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    7 Things That Can Mess With Your Boner

    This week's Sex Q&A is all about the missing boner.

    Welcome to the BuzzFeed Sex Q&A where you can ask us your awkward, confusing, gross, embarrassing, or thought-provoking questions, and we'll provide answers from leading sexual health experts. Have a question about sex or sexual health? Send it to sexQs@buzzfeed.com.

    This week's question:

    Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    I'm a college guy who has only had sex a handful of times, and I've noticed a bit of a reccurring issue. During any foreplay and all that good stuff, I have a nice big erection, but as soon as I'm about to stick it in, the erection disappears like a frightened turtle. Then once the 30 seconds of embarrassing made-up explanations concludes, the erection is back.

    My fear of this happening has prevented me from getting with girls who aren't randoms in fear that they'll tell people about it. I've been thinking that maybe I should pop a Viagra or something the next time I think I'm gonna get lucky, just to build my confidence a bit, but that's really my last resort. Is there any advice you guys might be able to give me here?

    Thanks,

    The Frightened Turtle

    Thanks for your question, Frightened Turtle! To help answer it, we spoke with Dr. Darius Paduch, urologist and male sexual medicine specialist at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and sex therapist Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado. Here's what they had to say:

    SO many men — not just those over 40 — deal with some form of erectile dysfunction (ED) at least some of the time.

    Disney / Via disney.tumblr.com

    Try not to freak out; you and your penis are totally normal. There are a ton of different things that can affect your ability to get and maintain an erection, so we've listed a bunch of those below.

    1. It's most likely psychological. Like your head is getting in the way of your... other head.

    TeenNick / Via weheartit.com

    "It's a really common thing I see in my office," says Skyler. "It's not like typical erectile dysfunction because their penis works when they masturbate and until they get to penetration. So it's not a biological or physiological issue. That's when men know to come to sex therapy because something is getting in the way psychologically."

    Any kind of anxiety, stress, pressure, or uncertainty ("Hm, do I actually want to be sleeping with this person?") can interfere with your erection, says Skyler. And when that happens once, it can create this horrible self-fulfilling prophecy where you're so worried about it happening again that it does happen again... and again, and again.

    So how do you break that cycle?

    2. Maybe you just had a little too much to drink.

    Artlite / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com

    Whiskey dick happens, says Skyler. If you're already nervous and picking up random partners at parties or bars, you might also be calming your nerves and upping your confidence with gin and tonics. Maybe don't do that.

    Alcohol is a depressant and it has a tendency to screw with your boner, so if you're typically drinking before these hookups, that could be the issue. And again, even if this just happened once, the anxiety of it happening again could be what's making your boner disappear every other time, says Skyler.

    3. You might just be generally sleepy or stressed.

    4. Maybe you're not super into what's going on right now.

    5. Or you might be missing the specific stimulation or force you use during masturbation.

    Laura Cruise Photography / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com

    A lot of men masturbate with too much speed or grip, which can desensitize you over time, says Paduch. The problem is, you can't really get that same sensation during IRL penetration. If this sounds like you, try switching up your masturbation technique or using your non-dominant hand.

    6. Your testosterone could be low for any number of reasons.

    7. Or boner problems could be a sign of another health issue.

    So... should you pop a Viagra?

    Felix E. Guerrero / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: loauc

    You're right that this should be a last resort, but Paduch also agrees that sometimes a little confidence can help you get back on track. The thing is, you should only take an ED medicine if it's prescribed by your doctor (otherwise you'll miss out on the important medical info you should know before you take it). Another option is an l-arginine supplement, which can increase nitric oxide and blood flow.

    "Fear of failure is such a powerful negative factor in sex," says Paduch, who sometimes prescribes ED meds to younger guys having this issue. "Once they see they can get an erection, they're not going to need it."

    But again, you probably don't need a medication. If this is just an occasional issue, start with some of the tips up at the top of this list and work your way down. Then check with your doctor if you think you need a little more help.

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