When Getting and Keeping an Erection Isn’t Happening

Erection, anger, argue AdobeStock_54812982 copyYou can’t turn on the TV or pick up a magazine today without being bombarded with the term, “Erection or Erectile Dysfunction.” The ads make it seem like if a man who suffers from this just takes a little blue pill, then everything will be fine. Well, that hasn’t been my experience. And from the posts and e-mails we receive here at Marriage Missions there are many marriages where the little blue pill didn’t “fix the problem.”

Ten years ago I would have never thought I would be writing an article on the topic of a man obtaining an erection. In fact, I couldn’t have imagined saying the words, “Erectile Dysfunction” out loud. Yet today it is a far more common problem men, and couples are facing in their marriages. And it’s not just “senior” men; it is affecting many younger men/couples as well.

Many Couples Deal With Erection Issues

In a poll that TodaysChristianWomen.com conducted a number of years ago, they discovered that 46 per cent of those who participated in the survey have dealt with this issue in their marriages.

Cindy and I wanted to approach this problem from a compassionate, biblical approach. We also want to offer some good counsel from a number of different perspectives. So, Cindy conducted a lot of research on the Internet. That’s where you’ll see several articles we link to below to help Christian spouses deal with the erection issue.

Our Story

Briefly, our story is that I’ve been an insulin dependent diabetic for the past 40+ years. I’ve been blessed that I haven’t had any major problems or complications. Thankfully, I am very healthy. However, over time, my diabetes started affecting my blood circulation, which has resulted in my inability to get and maintain an erection. I tried Viagra but found that it messed up my heart rhythm. For this reason, I stopped taking it. Cindy and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

That doesn’t mean our physical relationship stopped. It meant that we had to become more “creative.” I am so blessed to have Cindy as my wife and lover. She has never belittled me or made me feel like I’m “less of a man.” It’s quite the opposite. She has gone out of her way to build up my ego and esteem as her lover.

Articles to Help

Below are the articles Cindy found that best reflect our views on this subject. We hope they help you. Before you go any further, stop and pray for the Lord to reveal what it is He wants YOU to get out of these. Pray about how He wants you to apply them to your situation.

In the following linked article, it’s important to note that there are a few reasons why a man can’t obtain or maintain having an erection. To explore if this may be the reason this is happening in your situation, please click onto the following web site link to read:


Paul Byerly has written a great article on this subject. It’s one that we believe you could benefit from reading. Please read the following web based article concerning when a man is not able to get an erection:


And then finally concerning erection issues:

Here’s something my wife found in a Today’s Christian Woman article, written by Amy Swanson. It’s titled, “Keeping Love Alive.” In this article, Amy (not her real name) battled with the consequences of what it meant to her husband when his Diabetes and heart problems stole his ability to keep an erection. They tried one method after the other that the doctors presented to them as possibilities. But none worked. It was difficult for both of them.

Amy struggled with this in different ways —presenting this in prayer to the Lord. She didn’t understand why He created her to be a sexual being, and yet she and her husband now faced the fact that intercourse may never happen for them.

And then Amy wrote:

“One night, during those early months of Phil’s impotence, I so longed to be intimate with him that I quietly left our bed and went into the living room. Curled in a favorite chair I often used for solitary prayer, I wept at our loss of physical union. I genuinely grieved over the death of a vital part of our marriage and my life as a sexually active woman. I formed a prayerful question. ‘Why, God, would you invest so much in our marriage, teaching us so much about gracious love, only to allow the very expression of that love to be taken away?’ I heard no answer from heaven that night other than a subsiding of my sexual desire for Phil.

“I made many nighttime visits to my prayer chair after Phil fell asleep. One night the physical and emotional urge for sex was almost overwhelming. I earnestly pleaded for the gift of celibacy. Celibacy is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. The apostle Paul mentions it in 1 Corinthians 7 while writing of the mutual responsibilities of marital sex. He claims his own celibacy as a ‘gift‘ from God. I now understood the uniqueness of wanting that gift all too well.

Amy then talked about the following:

Meeting Needs

“God often has allowed me a solitary struggle through difficult life challenges until I experience him as truly sufficient to meet all my needs. Then he allows humans to participate more fully. Such was the case in learning to accept this particular loss. Philippians 4:12-13 ministered healing and courage to me: ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. …I can do everything through him who gives me strength.‘ This became my song in the night. Contentment comes when you embrace the truth that the supernatural strength of Jesus Christ is effectual in all things.”


Amy and her husband went to marriage counseling, which helped them greatly. You’ll want to read about what they learned. But at the conclusion of the article, here’s something else important that Amy wrote:

“Does impotency spell the end of marital intimacy? The answer, Phil and I have discovered, is a resounding ‘no.’ …Phil and I turned to God for continued help in finding an intimate, fulfilling marital relationship without intercourse. The physical yearnings subsided. I can’t point to a day or hour, but I just knew the struggle was over.

“When I look at Phil during a tender moment now, sexual arousal isn’t an issue; I simply feel a warmth and gratefulness that he’s my husband. His near-fatal heart attack put our love for each other in an even more nonphysical perspective. I saw the depths of his passion for me reflected in his eyes as he grasped my hand before entering the ambulance. I am so loved and cherished. We’ve discovered some vital elements of a satisfying marriage that transcend the sex act itself.”

An Important Point on Erection Problems

The key to being able to maintain a level of fulfilling intimacy together all boils down to being willing to WORK TOGETHER. I found I can’t do this alone. And it’s not all about getting my “needs” met and ignoring Cindy’s needs. To put it simply is to put it the way the Apostle Paul told us to live In Philippians.

Paul tells the people to always consider other people’s ambitions, goals and interests in all that they do in Philippians 2:4: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.

Steve Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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40 responses to “When Getting and Keeping an Erection Isn’t Happening

  1. We have had this problem for over 20 years due to my husband’s emotional (trauma) and physical/health issues (we’ve been married 31 years). We communicate very well, are very open and affectionate with each other and have prayed over this many times as well as trying various other solutions (meds often don’t work because my husband is on so many other meds – they counteract it!). Does anyone know of a Christian counsellor in the UK or organisation where we can get prayer/counselling who really understand these issues and won’t resort to Christian cliches or quick fixes?

    1. I think he will get a erection if he uses caverject. It’s in a syringe with a micro fine needle you put into the penus. It does not hurt. It works very well.

  2. Hi there, may God bless you. I’ve been in my marriage for 28 years. Things have happened between us in our marriage and finally my husband changed his ways of treating me. We now encounter this problem; he’s going on 57 and I’m 55. He has a long term depression, diabetes, and is taking medication for it. Our sexual life has never been to great. I have a higher drive and now he has ED and no sex desire.

    We both were Christians and then we left to the world. While living in sin I managed to satisfy myself but now I returned to Jesus and don’t want to sin in satisfying myself and now we agreed to use a vibrator. He uses a harness with a male organ (strap on) also sometimes. The thing I want to know is if it’s ok because I get thoughts whether God agrees or not with this practice and if God wants to use me in a ministry with me practicing this. If it’s wrong I’m not going to reach the spiritual level and power doing this. I don’t want the devil to have it against me when going to the Lord about me. I really need to know because I want to grow spiritually and have a good relationship with God. Please expand my wisdom with your knowledge. Bless you; I’ll be waiting for your answer anxiously as to what I should do.

    1. Tough one, this is my own opinion. As long as you do this together only, let your husband satisfy you only, stay faithful, it is OK. You have to make it OK in your mind. And quit questioning your faith concerning this. Is there a verse concerning this? No, not really, just like there is not a verse about driving a car, flying in an airplane, or watching TV. Some people are against these. The main this is keeping your mind, thoughts & heart towards your husband.

    2. My sweet sister in Christ… first off, welcome back! I’m so proud of you for coming back to the Lord. It’s a tough road to follow Jesus, but living without Him is even tougher in other ways. I encourage you to be wholly determined to keep walking with the Lord this time. I pray for your husband that he comes back to Christ. I hope you will put a prayer request on behalf of your husband onto the Marriage Missions Prayer Wall (that you will find on the Home Page of this web site). We have many people that pray through the requests that are posted there.

      I want to tell you that I’m also proud of you for wanting to please the Lord in everything you do, this issue included. I’m not a counselor but as I pray about this, as your sister in Christ, and someone who works with others concerning these issues I believe God is giving me wisdom. But you need to pray over my answer. I’m certainly not all knowing and you need to go according to your convictions as you present them to the Lord. My question first is, how does your husband feel about you “satisfying yourself” sexually? If he is left wanting because you are doing that, then it’s problematic. It’s possible it would defile the marriage bed. But if you’re working with him to satisfy him when he needs sexual intimacy with you, and he is as satisfied as he can be–given the circumstances that he suffers with, and he is okay with you using a vibrator (or your hand), then I don’t see any problem. The important thing is that you are not denying your husband to just pleasure yourself. But if he’s satisfied, then it isn’t a problem for you to do what you are doing. These are different circumstances. And God knows that.

      As far as it being a problem with God… the Lord knows your circumstances, and all of the limitations concerning them. He also knows your heart. You want to please Him and you want to please your husband, as well as meeting your own sexual needs. You are not bringing another person into your marital bed in any way or form (physically, picture form, or in your imaginations). That would be sinful if you ever did that. But from what I can perceive, your priorities are fine. This is a private thing between you and your husband and God. If you were denying your husband while you were going into the other room to have sex alone–then that would be selfish and there is a problem. But if you are both in agreement with the way things are going… and your husband isn’t in need, then I can’t even start to imagine that God would judge you harshly with the way you are approaching your needs. This would not cause a spiritual block where you are guilty and should not minister in the ways you feel led.

      Again, this is my humble opinion after praying about this. I just want to add one more thing. If you are feeling condemned by God on this, we have an article posted on this web site that can help you to discern if you are feeling condemned or convicted. You can find the article here: https://marriagemissions.com/discerning-the-difference-between-the-conviction-of-the-holy-spirit-and-condemnation-of-the-enemy/

  3. I am a 65 year old Christian widower. I have struggled with Erectile dysfunction for 23 years. For the last twelve years of my wife’s life our sex life was nonexistent. After she passed I decided I never wanted to be with a woman again. About 2 years ago I changed my mind. About 4 months ago I met a woman I think I want to marry. I went and got pulse therapy and injections and they worked one time then no more. I wish God had taken my life after he took my wife. I have nothing left to look forward to. I wish I was dead. I don’t even think Heaven can take away this pain.

    1. Bill, I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to lose a spouse. My heart and prayers go out to you. One thing I can do for sure is that as a believer in Christ, there is ALWAYS something to look forward to. Our ultimate purpose and reason for existence is for the Lord. You will see your wife again one day in heaven – and in heaven, there or NO dysfunctions whatsoever. But in the meantime, while you are still in the land of the living, it’s your time to be storing up your treasures in heaven for when you do get there. There are others who have lost loved ones and dont have the hope of heaven on their minds. It’s our job to share that with them and let them know that it doesn’t just end here. We are eternal beings first, then natural. This life is only as a vapor according to Gods word. He has more in store for you – for all of us. God Bless.

    2. Hi, Bill. I’d like to add on to what Tanisha shared with you, which is really good advice. I’d like to talk to you as a man who has been impotent for about the past 8 years due to my Type-1 diabetes. And what little feeling I had left was lost when I had my prostate removed in April. Do I miss not being able to make love to my wife the same way? Yes. Do I wish I had feeling “down there” again? Absolutely! But I had to come to terms with reality. And Cindy and I have experimented with other ways to show our love in intimate/passionate ways. While I can’t have the same kind of orgasm as in the past I can tell you that I feel completely satisfied with what Cindy and I have together.

      What it really comes down to is I had to be willing to let go of what I know I can’t have and start looking for different ways where I can satisfy Cindy and find my satisfaction in the touches that she gives to me. It’s amazing how close we feel to each other.

      I also had to come to terms with not being angry or bitter because of what I don’t have. This is a tool of the Devil to keep our focus off all that God does for us. The enemy of our faith wants us to make a god out of our sexual satisfaction. So, when I surrendered my sexual needs to God and told Him if He wanted to heal me so I could have sex again I’d be all for it. But, if not, I could trust Him to help me find other ways to be satisfied.

      As for the woman you’re thinking about marrying you will need to be honest with her before you get married. And hopefully she would understand. If she truly loves you it won’t matter. I would imagine that for her what matters the most is that she has a man who loves Jesus and wants to serve him as long as he has breath; and is a man who will be true to her in good times and in bad.

      I don’t know if this will help you, Bill, but I thought I’d share from my personal experience. I’ll pray you find peace with where you are right now. And Tanisha is right, once we get to eternity none of this will matter; and you an I are getting closer every day (I’m 70). Keep looking up!

      1. Mr. Wright; If I may ask, in what ‘ways’ were you & wife able to ‘gratify’ each other? No one (as i read comments) has not explained in more ‘detail’ of how to achieve that ‘gratification without sex’…outside of asking God to add/subtract ‘notions’. Do you believe that diabetes is the ‘biggest’ problem to start with? Thx

        1. AC, Sorry for the delay in responding. There’s no doubt that my diabetes was the major contributing factor in ending what most would term our “traditional”sex life. What little was there was taken away earlier this year through my prostateectomy. What Cindy and I learned was to look for different ways to gratify each other. It goes beyond sexual release, though that can be accomplished, too. You just have to get creative. But our LOVE life has grown into more of holding, cuddling,expressing our love verbally. Cindy has always been excellent in affirming me as a “man” which has taken a lot of pressure off of me as needing to “perform.”

          For this to work itself out it will take both you and your wife getting over being uncomfortable about talking about sex. It’s obvious if you are having problems they won’t go away if you both stay silent. It will be awkward the first couple of times you start talking about it. We suggest you pray together first before you start talking. (YES, God cares about our sex lives and will not be embarrassed if you bring it to Him. After all, it was His idea in the first place.) And don’t try to solve the problem in one conversation. This will require periodic adjustments as you try different things. If the first couple of things don’t work out, don’t give up; keep trying.

          Here are a few more points that helped us: 1) Use your imaginations. Don’t be afraid to try something you may have never done before. As long as you both agree and it doesn’t involve bringing someone else into the bedroom (either through porn or another person) you can try it. 2) Be playful. This is defined differently by just about every couple. 3) Don’t get stuck in “tradition.” What may have worked for you 10-15 years ago probably won’t work now. 4) If there is a definite medical condition that either of you has that is impeding your sex life, whoever it is owes to to the other to get thoroughly checked out medically. There are tons of new ways that can help. But even if they can’t, you both owe it to yourselves and your marriage to eliminate that possibility.

          I hope this helps you in some small way, AC. Cindy and I can certainly empathize with you and your wife. We’d love it if you came back through this article some time in the future and share your “after” story to let us know what worked…and didn’t work. It will be helpful to many. Blessings!

  4. I am not an individual who shares deep secrets. But I am at this point even at my age in life, have not dealt with the loss of sexual intimacy over 14 years ago, as my husband became impotent due to multiple factors, which would never be corrected.

    I am so grateful to “Amy’s” comments. I still experience an overwhelming urge for intimacy, less frequently now, that need to be squelched, and find relief through tactile stimulus. Then I found myself grieving that I had So sinned against my Lord. So here I am. I would never want my husband to feel any less a man. I know we were created sexual beings. I feel that I fly against the face of my Lord, when I do what I do. I love the verses given from Philippians 4 verses 11 through 13.

  5. Matters of health belong to God almighty. We should thank him for every situation. He knows best.

  6. Hie my name is Prosper. I have been suffering from ED for almost four years. I have tried many ways to cure this but none of them have given me results. My wife and I still have a good relationship on accepting my problem. She always gives me strength that one day our desire will be fulfilled. Please, I need some advice in helping me and some prayers to end this problem.

  7. Anyone out there gotten a miracle? I pray for one. But get discouraged. ED wasnt a problem early on in my relantionship since we were celibate. But now we are married, I’ll put my shame out there, we have yet to consumate our marriage. Its been a struggle. A silent torment. Did I make mistake, Lord? Where did I go wrong? I feel ridiculous. And a joke. Forgive me Lord.

    1. Hi D Broen, Still a virgin along with my husband of 1 and 3 months. No miracles yet. I just wanted to say to you what I can’t say anything about this to my husband. He doesn’t take criticism well, regarding this area.

      Shame stems from pride. Sacrifice your shame for the sake of your marriage and get help. Exhaust every avenue before giving up on sex with your wife. If you do not and you expect your wife to sacrifice her hopes and dreams of a happy marriage with children, she will resent you and may come to hate you. At the very least she won’t be able to respect you because you didn’t uphold your wedding vows to love her as Christ loves the church, all the while expecting her to keep her vows to love you even in poor health and to be faithful to you.

      Stop wallowing in self pity and despair. If you feel guilty, be active and do something. Don’t be selfish and just throw your hands up in the air. Don’t kill your relationship by refusing to communicate with your wife. Go to marriage counseling.