Find out what sexual health experts think about sex positions and other techniques that could help men overcome ED.
Erectile dysfunction is common and not necessarily abnormal. The likelihood of ED increases with age and it can result from both psychological and physical causes. If you have trouble getting or maintaining an erection less than one in five times, it is probably nothing to get too upset about. If you’re having trouble more than half the time, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options for impotence.
“Sexual function in men starts to decline at about age 40, not at age 70,” says David Schnarch, PhD, clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist, and best-selling author of Intimacy & Desire. “You can’t be successful all the time at sex, but that doesn’t mean you just roll over and give up. Don’t become afraid of what you might fail at.”
The Opinions on Sex Position
“Physically, having a successful erection is about getting a good blood supply to the penis,” says Michael Feloney, MD, urologic surgeon and expert on sexual dysfunction issues at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “I don’t know of any studies that show one sex position is better than another, but it would make sense that a sex position that uses a lot of your big muscles and requires a lot of acrobatics will require more blood flow and could take away blood from your erection.”
Traditionally, doctors concerned about blood flow during sexual intercourse have recommended a sex position with the woman on top. However, actual studies that measured blood flow and heart rate during intercourse did not find this position to be any better than others. Schnarch believes that how you adjust your emotional attitude about sex is much more important than the sex position you choose. “If you don’t approach erectile dysfunction as an opportunity to get beyond the idea of sex as a performance and start to work on more important aspects of sex like desire and intimacy, the sex position you choose is not going to matter very much,” Schnarch says.
Working Through Erectile Dysfunction
The best advice on sexual positions is to use common sense and find positions that are comfortable for you and your partner. The following tips may improve the experience for both of you:
- Increase sexual excitement. “There are lots of other ways that a man can achieve an orgasm and give his partner an orgasm without using his penis,” advises Schnarch. “Use your fingers, your mouth — use your imagination. For many men with erectile dysfunction, a mutual form of masturbation may be easier and more pleasurable than traditional sexual intercourse.”
- Find the right place and time. “Choose a place and time to have sex where you can feel relaxed and unhurried. Don’t rush into sex or try to have sex when you are overtired or anxious,” says Dr. Feloney.
- Be comfortable. If your room is too cold or you can’t get comfortable in bed, you will have a harder time sustaining good blood flow and maintaining an erection. Try taking a hot shower together before sex to get relaxed and get your blood flowing better.
- Watch what — and how much — you drink. A little alcohol can relax you and may enhance your sexual experience, and that can be good for erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, too much alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction. You should also avoid caffeine and nicotine before sex, since both of these drugs constrict blood vessels, which can increase erection problems.
The bottom line on sex positions and erectile dysfunction is that there is no single best position guaranteed to work for everyone. Find sex positions that are right for you and focus on creating a comfortable, stress-free sexual environment. Working with your partner to enhance your intimacy and desire is the secret to more exciting sex.