Can’t Get it Up? Maybe You’re Thinking Too Much ft Daniel Sher

Aug, 03, 2022

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Have you and your partner ever been getting hot and heavy, and things seem to be progressing swimmingly, but nothing seems to be happening down south for your partner?

Then you notice their body and movements become slightly more rigid and calculated.

As if they are trying to make something happen because what is supposed to be happening is not happening.

Suddenly they are pulling away from you and become focused on the fact that they can’t get it up, and you are sitting there wondering if you should put your clothes on and leave because it seems to be an intimate moment that you are no longer apart of.

Well, that’s the hard truth of what happens with erectile dysfunction. The moment has gone soft because your partner is still soft.

But luckily, there may be a new way to fix this situation, and all it will take is being present.

Why You Can’t Get It Up

Before we can get into how to fix the issue of erectile dysfunction, let’s first discuss why you’re struggling in the first place.

Erectile dysfunction tends to be a result of psychological distress.

Sexual Performance Anxiety

When you become anxious during sex, your fight or flight response system is triggered.

And why does this make it hard for you to…well, get hard?

It’s because your brain is telling your body that it’s in danger, so what your body does is draw away blood from “unessential organs” such as your genitals.

It takes this blood and pumps it into more essential organs necessary for survival, and despite our phallic-obsessed culture, your dick is not a priority for your survival.

No blood = no erection.

But worse, once this happens, it tends to happen again. It’s a vicious cycle called the “Performance Anxiety Feedback Loop” or the “Performance Anxiety Cycle.”

Once a penis owner experiences one case of erectile dysfunction, it just keeps happening.

And this is not due to any disease but due to your negative thoughts and anxiety from the previous experience of not being able to get it up.

You had one experience of not being able to get hard, so when presented with the same situation, you become preoccupied with all of these negative anxiety-provoking thoughts from the previous experience, and then you experience erectile dysfunction again.

Thus the Performance Anxiety Negative Feedback Loop is born.

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So to sustain an erection, you need to be aroused.

But if your body believes it’s in danger, then it will shut down the processes for sexy time.

Once that happens, and you notice that you can’t get it up, you get stressed.

Negative, anxious-filled thoughts about your impotence and inability to satisfy your partner swarm your head, causing your body to go into stress.

At this point, you are no longer present in the moment.

And now, the stress and anxiety you are feeling are wreaking havoc on your hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), and since you are more in your head than you are with your partner becoming aroused is a struggle. If there is no arousal, then there is no erection.

But not all hope is lost.

Related Article: Top 3 Ways To Get Comfortable With Your Genitals

What is Mindfulness?

Now you are maybe thinking, “Hey! I can just take a pill for this.”

Uh uh. It’s not that easy.

You have to deal with what’s happening in your head.

And this is where the practice of mindfulness can come in.

So what exactly does it mean to be mindful?

In essence, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, like being in the moment.

It means not “overanalyzing your feelings, or getting lost or carried away by thoughts” and fake scenarios in your head.

It’s something that everyone can do. You need to harness your ability to stay in the moment.

This meditation technique can help individuals who have erectile dysfunction.

It has been shown to “improve arousal and assist with an increase of sexual connection with self.”

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How Being Mindful Helps Erectile Dysfunction

By practicing mindfulness, you are essentially implementing the practice of being present in the moment.

When you can stay in the moment, you can get an erection because your body is not thinking it’s in danger due to your stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness meditations can cure erectile dysfunction since most causes of ED are triggered by sexual performance anxiety or stress.

Instead of thinking of what-ifs or worrying about the past or future, you are in the here and now. You are aware of what you’re sensing and feeling.

And when you are present, there is no room for anxiety and stress.

And what happens when we say goodbye to anxiety and stress….?

The blood returns to your penis, and bam! It’s sexy time!

Mindfulness meditations teach people to return their attention to the direct sensations instead of avoiding them, which is what people try to do when experiencing ED.

There is a belief that by distracting yourself from physical sensations in your body, you’ll be able to keep your erection or delay orgasm; however, it typically does the opposite.

You become too preoccupied with what’s in your head and stay there.

But apparently, that’s not all practicing mindfulness can help you with.

According to Daniel Sher, a clinical psychologist and sex therapy expert at the Between Us Clinic,

“Mindfulness has been shown to have a wide range of benefits for those who practice it regularly. Such benefits include improved relationships, better anger management, reduction of depression, improvements in concentration, reduced anxiety, and improved cardiovascular health. In addition, studies have demonstrated that mindfulness enables us to “rewire” certain brain networks in a way that produces good health outcomes.”

So it’s not just for performance anxiety in the bedroom.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

Like all good things, this also takes a little time to work.

According to an article by the Between Us Clinic, “practicing mindfulness can be difficult because our brains are used to going about their business in auto-pilot mode.

Seriously think about it. How many thoughts do you have during the day, and how often do your filter through them?

By implementing a daily practice of mindfulness mediation, “we start harnessing the power of brains, and instead of being in auto-pilot, we switch into a mindful mode of awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

For the treatment to be effective, it can take up to 4 to 8 weeks to work.

I know, I know!

It sounds like forever, but it’s a small scale of time for a long-lasting solution.

As Sher puts it, “mindfulness is a skill that needs to be practiced and developed. Start by practicing mindfulness outside of the bedroom.”

But I had to ask Sher what a person should do if the moment when someone is not able to get an erection while their partner is sitting there waiting because it’s happened to me before. 

A person I was hooking up with could not get an erection, and I was sitting there wondering if I should leave.

Sher states that mindfulness is powerful in these instances because it allows us to regain a sense of calm and break the vicious cycle that builds up between self-critical thoughts, performance anxiety, and erectile problems.

But at the moment when ED rears its ugly head (or doesn’t), the person should take a moment to quite simply by focusing on your breathe or performing a body scan. A brief interlude of this nature will help you lower your anxiety and regain erectile function. In addition, taking a break from penetrative intercourse and focusing on foreplay while practicing mindfulness is advisable.

Talking to Your Partner

If there is something I know about penis-owners is that they tend to be very prideful. This is because so much of their validation comes from their ability to have sex. So if someone is dealing with erectile dysfunction, how should they talk to their partners about their issues?

Well, Sher recommends good old fashion, clear and honest communication.

He states that it is crucial to try to name the emotions that you feel in response to your ED and help your partner understand what it is like for you to have this difficulty.

This sort of communication is highly valuable for two reasons: first, the partners of people with ED often feel guilt and shame, imagining that they are the cause of the problem.

Naming the condition for what it is – erectile dysfunction – can put your partner’s mind at ease. Make it clear to them that they are not to blame.

The second benefit of communicating clearly and openly about your ED is that it creates an atmosphere of trust and transparency, which go a long way toward healing your difficulties, mainly when they are rooted in anxiety.

What You Can Do to Practice Mindfulness

I know this article was directed toward penis owners, but that doesn’t mean mindfulness practice is just for them.

“The principles of clear, open, and honest communication hold the universal benefit.” Sher stated, “anyone who communicates in this way stands to benefit, irrespective of sex or gender.”

I know that I will start implementing a daily mindfulness meditation routine. In and out of the bedroom, I’ve had instances where I am more preoccupied with the fake scenarios in my head than what is happening in front of me.

You can implement a mindfulness routine by using guided meditations or the assistance of a therapist” or using different mindfulness exercises such as “body scans, visualization exercises, breathing exercises, informal mindfulness practices.”

Practice 10-20 minutes a day for 4 to 8 weeks, and results will come.

erectile dysfunction

These mindfulness practices can be specific to erectile dysfunction or any other issues you are dealing with.

Related Article: How Antidepressants Can Change Your Sex Life

Don’t Let Your Emotions Control You

I know this is easier said than done.

But the practice of mindfulness is not only a “proven method to treating psychological erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety,” but like Sher said, “mindfulness enables us to “rewire” certain brain networks in a way that produces good health outcomes.”

And good health is the foundation for good, healthy sex life. 


  1. Between Us Clinic| Mindfulness Meditation for Erectile Dysfunction


Hi, I am Mia! I am Sex Education Enthusiast and I love bringing people the knowledge they need to make their sex lives better! I always preach that having a healthy sex life is a part of a healthy life overall.

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