I lose my erection with condoms

Does whipping out a condom make your erection vanish? Think this only happens to you? Think again...

Condoms with sad face

Give me back my erection you hard-on thief

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.

Am I the only one who can’t keep it up with condoms?

Listen. Carefully. This is so, so normal. Contrary to popular belief, men are not sexual robots marching around with massive boners pointing skyward, and condom-related erectile dysfunction is very common. The problem is menfolk aren’t particularly skilled at sharing their sexual hang-ups and you’re left thinking you’re the only man in the entire universe who has an erection adverse to rubber.

Dr Gillian Vanhegan, from Brook, says: “Men losing their erections when they put on a condom is really quite common. You’re not the only one. In fact, I’ve had three men come in about this only this week. But men 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 have your hard-on wilting like a damp dandelion. 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 men can just laugh it off. Whereas with other men 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.”

What can I do to get my erection back?

Loads. You are not destined for a life of dick-flop whenever you hear the word Durex. Treat yourself to a posh wank (masturbation with a condom) and practice 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.”

That’s not worked. What else can I do?

Don’t panic. This is the time where you ask for help, 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 get a good erection, get that condom on and have a successful time. It usually only takes one good experience to get your confidence back and break the cycle. But always get a prescription rather than buying the medicine yourself off the internet.”

My boyfriend 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 he feels about you. If you get him to open up and talk about it, he’ll tell you that himself.

Number two. Don’t be whiny 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: “Men 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 him 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.”

Photo of condoms by Shutterstock

Next Steps

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015