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Betrayed by Your Penis

Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 in News Release

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoI’ve completed one full year of health and wellness coaching appointments as of this month! Congratulations to me. However, in light of June being Men’s Health Awareness Month – this article is about the most common sexual health related issue that young men have come to see me about: Erectile Dysfunction, or ED. More often than not young men come to my office reporting some sort of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection to ejaculation or orgasm.

When I get a little deeper into the conversation with students who come to see me for erection concerns they are often embarrassed and think they are the only person on campus experiencing difficulty achieving erections. Rest assured you are not alone! According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5% of all erectile dysfunction cases are in young men ages 20 -39. Shocking, right?

You would think ED is something that only happened to older men, certainly not young college men. However, regardless of age if your sexual response cycle is interrupted it may result in a flaccid or soft penis. There are 3 things – or steps if you will – that must happen for a man to achieve and maintain an erection through orgasm and ejaculation. The first step is sexual desire. Do you have the desire to be sexual? Let’s assume that many of the young men at UC Berkeley do possess such desire. When sexual desire is present and something arouses that desire it needs to be communicated. As such, the brain communicates your sexual desire to your genitals. This communication step will activate an increase in the flow of blood to the penis. Lastly, blood vessels in the penis have to relax to allow the excess blood to flow in causing an erection. Anything that interrupts this cycle may cause your penis not to become erect.

While some issues of ED are due to a medical reason some of the more common factors interrupting the sexual response cycle in my experience with students at UC Berkeley include:

  • Stress (academic, personal, and future) – stress often has a negative impact on many areas of health – sex drive and function included. As you may be aware, UC Berkeley is a rather challenging and competitive academic institution. It makes perfect sense that your penis may not want to get and stay hard when you’ve got a big exam to study for.
  • Mixed or ambiguous messages about relationships, sex, and/or intimacy during childhood – Many of the students I meet often disclose some sort of difficulty reconciling messages regarding when to have and with whom it is okay to have sex received from multiple and varied sources. Parents tend to have a very different message than friends, peers, or what is shown in the media.  For example, if your parents raised you to believe that sex should only happen within the context of marriage or a committed relationship, it may be hard (no pun intended) to achieve an erection with someone you do not have any feelings for.  Students describe this to me as being betrayed by their bodies.
  • Alcohol – alcohol tends to be a recurring factor. Though young people use alcohol to help navigate social interactions, it is actually a depressant. Think of it this way, too much alcohol and your penis may get depressed so to speak…

What can you do if you are a young male experiencing difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection? Try masturbating. If you are able to achieve and maintain an erection to orgasm or ejaculation your penis issue is likely mental and not medical. You just have to find out what is making your penis a little shy then give it a confidence booster.  Here are 5 quick suggestions:

  1. If you find that you are able to get hard to masturbate try simulating the same rhythm and motion with your partner.
  2. Consider adding fantasy to your sexual tool box. Fantasies help stimulate sexual arousal. The good thing about fantasies is no one knows you’re doing it or what you’re fantasizing about.
  3. Only have sex when you are ready to do so AND with someone you feel comfortable with. Insane, I know! You do NOT have to have sex just because you think other people are.  Sex within the context of a healthy relationship or with someone you care for is likely to increase the likelihood of your penis getting hard when you want it to. This is due in large part to communication within the context of relationships and friendships.
  4. Give yourself permission NOT to have sexual intercourse, but rather to have a good enjoyable time with others.  This will help eliminate pressure to perform sexually. There are many other intimate experiences you can have such as a PG-13 or NC17 make-out session, or exploring your partner’s body with your mouth or hands, for example.  If sex does happen, well you got even more lucky! This tip is especially helpful during periods of high stress that may increase the likelihood of your penis not becoming erect when you want it to.
  5. Don’t have sex under the influence of alcohol. Doing this will allow you to experience every pleasurable sensation while increasing the chance that your penis will get and remain erect.

If you are a UC Berkeley student and would like more tips and suggestions for increasing the chances that your penis will get hard when you’re ready for sex, feel free to schedule a health and wellness coaching appointment at the Tang Center. If you are not a UC Berkeley student feel free to email me for additional tips and suggestions. Until next time…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at

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