ERECTIONS AND DINOSAURS
Eric Van Fossen
Please note this blog post is not based on scientific research and is not intended to be taken as medical advice. It is however, based on over 20 years of observation and experience.
It is a question that men ask me at least several times a month.
“Why can I not get an erection sometimes?”
Maybe I should mention here that in addition to being a Consulting Hypnotist, I have worked for more than twenty years as a Physician Assistant in family practice medical offices.
A lot of these guys come in understandably upset. Things can be going well sexually and then BOOM! The bottom drops out and things don’t go so well for a while.
The hit and miss nature of this complaint is what upsets a lot of men. Everything can be working well and then they have a period of not being able to get a functional erection. Most wonder if it’s a testosterone problem. But it almost never is. These are often young healthy men with a good libido.
If I look closely, I can see the fear in their eyes.
My first piece of advice to them is to stop any tobacco/nicotine products. Nicotine constricts our blood vessels and to have decent erection we need good blood flow to the genitals.
Next, I talk about the fear in their eyes and the dinosaur in the room.
Since the dawning of mankind we have had an almost perfect alarm and response system. This system is our fight, flight or freeze response to perceived threats. The key words here are “almost perfect” and “perceived threat”. When the brain perceives a threat or stressful input, the autonomic nervous system is stimulated. The autonomic nervous system is not really under control of the conscious mind and therefore our bodies are literally “off to the races” and/or “ready to rumble”.
Many bodily functions are changed to a run or fight mode when this protective system is initiated. Our pupils dilate for better vision. The heart pumps harder and faster and more blood is shunted to our muscles. Less blood goes to the digestive organs and any systems that are not needed to effectively fight or run.
Recall that in order to have a good erection there must be an ample blood supply to the penis thus enabling it to engorge into an erection. So from cave man times to the present, our body protects us when it rightly or wrongly senses a threat. If a threat is sensed then blood flow is directed away from the penis. As a man, you don’t want to trip over an erection if you are running away from a big scary dinosaur!
As soon as a man allows himself to become stressed before or during a sexual encounter the brain’s “almost perfect” alarm system initiates the above response. The system is only “almost perfect” because it is an overreaction. The brain can have difficulty distinguishing between anxiety about a sexual encounter and dinosaur jumping out of the brush. It is all the same thing to the primitive brain so the system gets engaged and the erection…well not so much.
Sometimes as men we sabotage ourselves. If we have had one singular occasion where an erection didn’t happen, for whatever reason, we might get stressed the next time there is to be an encounter. But the pattern is already stored away in the brain. The man gets stressed about the mere possibility of not having an erection and the brain translates that into a scary dinosaur in the room.
The trick here is to recognize that we are feeling stressed about this next encounter. Recognizing it and actually labeling it can help disarm the fight, flight or freeze response. A little self-talk can go a long way. Recalling past successful erections and reassuring yourself that we all have the occasional bad day and that today is not one of those days, may help.
I have seen many of these men learn to understand this process and it does tend to help dissolve the brain's inappropriate response. I have seen many men obtain a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs and after having one or two positive experiences with the help of the medicine; they don’t seem to need it anymore. Their self-confidence is boosted and a new better pattern is once again set.
Of course techniques that are available through hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming could also potentially help re-build confidence, teach relaxation techniques and re-frame the prior less than desirable experiences.
Always discuss these concerns with your medical provider. Having erection difficulties is not a crime but being too embarrassed to discuss them just might be! A healthy sex life is one element of a full life. Don’t be caught without it.