectile function overall, we can gain greater clarity on what constitutes a normal erection, covering how an erection comes and goes and troubles getting hard.
So, what is normal erectile behavior? Let’s take a look.
Normal erections: Morning glory
Morning boner, morning erection or morning glory – Whatever you call it, pitching a tent first thing is totally normal. Waking up with a hard-on is actually a positive sign that your body’s blood flow and nerves are functioning properly.
However, unlike the normal erections you get when you’re going to have sex, your morning wood has no real connection to sexual thoughts. This type of erection is actually a result of your sleep cycles, as you enter a phase of sleep called rapid eye movement (REM).
There’s no need to be concerned that you’re waking up hard in the morning! In fact, when morning glory becomes less frequent or your dick feels less rigid, it could be an early sign of erectile dysfunction (ED).
As well as the potential for ED, there are other factors that may affect your morning glory. These can include your stress levels, medication, feeling fatigued, drugs and alcohol as well as ageing, hormones and nerve damage.
Why can’t I get hard again after sex?
After orgasm, we go through the refractory period – otherwise known as a recovery cycle. During this time, it’s not possible to get another normal erection.
Put simply, the time it takes to get hard and jump back in the sack varies from one guy to another. Age is also a factor, making this ‘recovery’ period longer as we get older.
So if you’re wondering, why can’t I get hard, you may need to allow a long resolution stage before getting down and dirty again.
Psychological impact on your normal erection
Many of us don’t realise the effect that stress, anxiety and depression can have on our otherwise normal erections.
Since healthy blood flow is crucial in order to get it up, if your penis goes soft during sex it could be due to psychological effects.
Any negative or distracting thoughts can quickly send blood elsewhere. This means that your erection comes and goes, causing you to get soft during intercourse.
Why can’t I get hard? – Performance anxiety
When you struggle with erectile issues, it’s easy to get caught up thinking that’ll happen again… That it happens again!
Whether you’re worried when an erection comes and goes, or thinking how long should an erection last, being distracted during sex can cause your hard on to fall soft.
So if your penis goes soft during sex, it could be that you’re worrying about getting a normal erection or maintaining it too much.
Sure, many of us want to know how long we ‘should’ be able to stay hard for, but the rock and a hard place (no pun intended) or worrying and getting hard can cause performance anxiety in itself.
The act of worrying about getting a normal erection can be the reason why you can’t get or stay hard.
Why do I get soft during intercourse?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can disrupt a man’s sex life in different ways. For some, it can be difficult getting a normal erection, while for others it’s staying hard.
Some men experience a loss of erection during sex, which is frustrating for both you and your partner. This is usually down to performance anxiety, not a lack of sexual attraction.
If your penis goes soft during sex, don’t let the moment build up into even more stress and anxiety. The worry of it happening again alone can cause further anxiety in the bedroom. By speaking openly to your partner, you can face the problem together.
Try to take penetrative sex out of the equation for the time being. Enjoy foreplay, mutual masturbation and teasing one another. When penetration is off the cards (for now!), you can build up your sexual confidence again.
Without the pressure of keeping a normal erection during intercourse, you may find that you can gradually stay harder for longer. Concerned about how long should an erection last? Try not to compare to unrealistic representations, such as pornography.
Also Read: How to make your partner happy
Talking openly with your partner will help you to tackle any worries or concerns. Plus, you can have some fun exploring new things together!
Losing your normal erection with condoms
It’s incredibly common to lose your erection when putting on a condom. While ditching condoms isn’t really an option, since they protect you against STIs and HIV, as well as acting as a contraceptive – there are ways to combat this issue.
- Try to play with your dick while soft in a condom so you can get familiar with the sight and feeling of wearing a condom.
- Explore pornography where condoms are used to create a positive association with wearing protection
- Speak openly with your partner about your concerns
- Try masturbating with a condom every now and then, making them a part of sex play
- Ask your partner about putting the condom on you
- Try different condom brands
If you’re confident that both you and your partner are STI-free, you can always look for an alternative contraception.
How can you get your erection back?
If you find that your erection comes and goes, after ruling out physical causes it could be time to see a psychosexual therapist. This will help you to uncover possible underlying psychological issues that could be affecting you sexually.
But first, try to speak openly with your partner. Communication is key.
There are also plenty of small lifestyle changes you can make to improve your erections, such as:
- Getting regular exercise
- Following a healthy diet
- Cutting back on alcohol
- Keeping stress to a minimum
Get your sexual confidence back
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