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Can’t Get Hard? 10 Reasons Why Your Penis is Being a Total Dick

Nothing’s more embarrassing than when you’re in the harbor but can’t get the sails up. Here are 10 reasons why you can’t get hard.

can't get hard

Picture this: you have the girl of your dreams laid out before you. You’re kissing and things are getting hot and heavy. There’s just one problem: you can’t get hard. Your thoughts quickly turn from “this is amazing” to “this is a disaster,” and before you know it, the story of your floppy dick is making its way down your lover’s social circle. That is if she’s an insensitive gossip. Either way, not being able to get a boner when the time is right is beyond embarrassing.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that 52% of men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Now before you wave it off and exclaim how you won’t have to worry about this until you’re in your 70s, it may horrify you to know that the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports one in four erectile dysfunction patients is under 40 years old.

Rest assured that when it comes to troubles in the bedroom and a disobedient penis, you’re definitely not alone.

Why you can’t get hard

Whether it’s a hook-up or a long-time partner, penis problems can crop up to ruin your night at any time for any number of reasons. That’s why we’re looking into penis problems 101 and the top 10 reasons why your penis is being a total dick. Here are the reasons you can’t get hard.

#1 Stress and troublesome thoughts. Stress is one of the number one culprits in why you can’t get hard. In this case, wondering how you’re going to pay your bills, what’s wrong with your relationship, and what stick your boss has up his rear aren’t exactly a turn on for getting an erection.

It’s certainly easier said than done, but the best solution for this stiffy problem is to relax and remove unneeded stress from your life. Vacation, anyone? [Read: Why does losing an erection bother men so much?]

#2 Physically exhausted. If you’ve been cranking it at the gym, haven’t been sleeping well, or you’ve been working your ass off at your job, getting tangled up with your lover for even more physically demanding activities may not sound ideal. Physical exhaustion has a direct effect on your ability to get aroused. The only fix for this one is to get some rest.

#3 You’re not having enough sex. The more sex you’re having, the less likely you are to suffer from erectile issues. The American Journal of Medicine reports that men who had sex once *or more* a week were less likely to have issues getting and maintaining an erection. So, not having sex is actually one of the reasons you can’t get hard. [Read: 13 ways to have better sex and change the way you make love]

#4 You’re just plain turned off. It happens. Whether it’s the weight your partner has put on, the realization that you’re having period sex, or you’re just not getting what you need in the bedroom, at some point in your life, you’re going to be turned off enough to lose *or be unable to attain* your hard-on. [Read: Not attracted to your girlfriend anymore? The why and the fixes]

#5 Too much porn. Studies suggest that over time, an over-exposure to porn can actually hinder your ability to stay hard and even enjoy sex. We’re not talking willy-nilly porn watching, guys. We’re talking gotta-have-it porn addiction. In a Men’s Journal article, Dr. Elizabeth Waterman relates how watching porn releases dopamine in men’s brains.

Over time, these dopamine receptors become dull and men need harder, more graphic porn to be turned on. Then the dopamine receptors are so dull that men are unable to keep an erection and frequently find themselves uninspired by a real life partner.

#6 It’s performance anxiety. Many men suffer from performance anxiety, and that’s another reason you can’t get hard. Simply put, you’re too nervous to get your dick up. And that’s okay, it happens! This is likely to happen if you haven’t had sex in a while or if you’re starting up with a new partner. Sex is supposed to be fun, but worrying over your prowess between the sheets can make sex the exact opposite of what’s it’s supposed to be. [Read: 13 ways to overcome sexual anxiety and perform]

#7 You’re way too distracted. It’s not exactly sexy to try and screw while your newborn/parents/relatives/friends are perched in the next room. If you’re distracted by a loud TV, knocks at the door, or your phone going off while you’re trying to go down on your partner, it’s going to make it an aggravating sexual experience. Not exactly ideal grounds for getting an erection.

#8 You’re drunk as a skunk. It’s awkward. You’re drunk and you can’t get hard. And you’re  desperately trying to shove that floppy penis inside your partner. That visual is about as appetizing as the actual experience. The truth is that alcohol can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Engaging in alcoholic beverages before sex causes dehydration in a man’s body, which leads to less blood volume, which leads to one embarrassing lack of an erection. This is because drinking causes the angiotensin hormone to rise, AKA the same hormone that causes erectile dysfunction. [Read: 10 sober reasons why drunk sex is never a good idea]

Thanks again, booze. Why are we getting shit-faced before getting down and dirty anyway? Another study showed that 11% of participants who drank alcohol before sex had trouble reaching orgasm.

If you’ve had a few too many tonight and can’t seem to get hard, take it as a sign that your last rum and Coke was one too many.

It should also be noted that chronic alcoholics often end up with erectile dysfunction and frequently can’t get hard, and not just for one drunken night. Damage to the liver can cause irregular hormone distribution which can lead to both sterility and impotence. Ouch!

#9 Smokers hell. Bad stimulants such as smoking cigarettes may be having a negative impact on more than just your lungs. That’s right, smoking may lead to a lazy penis. One study shows that 40% of men that suffer from erectile dysfunction are smokers. The good news is that 75% of men reported erectile issues disappear after quitting smoking. What better motivation to quit smoking than having amazing sex? [Read: How to keep an erection up for longer in 20 ways]

#10 Medication. Suffering from an illness, and now you’re on antibiotics or an over-the-counter cold medicine? Awesome! You’re on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, your penis may suffer the consequences of you getting better. For now, at least.

Certain medications can be another reason why you can’t get hard. Other medications such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication may have lifelong effects on your ability to get a boner. If you’re taking medication for the long-term, you may want to talk to your doctor about their nasty side effects.

[Read: What do women really think about your penis?]

The moment that you can’t get hard may feel like one of the worst in your life, but this too shall pass. Chalk it up to an “it happens,” and take comfort in knowing you’re definitely not alone.

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Waverly Smith

Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...

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