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What's causing him to go flaccid during intercourse?

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My husband & I are 23 and healthy. The last few months he keeps going flaccid during intercourse. He has no trouble orgasming when masturbating. He has always taken much longer than average to ejaculate when having sex & would occasionally not finish, but lately it has been every time & occasionally he goes soft much quicker. He thinks it might be because he’s so use to how it feels with masturbation (which he’s done since around age 13, verses sex since 21). He even says that intercourse doesn’t always feel good anymore (not that it’s painful, just not pleasurable). I also wonder if it could be psychological. Early in our sexual relationship I had problems orgasming (I grew up not masturbating & we were each other’s 1st partners), I had pain during/after sex, & he felt BAD about this. It lowered both of our sexual self-confidences. But he/we patiently worked through my problems and now I orgasm regularly. What could be causing him to go flaccid during intercourse and what can we do?

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replied March 14th, 2011
Erectile Dysfunction Answer A20800

What your husband says about getting used to achieving orgasm with masturbation could be correct. It has been observed from a number of studies and reports that the sensory system responsible for maintaining erection and achieving orgasm can get habituated to one particular type of stimulation. And with masturbation, the stimulation can be adjusted according to the need. The skin and the tissue can get more and more habituated to the palms due to masturbation.

This can be the reason why he does not feel intercourse to be satisfying or stimulating.

With the additional information you provided about how both of you worked through your problem, it might be possible that he feels a pressure to perform. Earlier, he might be feeling guilty for not giving you an orgasm, but later on, he might have started thinking "he must perform or it will mean he's not good enough". This is a hypothesis I am putting forward. It may be wrong. But it's worth exploring.

There are a couple of other thoughts you may consider. The usual man on top position and the movements of the lower back (his), can send certain signals to the erectile tissue for ejaculation. And that's why we recommend a more passive position (lying on his back) for a man who has premature ejaculation problems. And even though your husband may not have premature ejaculation, he can certainly try a more passive position.

If all other causes are ruled out, and the problems is indeed due to the habituation to masturbation, there are ways to deal with it. You can read about Masters and Johnson's techniques. If possible, you might visit a trained Sex Therapist for more options. He might have to work on re-training his sensory system, by integrating masturbation with sexual intercourse. You can also read about 'Sensate Focus', a technique often used by couples with similar problem.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you need more information and help.

Best Regards

Abhijeet Deshmukh, MD

(This post is for the purpose of providing medical information and is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a doctor. This post is not intended to give or rule out a diagnosis, create a doctor-patient relationship or replace an existing one. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment options)

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