Enjoying sex with erectile dysfunction

Siski Green / 15 October 2015

Can you really enjoy sex without an erection? It's definitely possible. Find out how.



Whether you’ve got problems getting an erection or you can get one but can’t keep it up, it can feel like the end of your sex life. And it is, in the sense that the sex life you’ve known up to this point is not the same as what you’ll experience if you continue to have erectile dysfunction. 

However, sex can be fulfilling and fantastic with or without an erection… and what’s more, by trying to have some kind of physical contact regularly, your erectile dysfunction symptoms are far more likely to dissipate or even disappear completely.

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Change your attitude

A good sex life doesn’t require a rock-hard erection. It’s not a joke, it’s true. The majority of women never orgasm via penetrative sex – according to research published in Psychology Today only 25% of women consistently reach orgasm during penetrative sex – and while they may enjoy it, it’s certainly not essential. 

Depending on the cause of your ED, it may or may not be a permanent state of affairs. Either way, however, keeping active in the sex department – with or without penetration – will be beneficial to your penile health and your emotional wellbeing.

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Sensuous touch

The skin is the body’s largest organ and it, like an orgasm, can trigger the release of feel-good hormones as well as the bonding hormone oxytocin. So take advantage of that ability and touch your partner often with bare skin contact. 

“Lying close to each other naked can be all it takes to help your body experience similar hormonal responses to those you feel during sex – not an orgasm, but feelings of sensual pleasure,” says Dr Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First. Importantly, this provides a manner of physical bonding when penetrative sex isn’t an option too.

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Open your mouth

Oral sex is a great option when penetrative sex isn’t but talking is even more important! So open up to your partner about what you’re feeling and going through.  “This is so important because often each person in a relationship blames themselves,” says Kerner. 

“A woman may feel she’s not attractive to her partner anymore, while a man may feel he is failing her as a man.” By being upfront and honest about what you’re feeling, you can work together to find other ways to enjoy each other’s bodies.

Extend your repertoire (and toolbox)

Use your fingers, your tongue and your mouth to provide pleasure to each other and make sure your partner knows that although you are unable to achieve a full erection, you still enjoy the sensation of being handled (see above). 

Give each other massages, have showers or baths together, and finally, consider investing in some sex toys. Vibrating toys and personal massagers can make simple touch feel more interesting and intense, and can also help you bring your partner to orgasm.

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Use it or lose it

The problem with erectile dysfunction is that it can be a vicious cycle – you suffer with problems getting an erection, so you avoid sex because you’re worried it’ll happen again. But in fact that’s the worst thing you can do, because regularly getting aroused will actually improve blood flow to your penis making it easier to get erections and making those erections stronger too. 

If, for whatever reason, sex is off the cards, take things into your own hands. In terms of improving blood flow, it doesn’t matter whether you are getting aroused via your partner or other means – the important thing is getting aroused!

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.