Even though it has become a more commonplace topic than in the past, talking about erectile dysfunction is undeniably difficult. Living with it? Even more so. Many guys, understandably, feel that some portion of their masculinity is tied to their sexual performance. And so experiencing difficulty with erections can turn into both a physical and mental struggle. But listen: You might feel that your masculinity is tied to your erection, but it isn’t. Erectile dysfunction does not lessen you as a man or mean that you have failed your partner.
It is a far more common problem than you might think. Nearly all men have difficulty with erections on occasion, and as many as 30 million men experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Erectile issues stem from a very long list of causes and effect young and older men alike. So we think it just makes sense for guys to have some ideas for how you will enjoy sex even if you experience difficulty with your erection. ED shouldn’t—and won’t—stop you from having great sexual experiences with your partner.
There are a number of ways to deal with erectile dysfunction, and the most familiar solutions are the ones often advertised on TV—pills or pumps or injections. And while these can be effective for many men, they may not be an option for everyone. You may be looking for a different way to have fulfilling sexual experiences with erectile dysfunction. And a great place to turn is to sex toys.
But First, Start with Open Dialogue
We mention communication often in this blog (and for good reason!), but it’s particularly important to talk about erectile issues. It’s also, of course, particularly difficult to do so. Even though the subject is more public than it used to be, we still understand that erection trouble and erectile dysfunction can be acutely psychologically painful. That’s why the symptoms of erectile dysfunction include the depression and anxiety that can accompany trouble getting or maintaining an erection. It can feel so cyclical, right? The stress and worry about getting an erection makes it all that much more difficult to actually happen, and then the feelings of disappointment fuel the next round of anxiety.
While there’s no ‘quick fix’ for breaking that cycle, discussion that leads to positive, fulfilling sexual experiences (erections not required!) is a good start. Sex with erectile dysfunction may be a sensitive topic to some, but it’s a necessary discussion between partners who want to remain intimate and sexual. Here are some things to keep in mind for both partners:
- Choose a Relaxed Moment: The time to have a constructive or lengthy chat about erectile dysfunction is not right after it has occurred. Whether you are experiencing ED or it is your partner experiencing symptoms, you should choose a low-stress time to talk about the topic. Discussing it outside of the bedroom can also lessen the sense of pressure.
- Reassure Your Partner: It’s easy to get caught up in your anxieties when you have ED, but you should remember that your partner might also need reassurance. Tell them that you are still attracted to them and excited for sexual experiences with them. If it’s your partner with ED, remind them that their erection doesn’t define their whole sexual identity.
- Make a Plan Together: Since ED can sometimes feel so isolating, you can empower yourself by tackling the issue as a team. An open line of communication and a plan to have satisfying sex regardless of whether an erection occurs will give you both more tools to deal with the issue.
Toys for Sex with ED
When it comes to toys and aids, there’s a variety of options for erection troubles. Some toys will help you maintain and strengthen your erection. Others can simulate an erection for you during sex. And there are other toys still that will help you and your partner stoke intimacy and have fulfilling sexual experiences outside of intercourse.
Toys to Enhance or Maintain Erections
Cock Ring: If you are able to become erect but have trouble maintaining that erection, or if you don’t feel confident that your erection is firm enough for sex, a cock ring or a harness with a cock ring (where you can swap between dildo and penis as needed) can be a simple and inexpensive boost for feeling more confident in your erections. Cock rings will increase pressure and the feeling of fullness and can make sensations more intense for some men.
- Anal Beads: Anal play can stimulate erections in many men, and may even alleviate some of the effects of erectile dysfunction. Try stimulating your anus with beads or a butt plug and see if leads to fuller erections and more intense orgasms.
Strap-Ons for Penetrative Sex without an Erection
- Thigh Strap-On: A thigh strap-on wraps around your leg and pairs with a dildo. This is a great option for seated sex with erectile issues. Seated sex requires a firm erection because a lot of the pressure of grinding is against the penis. With a thigh strap-on, you can double or triple the pleasure of the sex. Your partner can grind on your thigh, leaving you both with your hands completely free for hand jobs, for playing with each other’s nipples, for pulling your partner’s hair… the possibilities are endlessly fun.
- Everlaster Hollow Dildo: This toy’s harness fits snugly around your waist and the dildo fits directly over your penis—and for that reason, it’s a popular option for couples who want to maintain the familiar feel and motion of their intercourse. A partially erect or flaccid penis can fit into a hollow dildo, which is strong enough to support sex but has enough give to mimic the feel of a natural penis.
But there are other paths to sex and intimacy with ED that don’t require a strap-on or involve the penis at all. For couples willing to reimagine what intercourse can look like, there are plenty of toys and activities for stimulating, passionate sex.
- Vibrators and Dildos: Dildos, of course, are for more than just masturbation. Couples can incorporate a dildo into their intercourse, and both partners can use the dildo to please one another. Some men like to use the mini vibe externally to stimulate their anus for an erection (like we have suggested above with anal beads and butt plugs). You can also use the mini vibe, or a full vibrator, to stimulate and satisfy your partner—lean back and enjoy the view of your partner that this different approach presents.
- Stimulation Play: Sex certainly doesn’t need to be penetrative. Remember that there are dozens of toys that will help you stimulate, arouse, and climax without any need for penetration. The light, playful touch of toys like a tickler or a pleasure feather dramatically heighten arousal and sensation across your body’s many erogenous zones. And if you want to play harder? A flogger, a crop, a whip, or a slapper are for rougher teasing and spanking.
Sex with ED Can Still Satisfy
We know that erectile dysfunction can make you feel isolated and lacking in options, but by now we also hope you are starting to see that issues with erections shouldn’t keep you and your partner from amazing sex. Your erection is only one component of sex and, more than that, only one aspect of your sexual identity. Planning and a healthy dialogue with your partner will help you see that there are products out there to help you strengthen your erection, aids which can replicate an erection, and toys which can help you enjoy sex beyond penetration. However you approach sex with ED, work every day towards doing so with less shame, less anxiety, and more confidence—satisfying sex is still very much a part of your life.