My Ex Couldn’t Get It Up & It Made Me Feel Really Insecure

When you’re with a guy, you want him to get turned on the second we touch. If his manhood isn’t at full attention when you expect it to be, you can’t help but wonder if you’re not enough to get him going. It’s a lot of pressure for a guy and something I never considered before. That is until I dated a guy with erectile dysfunction.

  1. Our first night together was epic. You know how sex scenes in movies are amped with passion, packed with pleasure, and steaming with intensity? That was exactly how our first time together felt. It was downright cinematic. We had just come from a lunch date where we sat across from each other for an hour flirting and lusting after each other. As soon as we got the check, it was as if we both spoke at the same time, “Let’s get out of here.” We made a beeline straight for his apartment. Listen, I know it sounds like something out of a steamy romance novel but I swear to you it’s true.
  2. The first time he couldn’t get it up, I didn’t think anything of it. It was my birthday and we planned an all-day pub crawl in Manhattan. We mapped out about 15 bars and had at least one drink at each. It was a total blast but we were completely hammered at the end of it. As with any new relationship, it didn’t matter how drunk and tired we were–we couldn’t wait to get each other’s clothes off. The heat was on but there was something missing: his erection. I pulled out every sexy trick in the book but his limp manhood laid there like a beached whale. He muttered an uncomfortable “I’m so sorry” and we promptly passed out. When I woke up in the morning, we didn’t mention it and honestly, I didn’t give it another thought.
  3. When it happened on a sober night, I began to worry. It was a Netflix and chill night and we were innocently making out on the couch. My hand wandered below his belt but there was no movement. I took my clothes off and pressed my body close to his and… nada. I busted out every trick in the latest issue of Cosmo and his penis remained smooshed against his thigh like a soggy pool noodle. The more I played with it, the worse it got. It was like trying to start a fire with a wet log. We both became frustrated and he was very clearly irritated with my persistence.
  4. I was certain that I was no longer doing it for him. I felt insecure because I thought we’d lost the new relationship spark at a mere two months in. I thought that maybe it was because I stopped wearing my sexiest lingerie or because I gained a little weight. I agonized over ways that I could make improvements on my end in order to satisfy him in bed. For some totally screwed up reason, women are trained to believe that everything is our fault. We should work on that.
  5. We finally had a talk. We danced around the issue for an impressive amount of time, avoiding the topic like the plague. Neither of us wanted to address the issue because we were both feeling insecure—OK, probably him a lot more than me. One night, in the middle of a steamy sex scene in a Game of Thrones episode, I blurted out, “Am I not doing it for you anymore?” Without hesitation, he confidently responded, “God no! Please don’t think this has anything to do with you.” I felt an instant wave of relief that came with a mountain of questions. He explained that a doctor diagnosed him with erectile dysfunction in college but that I was his first “long-term” relationship since then. He never had to talk about it before and although it was difficult for him, I could tell that the weight of it was lifting off his shoulders with every word.
  6. I did some research because I wanted to be supportive. If the tables were turned and I had a medical issue where I was as dry as the Sahara Desert down there, I wouldn’t want him to cut me like a bad habit. The fact of the matter is that men with ED are often shamed, blamed, and even made fun of. The constant worry that he won’t be able to do the one thing his partner expects of him in bed creates an intense amount of pressure. So, I started to reassure him. I told him that I just liked being naked with him. We traded sex for an intense massage. I constantly reassured him that he didn’t need to be “fixed” and that was the best thing he could hear.
  7. There’s a way to test if his ED is stemming from physical or psychological issues at home. While a visit to the doctor is preferred, there is a way to test for the cause of his erectile dysfunction at home. Simply attach a ring of postage stamps around the base of his penis. If the seal is broken in the morning (guys get a bunch of erections in their sleep, apparently), it suggests that you have a normal functioning penis and all signs point to a psychological issue.
  8. If your guy doesn’t have it now, there’s still a chance that he can get it. No penis is safe. It is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction to some degree. I guess women aren’t the only ones who suffer from aging.
  9. We didn’t work out but it had nothing to do with the ED. Things fizzled out eventually. Our relationship lasted about eight months and ended with mutual respect. We wanted very different things out of life and neither of us was willing to budge. Eight years later, a little bit of Facebook stalking showed that he is now married with two little ones. Clearly, ED didn’t get in the way of procreation.
Caitlyn is a freelance writer living in Washington D.C.