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October 1, 2018 | by  | in Talking With My Dad About Sex |
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Talking With My Dad About Sex

“Since ending a long term relationship last year I’ve had a few casual hook ups and have been struggling to get and stay hard. This was never a problem in my relationship, and I feel like I’m too young to be having these problems.

Should I see a doctor?”

Dad says: I have had a number of young men talk to me about this concern – their friends are banging anything that has a pulse and boasting about it, while they need to get to know someone before they feel comfortable being sexual with them. This can be a particularly fraught issue if you prefer to have sex with other men.
Going and seeing a doctor is not a bad idea. Erectile problems can be a warning sign of cardiovascular issues that, while very rare in young people, are worth eliminating from the picture. However, if you are getting normal erections in the morning and can maintain an erection when you masturbate, then it’s likely that the problem is not medical.

Assuming a medical issue isn’t the case, then you have to think about what works for you sexually. There is still a widely held belief that all men (especially young men) are up for sex anytime, anywhere, anyhow, with anyone. That men have no interest in emotional connection, just how often they can get their end away. That may be true for some, but it’s also not the case for many men.
Yet because being indiscriminate in our choice of sex partners is somehow associated with masculinity (don’t get me started on rape culture), these men are often not talking to their friends and think there’s something wrong with them.
You’re allowed to like the kind of sex that you like – and if that happens to be “with someone I’ve gotten to know”, then I would encourage you not to see that as a deficiency.


Lena says: If you have gone and got things checked out, just in case, and you’re in the clear, it might be a good chance to really think about if your current sex life is right for you at this moment. If you continue to have more casual hook ups, and experience issues with erections, it’s likely that you’re anxieties around getting hard could become worse — which will exacerbate any erection issues that are already occurring.
It’s really beneficial to be able to step back if you feel like your sexual encounters are beginning to make you feel negative afterwards, and are only adding to your anxieties around sex. If this is the case, taking a break from more casual encounters might be best for now. You could also do some of your own research this way by starting to look for a more serious partner again, and seeing if being in a more committed and intimate relationship does actually prevent you from experiencing erectile dysfunction. You might just be someone who does need an emotional connection to your partner in order to feel totally comfortable and present, which is not abnormal, as Dad mentioned. Being both comfortable and present are key for you to be able to be fully aroused, and therefore maintain an erection.
A lot of the time working out preferences like this does take some trial and error, but don’t be hard on yourself if certain things don’t work for you – even if they may be the things you’ve been told you should desire. Experiencing these issues may just mean you learn that sex with a committed partner is what you enjoy the most, and that’s cool.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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