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Cheybaby asks:

My boy friend is 15, has never had an erection and every time we want to have sex we can't. He thought it might be a medical problem but he asked the doctor and said no medical problem here. We have tried everything. The first thing we tried was dry humping and nothing happened and then I tried grinding him they say that can be very arousing but it didn't work. I let him look at porn and nothing happened. More suggestions?

Heather Corinna replies:

People tend to forget that young men often may not even be at the stage in their sexual development where erections happen often or easily or where they can yet ejaculate. Some guys are just starting puberty at 14 or 15. Your boyfriend simply may not be at this stage in his development yet.

But whether he is or is not, what I'm seeing here is a LOT of pressure from you on your partner to perform. I know that if I had a partner tossing porn at me with the tone of it being a directive to get it up on command for them, I'd not only be very unlikely to get aroused, but I'd feel more like a dog whipped to drive a sled than I would like a partner lovingly supported in my own sexual development and arousal.

Going nuts trying to make erection happen, tossing porn at him to try and make it happen...all of these things are absolutely going to feel like a strong message that he NEEDS to become erect or reach orgasm and that you feel he's not normal. And those kinds of pressures are often the biggest reasons why arousal, erection and/or orgasm won't happen.

In order for us to be aroused, we usually have to have a certain level of comfort and relaxation. If we feel like a partner needs something from us our bodies just won't provide -- no matter how much we also want them to -- or that our partner is frustrated with us, we are not going to be able to be comfortable and relaxed. We're instead going to be full of a lot of anxiety, and if he already is worried about the issue himself, you getting in a panic, too, is adding insult to injury.

Too, what's arousing for one person may or may not be for another. Sure, some people find grinding exciting: others don't. Some people are turned on by porn or some kinds of porn, while others find porn to be a turn-off. What's arousing and exciting for your partner isn't something you can give him, or someone else's ideas can provide: it's something he'll find out for himself over time, given the opportunities to explore various things in a safe environment. And chances are, he may well find that out for himself, by himself, before he finds it out with you, especially since there is a LOT less pressure when we're all alone with out own two hands and without a partner wanting something from us. It sounds like right now, he might be better off exploring sex through masturbation alone for a while before you two take it on the road.

In other words, to put it plainly, it sounds to me like you need to seriously back the heck off.

Whether or not he gets an erection or is aroused isn't really about you, it's about him. I'd take a look at why you need this from him so badly, since it sounds like it may be less about a concern for him and more about something you need to prove something to yourself. If he wants to look at porn, it's something he'll do for himself, and he neither needs your permission nor your guidance.

Why don't you also give him some room to express what he finds exciting, and also accept that just because he finds something sexual exciting or wants to explore something sexual, that doesn't mean he'll get an erection or have an orgasm. I'd also assure him that you care for him and like being with him no matter what his penis does or doesn't do, and I'd make clear that you're aware you've been exerting pressure and are going to commit to stopping. If he does want to engage in some forms of sex with you, work out what those are together and accept the present limitations without getting frustrated. He may also need the chance to initiate things himself, rather than have you presenting all of them as solutions to a "problem." (And suffice it to say, having any kind of sex have a tone of being a way to "fix" you doesn't tend to be very exciting for anyone.) His penis isn't the only sexual organ on his body, nor the only body part you two can have sex with. Both of your hands and mouths and the whole rest of your body can do lots of things, and he might also express enjoying contact with his penis, even if it doesn't result in erection or orgasm. Opening things up and making clear that you know sex isn't just about his penis will not only result in a more fulfilling sex life for both of you erection or not -- sex that's just about penises tends to get stale for both partners after a while -- but a more open and accepting environment with a lot less pressure. Too, if you think you need an erection from him for you to get off, because you haven't yet, know that more times than not, that isn't true, either: most women do not reach orgasm through intercourse alone.

How about making sure he even wants to be sexual right now in his life and with you? Sometimes, young women assume a double-standard that while women may not always be ready for partnered sex, young men always are, and that's just not true. If you have sexual needs that aren't being met because he or his body just aren't there yet, you both have your own two hands to take care of your body with, and you also aren't obligated to be in a sexual relationship with this person.

Given the hyperfocus you've both had on this, I think it might be good for both of you to step away from the sexual part of your relationship for a little while and invest more time and energy in the other parts of it: doing so is not only healthy overall, but it'll give you both more room to breathe when it comes to sex, and an environment to reconnect emotionally and develop more trust and comfort together.

Okay? Here are a few more links which might help you out:

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