Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

Select An Article

Erectile Dysfunction During Sex

Font Size

More to Sex Than Erections

It's good to get men talking about their sexuality. But being sexual is different than having an erection, says Jeanne Shaw, PhD, an Atlanta-based clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist.

Recommended Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Could You Use a Penile Implant?

Urologist Drogo Montague, MD, is the go-to guy for penis implants. No, we’re not talking about the get-big-quick schemes clogging your spam folder. Penis implants enable men with erectile dysfunction, or ED, to get an erection. Most of the 30 million men in the United States who have ED can turn to Viagra and similar drugs. But approximately one-third of them do not respond to medications. That’s where Montague comes in. Montague directs the Center for Genitourinary Reconstruction in the Glickman...

Read the Could You Use a Penile Implant? article > >

"What I see as a problem is the public has been educated to believe that good sex requires an erect penis that stays hard through the entire sexual encounter," Shaw tells WebMD. "This definition of good sex changes the basic nature of an encounter from intimacy and pleasure to achievement and performance."

This focus on performance, Shaw says, robs men and their partners of the opportunity to deepen their relationships -- and their sexuality. The sexual needs of adolescents, she says, are different that those of adults. Yet by making erections the be-all and end-all of sex, grown men are retreating to adolescent sexual values.

"Having an erection does not mean you are being sexual. Being sexual comes from inside your sense of yourself," Shaw says. "You can be sexual, you can feel sexual, you can behave sexually without an erection. A penis is not the only part of a man's body that can be used sexually."

Shaw makes a distinction between genital behavior and sexual behavior. Mistaking one for the other, she says, leads to dishonesty and dissatisfaction.

"You can behave genitally whether you feel sexual or not," Shaw notes. "Women and men can fake it. Lots of men get an erection, penetrate, and lose the erection and pretend they have had an orgasm because they want to be perfect. They don't say, 'Hey, I didn't have an orgasm but maybe next time. Being near you is enough.'"

In her practice, Shaw finds that physical problems don't lie at the heart of most men's sexual problems.

"Actually, it is psychological distress associated with not measuring up rather than physiological problems that causes most sexual dissatisfaction," Shaw says. "For many, many men -- maybe most -- problems with sex are due to ignorance, anxiety, and inability to communicate with their partners. I think sexual dysfunction is the inevitable result of the effort to attain perfection."

WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 17, 2003
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

handsome midadult man
11 tips to protect your erection.
man and woman on beach
How much do you know about ED?
stress in bed
Things that can deflate erections.
senior couple hugging
How medications work.
concerned man
stress in bed
Life Cycle of a Penis
Mens Body Problem
bored man
Lamm Erections Over Life
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
senior couple hugging

WebMD Special Sections