Erection Issues with Open Relaitonships? Here’s Why

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about open relationships and the transition to them from monogamy. We address a number of topics in my private Facebook group, and one that was important to address was the issue of erection problems.

In my practice as a therapist specializing in sex and healthy relationships, I have seen numerous couples and individuals who struggle with erection problems. There is no standard for people – regardless of age, men or women can be multi-orgasmic, while others are one and done. I’ve seen young men in their mid 20’s suffer from erection issues, as well as men in their 60’s with none, and visa-versa.

Unfortunately, many partners try to “deal” with erection issues by trying to force something to happen, such as performing oral sex. Others give up, and can take the issue personal, assuming their partner has lost interest.

This often has nothing to do with the lover, but rather the person themselves.

Erections are not within a man’s conscious control. Just as a woman’s natural lubrication doesn’t happen on demand, neither does an erection. If and when erection issues happen, there are a lot of factors behind why that is happening – don’t try to force it.

Reasons for Erection Issues


Sometimes lifestyle changes can make an impact on sexual function. High levels of stress, illness, and even lack of sleep or water can make a difference. Medication changes are a huge culprit as well. Consider healthy lifestyle changes such as reducing or eliminating smoking and alcohol intake and choosing a wide variety of healthy foods and incorporating more movement and exercise.

Blood Flow

Blood flow to the penis can cause erectile issues and can be causes by several factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and aging. Talk to your medical doctor about medications you are taking that can have unwanted side effects, including erectile dysfunction.

It’s important to note that ED can be a sign of cardiac issues, so seeing a doctor is an important first step. Your doctor may change your medication, offer a prescription for erection medication, or refer you to a Urologist for additional options.


Low testosterone levels can also affect erections. Growing research in the area of men’s hormones is helping to address issues of low testosterone, but it is important to see your Urologist for proper treatment. Testosterone levels being too high can have a negative impact on behavior, so a correct balance is important.

Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is common for men who have a change in sexual partners or experiences. Going from a monogamous relationship to an open one could make this issue more prevalent and cause them to feel embarrassed. This feeling tends to compound with each experience, as fear of it happening again, often keeps the cycle going.

A therapist specializing in sex, relationships and healthy sexual expression can help either an individual, couple or other pairings to understand the issues behind the fear and help remove the blocks to get back to the sexual appetite they desire.

Men’s Sexual Health

It’s important to note that sex is like a buffet – there is a variety of ways to experience it. Erection issues aren’t the end of your sex life.  You still have an imagination, hands, mouths, and toys to use to help.

Sometimes it is difficult to determine what the root cause of erection issues are because sometimes they overlap. Start with your medical doctor and go from there. It may take a few visits to different providers to find the solution you uniquely need.

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