What to Do When Your Guy Loses His Erection

Perhaps you're mid-makeout session when you lower your hand for a sexy caress only to find no one is standing at attention. Or maybe you're minutes away from an orgasm, courtesy of your favorite woman-on-top position, when on your next thrust you realize his member has gone night-night.

Whether he's a new or long-term love, young or an older man, any guy can struggle to keep an erection sometimes, despite their best efforts. And while it may be a physical thing, emotional reasons can be to blame too. "It tends to be about performance anxiety or fear of commitment—i.e. that the sexual interaction will translate into an emotional intimacy they're not ready to take on," explains Jane Greer, Ph.D., sex expert and author of What About Me? How to Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. If you find yourself in this tricky situation, here's what to do.

First, remember that as frustrated or disappointed as you might be, your guy is likely ready to crawl under a rock. "Usually, they are really embarrassed—sometimes humiliated or ashamed," Greer says. "More often than not, they also feel uncomfortable or inadequate. And they can sometimes feel guilty that they were not able to perform and live up to their own expectations, as well as their partner's."

Step one: Express comforting words. "Simply say you understand and know it can happen to everybody," says Greer. "Turn it into a 'no big deal' situation, and connect physically in some other way." She suggests allowing your guy to please you in ways other than sex, or relieving his stress with physical, but not necessarily sexual, acts such as a shoulder massage. Just "don't make it an elephant in the room—something that's uncomfortable but not being talked about," Greer says.

Step two: Try again later. Once you've cleared the room of all those uncomfortable emotions—and taken a breather doing something else—you can try again. "Relaxing and doing something else will take the pressure off and disrupt the anxiety of it," Greer says. "Change gears with food, conversation, etc., and try again later that day or night."

Step three: Know when to fold. If it doesn't happen by now, it's time to move on entirely. "At that point, say you can just let it be and move on," Greer says. "Tell him you're looking forward to trying again the next time you're together."