Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote

Angelo Pezzote
 Keeping An Erection
 and Is It All About Sex?

 By Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT (MFC41291), NCC

Dear Angelo,

I often lose my erection. What can I do?

Signed, Limp

Dear Limp,

Have no shame! You are not alone. Almost all men know what this is like. Sex is powerful and it can bring up a lot of vulnerability. Here are some suggestions.

Overall, find ways to relax in your life. Anxiety is a top erection killer. Free yourself from performance pressure. During sex, rather than focusing on your stellar performance, redirect your attention to your partner. Move outside of yourself and get into him. Ask him what he wants and focus on pleasing him. This can help decrease self consciousness and lower nervousness.

Know that erections naturally come and go. Give yourself permission to lose your erection during sex. Losing an erection need not mark the end of sex. Make it part of the overall sexual experience. It will come back again. Losing your erection does not mean you are less of a man. I'll say that again. Losing your erection does not mean you are less of a man. If you're still nervous, talk about it with your partner. Get your fear out in the open. This lessens it's power and can make all the difference. Sex need not be an event. Make sex a mutual experience without manly expectations so no one person feels the pressure to be hard 24/7.

Try regular exercise (after checking with MD). It improves erections. Smoking, recreational drugs and alcohol lessen anxiety, but they make it harder to get and keep an erection. Investigate and rule out physical causes. Talk to your MD about medication like Viagra if needed.

Be good to yourself. Have compassion for yourself if this happens to you. Lastly, have compassion for your partner if this happens to them. It does not mean you are unattractive or that they are unattracted to you. Keep in the back of your mind that things like intimacy fears, relational discord and childhood abuse from someone trusted can make sex threatening for many. A shriveled penis can be a way for the unconscious to keep you safe even with your beloved.

Dear Angelo,

I have found it very hard to find relationship oriented gay guys. Why? Is it just me?

Signed, Tired Of It All

Dear Tired Of It All,

This is best answered by a compilation of letters I receive from today's gay man. The compilation is as follows:

"I'm a good looking normal guy fairly new to the gay scene and from what I've been through so far, seems to be mostly hooking up going on. I try and I can't seem to find a healthy lasting relationship. I think why gay men don't want relationships is because they are always looking for the next hottie that comes along. Or they are such judgemental perfectionists that nobody's good enough for them. Or they are too full of themselves for anyone else. It's either how much do you have or what can you do for me, not to mention your youthful beautifulness. I often feel depressed, empty, lonely or angry. So many of the gay guys I know feel the same things I do, or to avoid it they abuse drugs and alcohol."

"As gay men, how are we ever going to convince the general public, not to mention the right wing wackos, that we are serious about gay marriage? What floors me is that there has never been more ways to meet other gay men. The internet, gay groups, sports leagues, political groups, personal ads and the old ways such as the bars. But so much of our lives revolve around the bars/clubs/sex. "

"Where does the "real people" line start? I want to be first in line. Anybody bowl, read, travel, talk? Seems I hit the wrong mark alot. They like me but I don't like them. Or I like them but they don't like me. Or they just totaly lie about themselves. Is it just me?"

"I thought it would be easy to form relationships because of the commonality of gay community. But gay men treat each other like shit. I dont get gay men. I knew that being gay was going to be tough. I did not know I would be spending my life alone. I can't think of a time in my life that I have been more depressed than right now. (Well, maybe coming out early when school turned into a nightmare.) I've tried the anti-depressant route. I'm not sure what else to do. This is so lonely - and I did everything I was supposed to. I came out early. I was honest with my family. I work, go to gym, go out. And I'm still alone. Why? Because I don't do drugs or drink, or lie about being out - some of these 'straight acting' guys won't meet you because you're out."

You are not alone and there is hope. I help many men with such concerns in my private practice in NYC and LA as well as through weekly phone consults worldwide. As a community, we have a responsibility to address this issue (disconnection from each other) head on. It starts with examining masculinity issues as gay MEN. We have done the "gay" part of "gay men," now it's time for the "men" part to be explored.


Angelo Pezzote, MA, LMFT, NCC

The Gay Man's Therapist

For Today's Gay Man

Would you appreciate a safe, supportive environment to talk about personal concerns? Get useful tools from a specialist who understands. Visit


Angelo Pezzote, MA, All Rights Reserved


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