Can't stay erect

Originally Published: January 19, 1995 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: January 12, 2001
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Dear Alice:

It seems that I can't maintain an erection for more than a couple of minutes during intercourse. In fact, sometimes it doesn't seem to want to get up and play at all. The girlfriend is really starting to take this personally, but I know it's not her fault. Help! Are there any vitamins, diets, etc. that may help?

Signed, Here and Gone

Dear Here and Gone,

Erection problems can be mainly physical, mainly psychological, or a mambo combo. You say that you are unable to maintain an erection during intercourse. Can you keep an erection when she touches your penis with her hands or mouth, or when you masturbate?

Some men have problems keeping erections at the beginning of a relationship. Then, after they become more comfortable with their new partners, their erections become more reliable. Pay attention to your erection patterns to help you decide if you need to see a urologist or a sex therapist. If you have erections when you wake up or through masturbation, but not with a partner, that's important information that says your body is working correctly, physically. For the time being, why not receive pleasure and not worry about erections? These kinds of difficulties are common and transient. You can view them as part of life rather than as problems. Or, if it is a problem for you, sex therapy may make a difference. Contact the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) for a referral to a sex therapist near you.