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.

Print Post

Filed under: Sexual Issues

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


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

  1. (USA)  That’s a great article. It’s nice to know there are other people out there that struggle with the same problem. I’m 26 and my husband is 33. I wasn’t expecting to have this problem at such a young age and so soon in our marriage (only been married 2 months). It’s very frustrating. We don’t exactly know what is causing him to have this problem, but I think it has a lot to do with stress and some depression. I have a high sex drive and he knows this and it stresses him out even more. I’m trying to be understanding, but we’re still so young!!! Why does this have to happen so soon in our marriage? But I know with prayer and God on our side we can conquer anything :)

    1. I am going through a similar situation in my marriage at the moment. I recently discussed it with a Christian friend of mine in confidence and he likened our bodies to that of a machine that has a manufacturer’s manual. As believers we have a manual in the word of God for He is our maker! Engage the word of God concerning this; bring to God’s remembrance is promises about the perfection of our being, take the communion regularly in faith and I believe that God will cos a turn around in our marriages in no time.

  2. (USA)  It’s important to note that ED could be a warning sign of a more serious medical problem. The best thing I’ve done is lose over 45 pounds the past nine months. By watching what I eat and working out, the problem hasn’t recurred. I’m not saying this is the answer for everyone. But I suspect given the general level of fitness in the US, most men would see improvements if they were to improve their level of fitness.

  3. (USA) Hello, this is hard to talk about. I have had severe ED my whole life. I am in great shape and I have tried pills and prayer but nothing really helps. My case sounds worse than others I have heard of because I usually can’t even get an erection, let alone keep one. I feel like God has called me to be married, I know how to treat a woman, I have many good qualites and I love God. My question for the women is would you marry a man knowing he has severe ED? Even if I told a woman early in our dating relatonship, is it fair the expect any woman to deal with this? Thanks a lot,

    1. Doug, I believe that are women out there that have such low libido that this wouldn’t be a problem for them –especially if you both could pleasure each other in different ways –if you both would want that (what happens in the marriage bed is to be mutually agreed upon by the husband and wife). And there are women that have been sexually abused when younger, who can’t seem to deal with it and they wouldn’t have problems with this situation. But this would have to be a subject you would need to talk about before you would get very serious with a gal. She needs to realize that this is an issue that probably won’t go away.

      Also, I recommend that if you have’t already, you talk to some type of specialist in this area. We link to some that perhaps could recommend some. Sometimes serious issues need more serious methods & a specialist may be able to help you with this. Also, Paul Byerly who has the web site The-generous-husband.com (and he and his wife Lori have the web site, Themarriagebed.com) may have some suggestions for you that my husband Steve and I aren’t aware of. I recommend you contact Paul and see if he has ideas for you. I hope the best for you Doug and pray that you are led to the wisdom you need and the right gal.

    2. You have so much more to offer. Sex is a big part of a relationship but it’s not the major part. How you treat a lady and the love that you have to give, should matter the most. Wait on God to send you your wife, and she will be understanding to your situation. God has someone for everyone and your someone will give you the love you desire. Remember God made you the way you are on purpose. So lean not on your own understanding. Things happen for a reason and sometimes we might not understand but we must not question God. Be blessed my friend!

  4. (NIGERIA) I am finding it difficult to have sexual intercourse with my wife after the first round. What can I do or eat naturally to go more?

  5. I need help. We have had this problem. His penis is not getting erect & not ejaculating. We want to make love & give our all to have a child & have given up. We are 31 and it hurts not being able to love & enjoy each other…

    1. Michelle, My heart truly goes out to you. I don’t know the reason behind the problem your husband is having, which is preventing him from getting an erection, but I know much of the hurt you feel and the questions that can mount up in your mind and heart. And then to want to make love when you are hoping that as a result you will be able to have a baby… how very, very heartbreaking this must be! It’s hard for me to imagine how horrible this is for both of you. I hope the article above gives you some type of insight as to what the problem might be. I also hope that your husband is able to find a doctor to help him or a device (talked about in the article), which might help him to achieve an erection and ejaculation.

      Michelle, I don’t say this lightly, believe me. But I hope with all my heart that even though you don’t understand why this is happening, that even so, you trust God and don’t do anything rash or lose your faith in Him that He will help you, despite the gravity of the situation, and the ability to understand this. Please love your husband well, even though he might not be able to perfectly perform in the way that will allow you to get pregnant. Love and enjoy each other to the degree that you can and trust God that He loves you and will help you in the ways that you best need, even if it doesn’t appear that way right now. This has not escaped God’s eyes. He has a plan in all of this, even though you and your husband don’t see it, and even though your life together may or may not go in the way you had hoped. Pray, trust, and love one another no matter what does or doesn’t happen.

      Look beyond in faith for what you don’t see and understand right now, trusting God’s heart that He loves you and that together, you and your husband can still build a life of love and enjoyment and purpose and meaning as you “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Again, I don’t write these words glibly. I write them as a woman who cries with you and is trusting with you and praying for you through this faith-walk journey of life. If you have both pursued medical (and mechanical) help with this problem and you have not found the help you need, then look all the more to God to show you how to love each other well and trust Him, despite the failures you may be seeing. There IS a reason for this… if you are praying and persevering, then all the more you have to trust Him that He will guide you in the way you are to walk –in integrity, faith, and love. I pray for you and cry with you and believe with you that someday God will infuse hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart, as you lean upon Him.

      “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5) “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

    2. Dear Michelle, I am speaking from personal experience. I had problem of erectile dysfunction. I am quite young, had diabetes and thought that it was due to that. But it turned out
      that it wasn’t. It was performance anxiety and destructive sexual habits which was the problem. I worked through them by discussing with my wife and reading useful literature. What I really found useful was a book called “Restoring Pleasure” by Joyce Penner. This book guides a couple through various steps towards sexual fulfillment and has exercises for different sexual difficulties including erection problems.

      A lot of erectile dysfunction in young population is psychological rather than physical and can be fixed! I would suggest your husband to consult a urologist to exclude
      any physical problem and then concentrate your efforts in the psychosexual side. Seeing a psychosexual therapist will also help.

  6. I am so grateful unto God for the inspiration He has given you people to give us an inside of this issue of sex that plaques many marriages. May God richly bless you people as you continue to transform marriages and repair those that were broken.

  7. It is ungodly or is it a sin to use adult sex novelty to bring passion to your intimacy, especially if husband has erectile dysfunction he is a dialysis patient?

  8. I’m not sure where to go with this except I wish I could talk to my husband. He has an issue in this department but if I try to talk about it, he takes it as a let down or I’m belittling him. He shows no willingness, no interest but I feel he expects me to. I want him to seek help, but he won’t even visit a doctors office for his own wellness. It’s a one way street to me.

  9. I am very amazed and surprised in seeing how this is more common than I thought. Especially with younger men. I am 62 years old. I started having this difficulty about 7 years ago. I was still able to get an erections with the help of penile injection. That eventually stopped working. It’s been at least 5 years that I’ve been able to get an erection and about the same amount of time that I’ve had an intimate relationship. I have avoided getting involved in a relationship because of this. But yet I still desire to have someone to love and love me in return. I recently met this wonderful 45 year old young woman. We seem to have so much in common and she doesn’t care of the age difference. But I am reluctant to persue the relationship because of my erectile dysfunction. I’ve been praying to God for a miracle to heal me and putting this hopeful relationship in His hands.

    1. Try Cialis, you are 62 liking a 45?? I hear you!! I do see issues that your ‘issue’ will cause later on. Talk to your doctor.

  10. My husband is really different since getting married. Since the 1960s he has always had erection problems. He keeps beating up himself for being a failure in marriage that he’s been depressed for years. He doesn’t know why he’s the way he is. He also has high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and weight issues and he takestrel medication for all this and it doesn’t help his problems. He claims he is a failure!

    We’ve never really had sex and he told me a if I wanted to ĺeave him he would understand. Because of his problems he’s distanced himself from me he thinks that he’s not good enough for me. We’re in our late 60s and not very interested in sex any more. For me it has been a lonely life and things have been hard on me personally but I still love him and watch over him. Maybe it’s a mother thing but it’s just me.

  11. In the last 12 years My husband has had two strokes with very little lasting effects except for ED. Things got better 6 months after the first stroke. But the second stroke landed him completely impotent. Finally after three years he looked into help. The generic version of Viagra has been great!! Wow!! But it can’t change how self focused he’s been now for years!!! So worried and concerned about his issues he has forgotten about me. Plus there was a little finger pointing that I was to blame. I could care less now if we have a sex life or not. I’m doing my best to say yes and enjoy. But where was he when my drive was good?? I’m open to any ideas on how to move past the past. I did quite a bit of initiating over the years to keep things going and now regret that because the emphasis was on him. And he did not try to please me. Ideas? Thoughts?

  12. Hi, I’m a Christian. I had the Lord jesus heal me of ED. I had healing that day, it ways so powerful. My erections were so strong every morning I needed some ministry for my memory that was verey powerful. I was in bed and the Lord Jesus was doing something to my mind verey deeply but I pulled away; I felt like I was floating in the sprit. I felt I grieved the sprit of Jesus because I pulled away when Jesus was healing my mind. I was fearful of what Jesus was doing but he said trust me 3 times when I pulled away from Jesus.

    I felt as if something shot into my mouth like a sharp arrow. I think it was a dark sprit but I lost my healing to my shame since then I looked at sex on the Internet which I’ve repented of. I’m married but I have a sexless marriage. The doctor tried everything to help mea but nothing helps me. I’ve been for help and pray but I’ve not been healed; do you think Jesus would heal me a second time? I think I let an evil sprit in when I pulled away from Jesus when he was ministering to me. p.s. my wife is a good lady; she puts up with me but I do not fulfill her needs; I do not feel like a man at all.

    1. You need to fulfill her needs by touching her (keeping a G rating). Learn how to touch her exactly like she wants to be touched. Ask her how she would like it, you will be surprised what she will tell you.

  13. I am sorry. I dont understand this. So the biblical answer is celibacy in marriage??? This is supposed to be God’s answer?

    1. Hi, Vincent. Let me give you my short answer first: NO, the Biblical answer is not necessarily celibacy. In fact, I consider that the last resort. But I also hasten to say that there seldom are any quick fixes that work long term to correct ED. You may have already tried the conventional medical, supplements, “devices” route with little or no success (like what happened to me).

      The key to finding what works for you as a couple requires that you both see it as a mission/problem to solve TOGETHER. Cindy and I didn’t solve our “problem” overnight. It took a lot of time and intentionality in talking through possible scenarios and experimenting with different ways to bring pleasure to one another. We also did a lot of reading and praying for wisdom. The outcome is that today we both feel very satisfied with what I’d call our “modified” sex life. It isn’t like when we were 25 or 30, but we are committed to making sure that each of us feels fulfilled.

      Let me encourage you that if you haven’t had a full medical workup done, this is the place to start; the older we get the more our bodies break down and “let us down.” But with a good doctor (Urologist) there may be an answer waiting for you.

      I’ll close with this just so you know I’m living in reality. This year marks the 45th year that I’ve been a Type-1 diabetic and while I continue to baffle the doctors with how well I’m doing I also realize at any time I could start to deteriorate. And I have resolved that even if I did have to become completely celibate it wouldn’t change my relationship with my wife OR my God.

      I pray you will find the answers you need, Vincent. Thanks for writing; I hope this helped a bit. ~Steve Wright