My Greatest Failure as a Man

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I am a failure. I’m a failure of a husband and a man. No, I didn’t cheat on my wife; I feel like I’ve done the opposite of it, actually.

I’ve been wearing this feeling for awhile. A long time, really. Ever since we got married.

When my life turned around many, many years ago, I found new victory in sexual purity. I had never achieved such life-giving victory after experiencing a sexual outing with a man I didn’t even know.

When Lisa and I started dating, this purity was vital for me to maintain. I wanted to honor my wife-to-be as much as possible — including physically.

Lisa and I kept our physical relationship overly conservative for my sake. I wanted to be sure not to make the mistake of having sex before marriage again — and I wanted her to keep from making this mistake altogether.

We didn’t have sex, sleep together, or even make out before marriage. Our wedding night would open new doors in our relationship.

But our wedding night turned out to be quite the opposite experience. Thus started my failure as a husband and the continuation of my failure as a man.

During our honeymoon, it came to our attention that I could not achieve a full erection. No matter what we did, I could not get erect enough to have intercourse.

This tumultuous experience brought on arguments, tears, and untold amounts of hurt for each of us.

As soon as we returned home, I saw my doctors. Yes, doctors — plural. I was scared. Lisa was scared. And we were both clueless.

The doctors all agreed: early onset erectile dysfunction. You know those awkward pharmaceutical commercials about old people trying to have sex? That was me.

It turns out that I can only get an erection for an average of 5 seconds before going flaccid — orgasm or not. And, most often, this erection is only what’s called a stage 2 erection, meaning the penis is engorged but not stiff. Erections must reach stage 3 before intercourse is possible, and even on medication, I am barely able to achieve a stage 3 erection. I haven’t had a stage 4 erection in countless years.

I’ve felt like a failure, unable to be a normally sexually active male. It is difficult for me to have sex, both physically and now also mentally and emotionally.

Those expensive medications have come and gone with little assistance; the leftovers sit in my nightstand as a testament to my failure in our sex life.

Lisa has said it’s not my fault. We both know better. We are both destroyed by my failure.

But I can’t help and wonder: would my wife be better off without me? Why couldn’t God give her a husband who could satisfy her sexually the way she desires? Why couldn’t God have provided a way for us to have a healthy sex life in our marriage?

After all, didn’t we honor Him by keeping pure before marriage? Is this really fair?

Each day, I wake up reminded that I am a failure to my wife. I fail as a husband, and I fail as a man, unable to do the one thing every other man can do — achieve a normal erection.

Have you experienced failure as a man, physically or otherwise, in marriage or in singlehood? How do you move beyond your failures?

* Photo courtesy slynkycat, Creative Commons.

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  • Prince

    All my life, I felt incomplete and inadequate as a man. I’m too thin, too feminine, too sensitive, too soft and too emotional. When it comes to sexual organ, erectile dysfunction is not an issue. However, I’ve never been aroused with a woman before. I personally think that it’s my greatest failure as a man knowing that I’ll never look at a woman the same way other guys do. It’s frustrating. I wake up everyday tired of being different and feeling like a sub-standard man. I may not have problems with erection but trust me, I knew what being insufficient feels like.

    • Dean Samuels

      The feelings of failure can come in any area for a man. Praying you find victory in who Christ has called you to be!

  • I feel like a failure every single day with my wife. I had not consulted with the Lord concerning marriage. I thought that being with a woman would make me straight. It didn’t. This is why when I had an argument with her (over laundry), I went crawling back to my exboyfriend. I still haven’t told her. I can’t even be aroused for her, and she has to initiate whatever sexual contact we have. After nineteen years of marriage, I can count the number of times we have been intimate together on three hands. Once I even lost my erection, most other times I have to imagine that I am with a guy just to satisfy her. I have to wonder many times if I am good enough for her. I certainly don’t feel like a man, just a failure.

    • bluzhawk

      Hey Bradley, you’ve had a tough road man. I’ve read other of your posts without ever commenting. If misery loves company, we share some of the same failures while others differ and go deeper than yours, but they broke me too. I so much want to encourage you but lack for words. Hugs, Bradley. I was given the following and keep it on my phone. I turn to it a lot when feeling low and over time have found myself in each point but also that Jesus can make everything given to him good.

      The good news is that the reign and kingdom of God in Christ is brought near, is within
      HE brings good to the lowly, distressed, helpless, powerless, and destitute of influence, position, honor or wealth
      HE makes whole, free from errors and sins, those who are weak, feeble, without strength, powerless, impotent and those who are utterly crushed, shattered, broken, and tread down in heart
      HE brings freedom, release, forgiveness and pardon to those who are imprisoned and bound
      HE makes clean, purges and purifies those who are dis-eased within and who outwardly are rough and senseless
      HE gives sight to those who are blind and makes those who can’t see to look up
      HE makes those who are crippled and limping to live and able to follow
      HE makes those who are blunted, dull, and unable to hear or speak, able to perceive and understand
      HE arouses and causes to rise those who are destitute of life and power
      HE comforts those who mourn and are dark and heavy hearted, and gives beauty and joy and praise
      HE sets apart from self and sends out in freedom, release and pardon those who are crushed, shattered and broken
      HE calls and invites to today, God’s revolution of delight, desire and his good pleasure.
      HIS name is JESUS, Christ who saves

    • Dean Samuels

      Will be praying for you as your travel this journey, Bradley.

  • mike

    Few men have the courage to ever admit to this failing. Few. You are a man of courage Dean.
    Real men suffer disease. It’s what life looks like on this present journey. The physiology, anatomy, and neuro-transmitter complexity of the erectile mechanism is so complicated it’s a miracle really that such a thing happens! In fact upon reaching the age of forty four out of ten men suffer erectile dysfunction and the incidence increases with age.
    So, it’s very common.
    But modern medicine doesn’t give up. If the pills fail such as Viagra, Cialis, etc., there’s more help. Penile injections work up to 80%. These medications prescribed by urologists contain a powerful prostaglandin that produces a very satisfying boner and utilizing a penile ring the success rate climbs to almost 100%. For the needle phobic there’s the vacuum pump which works for many men and is easy to use. Yeah, it’s a bit of a bother and not as spontaneous but most men and their wives grow to like it. Their sex lives are revived!
    And then there’s the Mercedes option for men who fail all of the above: the penile implant. Now perfected and with decades of experience the surgical penile implant is almost natural, easy to use, and highly recommended for stubborn erectile dysfunction. It’ll make you eighteen again!

    • Matt ‘Ashįįhí

      Dude! Thank you for posting this comment on here! It gives me some hope for my future.

    • mike

      Maybe I’m just talking to myself (mike to mike)!
      All that happens to me I know God has allowed for His own purposes and glory. But like the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda Jesus asks what seems like a ridiculous question: “do you want to get well?”!
      You ask: “How do you move beyond your failures?” and of course we MUST as did that crippled man.
      I relate to your predicament Dean. I don’t have erectile dysfunction. Your story is one that should surely benefit from penile injection therapy. Me, I have erectile no function. A limp member irresponsive to self stimulation no matter what fantasy! Injections bring him up to stage 2 and applying a suitable ring (difficult to get the right tension because you want arterial flow but restrict venous flow) I can get a stage 3 erection with that added ring that lasts and then my wife and me are thrilled! But it’s such a hassle (understatement) and frustratingly it doesn’t always work :(.
      Just saw a specialist urologist to discuss a penile implant. Most guys he tells me are 90-95% satisfied with their boner that lasts as long as one wants. Wow! Anybody here have one?
      I’ve just got a new injection mix. Quad mix it’s called with you guessed it four ingredients to get my member hard. With a correct ring my urologist says it surely will work every time. We’ll see…
      It’s frustrating you bet. And I’m getting tired of all these rings and polypharmacy. I’m thinking of going under the knife soon. My wife doesn’t want me to. You see there are other ways to get her to orgasm without my penetration. But, that’s another topic.The only thing to settle is what does Jesus think of all this effort to have sex? I’m talking to him and asking. Haven’t finished that conversation yet…

    • Dean Samuels

      Thank you for the encouragement and the medical insight, Mike. Definitely looking at what options are still viable for me and Lisa.

  • bluzhawk

    Growing up, before coming to terms with SSA, I paid a woman to have sex. But I didn’t perform and on top of it, she laughed. It was humiliating, and at the time I was angry and devastated that I’d never be just a guy like my friends. Since then, I’ve known bigger failures than sexual ones but I’ll skip those details.
    At first, moving past things meant doubling down and going deeper into failure, and then it became excuses and escape. What finally made a difference was having hope. Not the false kind that comes only from optimism, but real hope given from God. Don’t mean to sound like a cliche, but finally having hope to move ahead came when I realized all my answers didn’t work, and I became free to receive it.

    • Dean Samuels

      Thank you, Bluzhawk! I appreciate the encourage and the hug!

  • Jeff Brady

    Dean, I’ve never been able to marry so I will not claim to understand your pain over this issue, but I will try to sympathize as best I can. Even so, in my own life, I have experienced this. It started in my early 20’s. I was involved in some of the earliest efforts at repairative therapy. My psychologist was using hypnotism and biofeedback to try and get me straight. Didn’t work, but what I ended up with was a limp unit or at least limp most of the time. What I found was that it would not work when I wanted it to, but I would experience normal erections during sleep and I would have the inevitable morning wood and that would wilt almost immediately after waking. My thought is that my doctor had given me hypnotic suggestions that disabled me for sexual purposes. Whatever.

    Certain ethnic backgrounds also experience this early on in life. Mine is Irish and I have read that we are prone to erectile dysfunction among other things. There is also the Irish Curse to consider, so mine is a double affliction :)))).

    For a married man, I can see how all this would be a problem. I do not think it makes you less of a man, especially since you are facing it and talking about it in a very frank manner and you seem to have a partner that loves you more than she loves herself…a rare find in our day! DO NOT LET GO OF THAT. You need her and she needs you (just as you are). God put you two together for a reason. That may seem confused and muddled right now, but don’t give up.

    What I have found is that God lets us all bear certain burdens in our lives to create opportunities for others to show us grace and and mercy or to help us grow in our relationships with Him and others. Our purpose as Christ followers is to bring glory to God with what we have been given. My dysfunction has been a blessing for me as yours has been a curse for you. It has enabled me to remain celibate for 37 years. Doesn’t mean I still do not have the urge, but then I would also like to be able to run the mile in three minutes too. Can’t do that either.

    My thought is that your issue may be temporary. I hope so. But if it’s not, I think you will be able to deal with it and I say this knowing that I’m not “the glass is half full” kind of guy.

    • Dean Samuels

      I appreciate the encouragement, Jeff, and the perspective!

  • Steven Michael

    I always feel like a failure in the areas of strength and courage. Like people will say, “oh, I need a strong young man to do this for me” and I will think, “well, they can’t possibly be talking about me.” I’m finally starting to get in shape, but the mental picture of myself is still weak. The cowardly thing is harder to work on.

    I’m also very bothered by being shorter than most men, but there isn’t much I can do about that.

    In the interest of solidarity, I fear I would also have issues with intercourse if I were to ever get married. It’s just not something I see for my life right now, so I don’t worry about it that much.

  • Emily Gruver

    Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency, Dean!

    • Dean Samuels

      Thank you for reading, Emily! I appreciate the encouragement!

  • Matt ‘Ashįįhí

    Man! This post hit me hard! As of recent, I’m starting to like women, and more specifically a woman! Haha. But anyways, for the past two weeks, God’s been showing me that it’s time for a new season and open my feelings to a girl at my church. Also, that I needed to deal with issues from my past and make amends with them.

    Yet, this is one of the major issues that I worry about, and have told my friends about it. It’s very hard to describe, especially since all my friends are straight and I’m the only SSA one.

    Also, if I do get to date this girl in the future, I know I’ll have to be honest about this particular issue too. Knowing you as a friend, I know this story isn’t over, and I want to thank you for posting this! Especially the science part too.

    • The transition is not an easy one. Above all else, be honest with her about your past, and your current failures and weaknesses. This was my mistake, and I am paying for it with marital strife.

      • Matt ‘Ashįįhí

        Honesty is one of my traits with everyone. As you know, I’m a blunt person on here, as well as in real life. I even share my fears and weakness to my friends.

        For this specific woman, she knows about my past, and reads my stories on here too. Yet, one of the things she admires about me is that I prepare people for difficult times. In away, I sit people down and cover all the bases of my story, current situations, and how it will effect them in the future.

        I really do agree with you Bradley with being honest, and I’m a very observant person. I like to see both good and bad side of how not being honest or being too honest to people effect their lives. I just wanted to thank you for that advice, and hope one day everything will work together for you and your wife.

        • Samuel M-Eshleman

          Matt, Thanks for sharing. I have been dating my girlfriend for two years, and everything is going well. However, I do understand the fear, and this post was especially discouraging in that way. That being noted, everyone’s experience is different. Trust in Jesus. Act out of love, not fear. I would love to chat more about dating anytime. Blessings.

    • Dean Samuels

      Will be praying for this potential new venture for you, Matt! The conversations can be tough but they are truly invaluable. Keep pursuing Christ and He will lead and guide you in this new season for you.

  • mistaken identity

    Dean, I agree with Mike that you are a man of courage (and a rare one at that). When I first read this story I had trouble sleeping and was up late praying for you. Yesterday, my wife and I took an amazing hike through the redwoods, and we stopped several times to pray over your marriage and bless you and your wife. Had I worked so hard at remaining pure through a betrothal only to be “rewarded” with the difficulty of that wedding night, I would have been furious with God. So often I blame him when it is the evil one working just outside of my vision to fill me with doubt frustration. I don’t know why this happened to you. But I do know that God loves you and your wife immeasurably and has “counted every tear.” I know the enemy has had a good laugh about it all, but I pray that his laughter would be silenced and that great good would soon come from this.

    You are an intelligent man and know you can not be a failure with something that is out of your control. But the feelings are, of course, entirely understandable A couple of years back, I came home from a brief trip to Oregon and expected great fireworks in my reuniting with my wife. We rarely have breaks in intimacy, so I expected to be super-charged. Not so. A little ED was our unexpected challenge that night. I reacted in the most Godly of manners by staying home from church the next day to tantrum and weep like a little girl. And that, of course, was a tiny thing (no pun intended) compared to a wedding night disaster. Our expectations for our wedding nights are understandable but are usually too lofty. We can pressure ourselves too much. More prayers coming your way, great overcomer.

    • Dean Samuels

      I greatly value those prayers, MI. Thank you so much for that. I know that God is working and He will lead Lisa and I through all of this.

      • mistaken identity

        Yes, he wil do that.

  • Eddie

    I don’t think you’re a failure as a man, Dean. You’re stepping up to your responsibities as a husband and as a father. That qualifies you (certainly in my book) as a man. I can relate to your issues in the bedroom. With my SSA, I had reservations about having sex with a woman at all because of my own “performance anxiety.” I am unsure I would be any “good in bed” should circumstances unfold as such. In my mind, I imagine just doing it until I climaxed and then stop and sleep. Notice I said until I climaxed which leaves her feeling unsatisfied and used. This is just one reason marriage just doesn’t quite appeal to me. I don’t like to use the word sex as much as “relations” between husband and wife are more accurately considered “love making.” As such and I’m no marriage therapist, my advice is to prolong the love making with other pleasurable and tactile activities that ypu both share together. Not suggesting threesomes or swinging. Just you and your wife alone. My 2 cents. Again you’re not a failure as a man!

    • Dean Samuels

      I appreciate the reminder and encouragement, Eddie! And I agree about viewing it as “love making” as opposed to just sex. The nomenclature can be small but can still make a difference.

  • Dean, thank you for sharing such a personal, vulnerable post. May I ask an equally vulnerable, personal question? There is no pressure to answer it, if you’d rather not.

    Were/are you able to attain a full erection when fantasizing about or being with a man? Have you found yourself attaining a full erection when masturbating or thinking about a man? If so, is it possible that your inability to attain an erection is not erectile dysfunction but actually the orientation of your sexual desires? This is not, of course, to rule out erectile dysfunction. I just saw this as another possibility when reading your post. I’ve known several men with attractions to the same sex who were completely unable to get hard with their wives.

    In either case, though, something does need to be made clear: this does not make you a failure in the least. It does not make you less of a man, less masculine, or a failure. It’s a mark of our over-sexualized culture – even within the church – to put such weight on sexual performance as a sign of manhood. Loss of sexual performance is difficult, disappointing, and might be experienced as a great loss, because sex is wonderful and fun and intimate, but it is not a loss of manhood, or a failure.

    Your feelings of failure and emasculation are understandable, though – especially if they have been simmering in isolation and darkness. For threat of sounding too forward, have you considered talking this out with a therapist? I have often found it invaluable to talk through my sexual struggles with a trained therapist, as they can often ask questions and bounce ideas in a way that leads me out of my internal mess.

    • I know that I have to imagine that I am with a man to satisfy my wife. I have doing it, as it makes me feel like I am cheating on her. In the end she gets most of the pleasure and I get ten minutes at most, wracked with guilt as though I had been with a man. I always feel dirty and have to have a shower afterwards.

    • Dean Samuels

      Thank you for the encouragement and reminder, Stephen. To answer your question, no I cannot get a full erection even if thinking about a man. I did wonder if this was part of it when Lisa and I first encountered this issue. But it turns out that this has been a side effect for a long time and we just didn’t know it until I tried to be sexually active again.

      I have had many discussions with my therapists about this as well. Again, I know it’s gone being purely physical to an ugly combination off physics, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The mess is daunting now. I greatly value your reminder that this does not diminish my manhood- that’s something I need to remember constantly. Again, I appreciate your encouragement greatly!

      • Samuel M-Eshleman

        Thanks for sharing, Dean. I think you are quite strong and brave to be this vulnerable! Just know that I respect you for that.

  • opinionmaker

    Dean, I’ve just turned 56. I’ve never married, never had kids and have experienced almost exclusive SSA. I’ve taken antidepressants for my depression and anxiety for approximately ten years. Needless to say, while helpful in treating this mood disorder, it has unwanted sexual side effects. This is something that couldn’t be helped, I’ve experienced the feelings of frustration you wrote about. No matter where my sexual feelings originate, gay or straight, this lack of sexual function can be a frustrating stumbling block to any serious, committed relationship.

    • Dean Samuels

      I’m sorry you have fought this too. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably.

  • Gabriel

    Hello, Dean. I’ve been around here for a while but didn’t feel comfortable to comment. But I would like to let you know I enjoy reading your posts. We have kinda different backgrounds, since I am younger and single. Looking to your stories it make think God can take me further I can imagine. I understand it’s a big problem, in your vision, and I don’t dare discuss it. But it’s a bit an SSA problem, it’s a man (with no other label) problem. Many man deal with that. I expect I am not sounding reductionist, but at least this problem makes me think it’s possible. It’s possible to have a merriage, to have a life together and even have problems together, that are not related to my SSA. Good keep blessing and using you.

  • Samuel M-Eshleman

    This is really difficult for me to read. First, thanks for having the courage to share this intimate piece of your story. Second, as someone who is considering marrying my girlfriend in the future, I am interested in whether the SSA truly is related to the erectile dysfunction, or if you think this would happen regardless of your partner. But, maybe that is a conversation for a private message. Third, you are simply NOT a failure. Sex is only a piece of the picture, and I do not want to get married for sex, I would consider getting married because I want to spend the rest of my life with that person…this is such a tough one. Perhaps, you may want to write a sequel?

  • John

    I never thought I could tell anyone but everything you share is everything I go through every day of my life. Absolute and utter failure as a man. I look so deeply into it and it all comes down to one thing: if I can’t make love to my wife then nothing else matters and I can never be the man I want to be or my wife would need. It is a very long story and would not want to put everyone to sleep but to shorten it I lived a very gay and promiscuous gay lifestyle. I didn’t want a relationship and hold hands walking down the street with a man, I just wanted the sex. The dirty raunchy sex. One day when I was with someone I realized this was bondage and I didn’t even know yet about spiritual bondage. I went on a spiritual journey, got saved but always struggled with this. I met my wife in church and we were young, naive and thought God was just going to work all this out. I told her on our first date so I could be open with her. The reality hit after getting married and the absolutely awful and devastating honeymoon. I could only perform if I fantasized about a man. It got to a point that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to be a strong Christian but this always lurked in the background. We stayed married, sexless and emotionless ( for the life of me I can never understand why my wife would stay with me). Staying married is a constant reminder of my worthlessness. We are married over 30 years and have two grown children. I live in guilt and shame. I ruined her life. I have been through deliverance, emotional healing, counseling. This doesn’t change. I fight with gay porn and go on binges and try to stop. Who can I talk to? Someone in the church? There is nothing anyone can do to help. I pray for God to transform my mind. He alone is my deliver and healer. I wouldn’t trust anyone to talk with. I mean really what is our choices? celibacy and masturbation (which to me is a sin) or the way I am living now. I still have such sexual desire after so many years and ED is certainly not an issue. I can’t even talk to her about it. She only wanted a good husband, love and affection and I couldn’t even provide those basics for her. I am still in this bondage yearning to be free but always seeming to be defeated. Thanks for listening….

    • mistaken identity

      Thanks for sharing that here, John. I agree that God is your deliverer and healer. I don’t understand why deliverance is so dam long in coming sometimes. I know God is not uncaring about your pain, though it must feel that way at times.

      • John

        it does feel that way even though I know it’s not true. Jesus said to take up our cross daily and follow him. This is our cross, I sometimes wonder how I am going to be judged. I pray every night for his grace and mercy and for my sins to not be passed down to my children. You go to men’s group, you don’t fit in, our experience is so different. Some men were molested and can talk about it and there is understanding but when you are just plain attracted to men and can’t give any reason for it the church does not know how to handle this. I went to a counselor once who told me there was nothing he could do for me. So we sit in silent pain, never reaching our potential in God.

        • bluzhawk

          Y’know what brother, I read your comments and hear the pain of many years of being under. What I don’t see is someone who despite all that has stopped wanting to be faithful. There’s something real that God has done in you that keeps you looking to God and looking to Jesus despite the SSA and the porn and the marriage struggles. Jesus is still worth it, isn’t he?

          I don’t know man, why don’t we give up? When hopes of being straight die, replaced with continuing struggles to be sexually pure, and your worth is under continual attack, and the future seems like now just worse, and the weight of doubts can be crushing, in spite of all of that, there’s something real and true and powerful in Christ that gives hope and keeps you going on.

          This SSA thing we hate so much is the place we can know Jesus and the fellowship of His sufferings and become conformed to His likeness. Our sufferings aren’t punishment or pointless, in Christ they produce endurance, something real and true in us, There is a story of Him in you being lived out in our struggles that can mean life to others. John, you being here despite everything and how low you’re feeling inspires me. What if the measure of things isn’t how good our circumstances are, instead it’s the endurance worked out in us to go on.

          • mistaken identity

            Beautiful and true words, Bluz. I can’t improve on them. I hope they encourage you, John.

          • bluzhawk

            Hey mi, how ya doing brother? John’s words hit my heart. Guessing we’ve all been in that place even tho our situations differ. It’s not a mistake or penalty being there. Hope all’s good with you and your better half.

          • mistaken identity

            Struck my heart hard as well. We are good, thank you. Though we have been suffering for about a month with ridiculous allergies. This “super bloom” in CA is deadly. But it is largely our fault, as we can’t seem to stay away from the wildflowers and all those beautiful colors.

        • Hi John! I know what you are going through, believe me. I have been with my wife for nineteen years now. I married her for two reasons: A – I love her; B – I thought it would make me straight; it didn’t. I even cheated on her with my exboyfriend after a stupid fight over laundry, something I still regret. I can count the number of times we have been together on three hands, and each time I had to imagine I was with a guy. I wish I could be attracted to her, but I don’t know how. She deserves better than me. I also fight porn addiction (been celibate since November 2016). I am in this for the long haul though. You aren’t alone!

          • John

            I appreciate being able to discuss it as I never really have. The truth is Jesus revealed himself to me and called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. I can’t imagine my life without him. It is a difficult road we walk but his grace is sufficient for me. I think about if I was not SSA and my wife was. How would I react? I believe I would have left her. I have come to believe it would be better for us to marry women that are SSA so they understand this struggle. At the end of the day we still stand. He knew our struggle from the beginning.

          • bluzhawk

            Last night I was reminded again that this can be a hard and lonely journey. I have a good friend from church, John, who’s straight/married, who had a tree fall on his house in a Thursday storm. I went over to help him chainsaw and carry it away along with 2 guys from the neighborhood. Afterwards, when someone who knows me well, both the SSA and my passion for Christ, heard about going over to John’s house, she was concerned something more was in the works. It wasn’t an accusation, I had to ask why she was uncomfortable. I had thought she was upset that I was running late, but it hit like a sucker punch anyway. She didn’t mean to hurt me, she’s one of the good people in this world, and she apologized later. But I was blindsided by it, that SSA allows even good people to question acts of friendship because the friend is a guy. It still feels unfair but I couldn’t muster anger cause it was a misjudgment. I didn’t feel like a failure cause only good came from helping to remove the tree. But the thought that I was defective landed like a ton of bricks and it made no sense but it was tough to shake.
            Sorry for rambling, still processing, just want to encourage you that the thoughts that crush aren’t from God. “…troubled, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair…” Christ is our ‘but not.’ As you said, it is a difficult road we walk but his grace is sufficient.

          • mistaken identity

            I’m sorry, Bluz. Prayers that the processing will be entirely successful and healing. And grateful that falling bricks are not part of our eternity.

          • bluzhawk

            Hey mi, thanks. I’m good. Shoot, I may be growing up but I find getting blindsided for doing good helps me grow.

            You might like this. Maria’s a 12 yr old in Columbia who’s been thru a lot, including seeing her parents murdered for their faith. People visited her to help her and her brothers find a new home and asked how she’s doing. “In Jesus, nothing ever just happens.” …from a 12 yr old. How sure & strong is that.

          • mistaken identity

            That’s pretty sure. How do you know her story?

          • bluzhawk

            Not sure exactly, I think it was from Voice of the Martyrs. Those who are faithful in persecution inspire me. You can see Christ in them in their stories. I’ve been fortunate to meet some of them.

            There was this guy from Columbia who on his own would go on foot to FARC guerilla camps to tell about Jesus and bring them bibles. A couple times he was held for periods of months. He’s still going in now. You ask him why and he says, “Jesus told us to go. He never said we would come back.” He’s one of the happiest people I know. Brothers and sisters like him encourage me that there’s a reality of Christ to be found and lived on this journey regardless of any troubles.

          • mistaken identity

            Their courage and self-sacrifice is inspiring. When I would read about Jim Elliot and others when I was younger, it would repel me. I thought it was such a waste of a life. Now I get it. As we all struggle to live lives with meaning, they are clear examples.

  • Brad

    Dean, Bradley, John, Mike, and others – thanks for sharing your stories. I can relate some with what you share, though my story is also different – I thought I would share it in case it is helpful or encouraging to anyone. As a warning, some of this gets fairly descriptive, but that is intentional in order to help others struggling with this.
    Before I had started dating my wife, I had some-what “shut down” sexually in my attempts to flee sexual immorality of the SSA variety. As we began dating, that part of me began to subtly re-awaken a bit – though not in an immoral way. We kept our physical relationship very pure. As our wedding day approached, we had our first make out session – first time kissing for more than like 30 seconds. It was probably only a few minutes, but it was in a beautiful setting as the sunset after enjoying intimate conversation. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – and then by who else was enjoying it (hello down there!). I felt to go any further we should be married, so I stopped us there… but I think it was a very helpful step for me as we prepared for marriage. I would encourage any engaged man struggling with SSA to kiss and make out with his fiancé rather than waiting until the wedding night.
    Also, don’t put too high of expectations on the wedding night – the pressure to perform can be so high! It’s actually fairly common for men not to be able to get an immediate erection on their wedding night because of performance anxiety. And that was certainly the case for me. Wish I had known it was common – rather, I was mortiified! And that certainly didn’t help, lol. Mortification and arousal don’t really go together, haha. Anyways, thankfully my wife was very understanding and we just rubbed our naked bodies together for a while – felt like at least 20 minutes! Eventually I started thinking about what we were doing, and about our bodies rubbing together… I started thinking about how different parts of her felt against me, and then: BOING! We were in action. And it was great! Very pleasurable and enjoyable for both of us (we had also read a Christian book about sex together which was helpful for me to understand how women find pleasure during sex). We lost track of how many times we woke up that first night and had sex.
    Now, we usually make love 3 times a week (except when she has her cycle), sometimes an erection comes easily, sometimes a little physical stimulation helps: body rubbing, caressing, or oral. Having sex this often or more reduces my struggle with SSA. I don’t always find myself wanting to initiate sex with my wife, but I’m intentional to do so because of how helpful it is for me as well as for our relationship – and, of course, after I do, I’m always glad I did. 🙂
    For myself, I find that SSA-arousal is like a switch I can flip on (or gets flipped on), whereas sometimes arousal with my wife is more like lighting a fire – which requires prep, kindling, and blowing on the flame, but once it gets going it easily rages on. When I’m spiritually, emotionally, sexually healthy and relationally in a good place with my wife it generally lights up without too much effort – like using dry wood and good kindling to start a fire. When I’m in an unhealthy place, it can take a lot of energy to get the fire going – like trying to light a fire with wet wood and soggy leaves. Sometimes I would resort to fantasizing about men in those cases… but I’m learning healthier techniques. Frequency also helps – during times of struggling I set a goal to make love to my wife every day or at least every other. Another thing that helps if I’m not in the mood is to pleasure her with my hand/fingers. This gives me some time to get in the mood while giving her pleasure and increasing her desires for me (which also helps get me in the mood). Also, thinking, “am I getting erect?” is the opposite of helpful. But focusing on her touch, our kisses, what things I really enjoy about how she looks, touching her in ways that I like, etc. all definitely help.
    A little while back I was in a very low, unhealthy place personally and was struggling with some sexual immorality. My wife and I had been busy and hadn’t had sex for nearly a week. Even after lots of physical stimulation I wasn’t getting erect. I then became very self aware.. I also began thinking about the sexual immorality I was struggling with and became even more self aware. For the first time, we weren’t able to make love when we both wanted to. I felt ashamed in front of my wife – both for not being competent in bed and also for my immorality. We tried again a couple nights later, nothing. And yet another night, failure. My wife was thankfully very understanding. After doing some research, I proposed we just enjoy some intimate time together naked with no expectation of sex, but just kissing, touching, and enjoying each other. My wife agreed, and we did that for a while. It took the pressure off and I found myself starting to get aroused, but then I would get self aware and he would run away and hide. Performance anxiety. After a couple weeks, we decided to make love without insertion but just by rubbing together – I stayed limp the whole time, but both of us climaxed. Not ideal, but better than nothing. We did this for a couple more weeks – naked caressing and cuddling with no expectations of sex, and occasionally making love without insertion. Doing these two things removed the pressure – it was ok to cuddle naked and we had an avenue for climaxing. Four or five weeks after that first night, I achieved a partial erection – using my hand to augment the erection I was able to insert and we properly made love. Felt so good to get over that hurdle, in more than one way, lol. I still struggled for a few weeks/months after that, but talking about how it was still ok if we just cuddled naked helped keep the pressure off. Also, knowing that there are these other options for us helps keep the pressure off too – it has also increased our fore-play, so that’s fun!
    Anyways, I hope my story is helpful for some who are either struggling or worried about struggling with ED. I recognize we’re all different and ED is very complex – with a host of different possible causes, but it’s something that nearly all men will struggle with at some point. Rather than being something the shows us not to be men, it’s really more like something common to the struggle of being a man. Dean, Bradly, John, Mike, and others – ED does not define you and it does not own you. Even if you struggle with it for the rest of your lives you can live lives of victory and fullness in Christ. In Him we lack nothing. May He bless you, dear brothers, with the insight only He can give for your unique situation and may He encourage you with the emotions that can come from only His heart – may you experience His good and wonderful heart for you in new ways! Glad to call you brothers. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  • Brad

    Dean, Bradley, John, Mike, and others – thanks for sharing your stories. I can relate some with what you share, though my story is also different – I thought I would share it in case it is helpful or encouraging to anyone. As a warning, some of this gets fairly descriptive, but that is intentional in order to help others struggling with this.
    Before I had started dating my wife, I had some-what “shut down” sexually in my attempts to flee sexual immorality of the SSA variety. As we began dating, that part of me began to subtly re-awaken a bit – though not in an immoral way. We kept our physical relationship very pure. As our wedding day approached, we had our first make out session – first time kissing for more than like 30 seconds. It was probably only a few minutes, but it was in a beautiful setting as the sunset after enjoying intimate conversation. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – and then by who else was enjoying it (hello down there!). I felt to go any further we should be married, so I stopped us there… but I think it was a very helpful step for me as we prepared for marriage. I would encourage any engaged man struggling with SSA to kiss and make out with his fiancé rather than waiting until the wedding night.
    Also, don’t put too high of expectations on the wedding night – the pressure to perform can be so high! It’s actually fairly common for men not to be able to get an immediate erection on their wedding night because of performance anxiety. And that was certainly the case for me. Wish I had known it was common – rather, I was mortiified! And that certainly didn’t help, lol. Mortification and arousal don’t really go together, haha. Anyways, thankfully my wife was very understanding and we just rubbed our naked bodies together for a while – felt like at least 20 minutes! Eventually I started thinking about what we were doing, and about our bodies rubbing together… I started thinking about how different parts of her felt against me, and then: BOING! We were in action. And it was great! Very pleasurable and enjoyable for both of us (we had also read a Christian book about sex together which was helpful for me to understand how women find pleasure during sex). We lost track of how many times we woke up that first night and had sex.
    Now, we usually make love 3 times a week (except when she has her cycle), sometimes an erection comes easily, sometimes a little physical stimulation helps: body rubbing, caressing, or oral. Having sex this often or more reduces my struggle with SSA. I don’t always find myself wanting to initiate sex with my wife, but I’m intentional to do so because of how helpful it is for me as well as for our relationship – and, of course, after I do, I’m always glad I did. 🙂
    For myself, I find that SSA-arousal is like a switch I can flip on (or gets flipped on), whereas sometimes arousal with my wife is more like lighting a fire – which requires prep, kindling, and blowing on the flame, but once it gets going it easily rages on. When I’m spiritually, emotionally, sexually healthy and relationally in a good place with my wife it generally lights up without too much effort – like using dry wood and good kindling to start a fire. When I’m in an unhealthy place, it can take a lot of energy to get the fire going – like trying to light a fire with wet wood and soggy leaves. Sometimes I would resort to fantasizing about men in those cases… but I’m learning healthier techniques. Frequency also helps – during times of struggling I set a goal to make love to my wife every day or at least every other. Another thing that helps if I’m not in the mood is to pleasure her with my hand/fingers. This gives me some time to get in the mood while giving her pleasure and increasing her desires for me (which also helps get me in the mood). Also, thinking, “am I getting erect?” is the opposite of helpful. But focusing on her touch, our kisses, what things I really enjoy about how she looks, touching her in ways that I like, etc. all definitely help.
    A little while back I was in a very low, unhealthy place personally and was struggling with some sexual immorality. My wife and I had been busy and hadn’t had sex for nearly a week. Even after lots of physical stimulation I wasn’t getting erect. I then became very self aware.. I also began thinking about the sexual immorality I was struggling with and became even more self aware. For the first time, we weren’t able to make love when we both wanted to. I felt ashamed in front of my wife – both for not being competent in bed and also for my immorality. We tried again a couple nights later, nothing. And yet another night, failure. My wife was thankfully very understanding. After doing some research, I proposed we just enjoy some intimate time together naked with no expectation of sex, but just kissing, touching, and enjoying each other. My wife agreed, and we did that for a while. It took the pressure off and I found myself starting to get aroused, but then I would get self aware and he would run away and hide. Performance anxiety. After a couple weeks, we decided to make love without insertion but just by rubbing together – I stayed limp the whole time, but both of us climaxed. Not ideal, but better than nothing. We did this for a couple more weeks – naked caressing and cuddling with no expectations of sex, and occasionally making love without insertion. Doing these two things removed the pressure – it was ok to cuddle naked and we had an avenue for climaxing. Four or five weeks after that first night, I achieved a partial erection – using my hand to augment the erection I was able to insert and we properly made love. Felt so good to get over that hurdle, in more than one way, lol. I still struggled for a few weeks/months after that, but talking about how it was still ok if we just cuddled naked helped keep the pressure off. Also, knowing that there are these other options for us helps keep the pressure off too – it has also increased our fore-play, so that’s fun!
    Anyways, I hope my story is helpful for some who are either struggling or worried about struggling with ED. I recognize we’re all different and ED is very complex – with a host of different possible causes, but it’s something that nearly all men will struggle with at some point. Rather than being something the shows us not to be men, it’s really more like something common to the struggle of being a man. Dean, Bradly, John, Mike, and others – ED does not define you and it does not own you. Even if you struggle with it for the rest of your lives you can live lives of victory and fullness in Christ. In Him we lack nothing. May He bless you, dear brothers, with the insight only He can give for your unique situation and may He encourage you with the emotions that can come from only His heart – may you experience His good and wonderful heart for you in new ways! Glad to call you brothers. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  • Brad

    Dean, Bradley, John, Mike, and others – thanks for sharing your stories. I can relate some with what you share, though my story is also different – I thought I would share it in case it is helpful or encouraging to anyone. As a warning, some of this gets fairly descriptive, but that is intentional in order to help others struggling with this.
    Before I had started dating my wife, I had some-what “shut down” sexually in my attempts to flee sexual immorality of the SSA variety. As we began dating, that part of me began to subtly re-awaken a bit – though not in an immoral way. We kept our physical relationship very pure. As our wedding day approached, we had our first make out session – first time kissing for more than like 30 seconds. It was probably only a few minutes, but it was in a beautiful setting as the sunset after enjoying intimate conversation. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – and then by who else was enjoying it (hello down there!). I felt to go any further we should be married, so I stopped us there… but I think it was a very helpful step for me as we prepared for marriage. I would encourage any engaged man struggling with SSA to kiss and make out with his fiancé rather than waiting until the wedding night.
    Also, don’t put too high of expectations on the wedding night – the pressure to perform can be so high! It’s actually fairly common for men not to be able to get an immediate erection on their wedding night because of performance anxiety. And that was certainly the case for me. Wish I had known it was common – rather, I was mortiified! And that certainly didn’t help, lol. Mortification and arousal don’t really go together, haha. Anyways, thankfully my wife was very understanding and we just rubbed our naked bodies together for a while – felt like at least 20 minutes! Eventually I started thinking about what we were doing, and about our bodies rubbing together… I started thinking about how different parts of her felt against me, and then: BOING! We were in action. And it was great! Very pleasurable and enjoyable for both of us (we had also read a Christian book about sex together which was helpful for me to understand how women find pleasure during sex). We lost track of how many times we woke up that first night and had sex.
    Now, we usually make love 3 times a week (except when she has her cycle), sometimes an erection comes easily, sometimes a little physical stimulation helps: body rubbing, caressing, or oral. Having sex this often or more reduces my struggle with SSA. I don’t always find myself wanting to initiate sex with my wife, but I’m intentional to do so because of how helpful it is for me as well as for our relationship – and, of course, after I do, I’m always glad I did. 🙂
    For myself, I find that SSA-arousal is like a switch I can flip on (or gets flipped on), whereas sometimes arousal with my wife is more like lighting a fire – which requires prep, kindling, and blowing on the flame, but once it gets going it easily rages on. When I’m spiritually, emotionally, sexually healthy and relationally in a good place with my wife it generally lights up without too much effort – like using dry wood and good kindling to start a fire. When I’m in an unhealthy place, it can take a lot of energy to get the fire going – like trying to light a fire with wet wood and soggy leaves. Sometimes I would resort to fantasizing about men in those cases… but I’m learning healthier techniques. Frequency also helps – during times of struggling I set a goal to make love to my wife every day or at least every other. Another thing that helps if I’m not in the mood is to pleasure her with my hand/fingers. This gives me some time to get in the mood while giving her pleasure and increasing her desires for me (which also helps get me in the mood). Also, thinking, “am I getting erect?” is the opposite of helpful. But focusing on her touch, our kisses, what things I really enjoy about how she looks, touching her in ways that I like, etc. all definitely help.
    A little while back I was in a very low, unhealthy place personally and was struggling with some sexual immorality. My wife and I had been busy and hadn’t had sex for nearly a week. Even after lots of physical stimulation I wasn’t getting erect. I then became very self aware.. I also began thinking about the sexual immorality I was struggling with and became even more self aware. For the first time, we weren’t able to make love when we both wanted to. I felt ashamed in front of my wife – both for not being competent in bed and also for my immorality. We tried again a couple nights later, nothing. And yet another night, failure. My wife was thankfully very understanding. After doing some research, I proposed we just enjoy some intimate time together naked with no expectation of sex, but just kissing, touching, and enjoying each other. My wife agreed, and we did that for a while. It took the pressure off and I found myself starting to get aroused, but then I would get self aware and he would run away and hide. Performance anxiety. After a couple weeks, we decided to make love without insertion but just by rubbing together – I stayed limp the whole time, but both of us climaxed. Not ideal, but better than nothing. We did this for a couple more weeks – naked caressing and cuddling with no expectations of sex, and occasionally making love without insertion. Doing these two things removed the pressure – it was ok to cuddle naked and we had an avenue for climaxing. Four or five weeks after that first night, I achieved a partial erection – using my hand to augment the erection I was able to insert and we properly made love. Felt so good to get over that hurdle, in more than one way, lol. I still struggled for a few weeks/months after that, but talking about how it was still ok if we just cuddled naked helped keep the pressure off. Also, knowing that there are these other options for us helps keep the pressure off too – it has also increased our fore-play, so that’s fun!
    Anyways, I hope my story is helpful for some who are either struggling or worried about struggling with ED. I recognize we’re all different and ED is very complex – with a host of different possible causes, but it’s something that nearly all men will struggle with at some point. Rather than being something the shows us not to be men, it’s really more like something common to the struggle of being a man. Dean, Bradly, John, Mike, and others – ED does not define you and it does not own you. Even if you struggle with it for the rest of your lives you can live lives of victory and fullness in Christ. In Him we lack nothing. May He bless you, dear brothers, with the insight only He can give for your unique situation and may He encourage you with the emotions that can come from only His heart – may you experience His good and wonderful heart for you in new ways! Glad to call you brothers. Thanks for sharing your stories.

    • Brad

      This post keeps getting marked as spam