Penis owners who struggle with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) often ask me, “What is wrong with my penis?”
My answer to them, which is often a surprise, is: “NOTHING! Nothing is wrong with your penis!”
I am not a penis owner and do not know what it means to have grown up with this organ, but many people tell me they feel loss when the penis does not “perform” the way they think it should.
Since birth, playing with their penis occurs all the time. This does not mean that they just masturbate all the time, but rather, that they touch it regularly.
For instance, every time they urinate they look directly at and touch their penis! Therefore, many penis owners say it is just an extension of themselves. They sometimes shift their penis or randomly scratch it. For them, touching their penis is not weird – it is just a natural way of life!
Penis owners often have a relationship with their penis that vulva owners unfortunately do not (a topic for another blog). In fact, society puts a lot of pressure on penis owners. That too is another conversation for another time, but I will say here: Why do we allow society to dictate so much how we should feel about our bodies, genitals, and sexual expression?
If we allow society to have the loudest voice on these topics, it really steals the joy of being a sexual, beautiful human being.
The problem with ED is that many feel insecure when a part of their body – in this instance, their penis – is not doing what they want it to do. Sex therapy can really help here because it can facilitate the dissection of thoughts, feelings, and messages penis owners get around sexual performance and their penis in general. Also, talking with a sex therapist who does relationship therapy (the two areas are such a rich combination) can help partners dialogue around sexual concerns so as to avoid shame, pain, and disappointment.
Folx who have ED should always talk to their doctors to rule out any health issues, but I would not run to get Viagra at the first sign of ED. That does not get to the root of the issue.
Oftentimes, penis owners have a time when they just cannot get an erection at all or only partially can, and as a result every other sexual encounter is filled with anxiety wondering if it could happen again. That pattern is really hard to break; however, helping them learn to be in their bodies and not in their minds (where the anxiety comes from) can facilitate penis owners to feel relaxed and sexually fulfilled.
Also, focusing less on penetration and more on the intimate level of connection helps folx enjoy sex a lot more! Oftentimes, that kind of approach to sexual expression has to be taught, challenged, and thought through; however, when folx can see sex as more than just a means to an end, intimacy can be transcendent!
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About Kimberly Castelo, LMFT-S, CST-S, CEFT-T, CEFT-S
Kimberly (she/her) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, and a Certified Integrated Intimacy Professional. She has a private practice that focuses on sex therapy, attachment, social justice, and couples work.
Kimberly is a Washington State Supervisor, an AAMFT Supervisor, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor and an EFT Supervisor-in-training. Kimberly also provides sex supervision through the Modern Sex Therapy Institute where folx train to be sexual educators and therapists.
Kimberly is a national speaker, speaking on topics of faith, sexuality, grief, coping with Multiple Sclerosis, high tone pelvic floor, menopause and more! She is a gifted teacher and emphasizes the freedom that comes from education!