The Real Reason Men Lose Their Erection When Using A Condom

That Awkward Moment When…

If you’re a man, you’ve probably experienced this. Everything is perfect, the foreplay is going great, and the stage is set for a throbbing, mind-blowing, heart-shattering lovemaking. Your erection is strong and powerful, and feeling it turns you on even more.

And then, that moment comes. Your lover looks at you sweetly but squarely in the eyes, and with a soft but firm voice says, “We need to use a condom.”

This makes perfect sense. The risk of STIs and/or pregnancy is real. So you’ve got to wear that condom.

But our genitals don’t understand logic. And, sometimes, it only takes a few seconds of this pause for your penis to soften. Her being sweet and comprehensive only makes things worse: something inside you tells you that you won’t be able to do it if you wear a condom.


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I’ve gone through the same process. I used to consistently lose my erection whenever a woman asked me to wear a condom. It wasn’t pretty. I hate to admit it, but a couple of times I even lied to a partner, telling her that there were no condoms in the house, while I actually had plenty. I just was too scared of sexual failure. Boy, am I grateful that no one got an STI or got pregnant because of that dirty little lie of mine.

So why on Earth does this happen? Why do we men lose our erection because of condoms?

The Real Reason Condoms Turn Men Off…

You might try to fool yourself and others with explanations such as:

  • That you don’t feel enough pleasure with a condom.
  • That a condom squeezes your penis too much.
  • That the pause “takes the romance away”…

But deep in your heart, you know that those are not the real reasons.

As for sensitivity and comfort, you know well that your penis is not all that sensitive. In fact, the harder it is, the less sensitive it is. And as for the non-romanticism of the 2-minutes pause, you have fantasized or have been in way less romantic situations, where your erection stood strong and implacable.

So WHAT is the real reason why you lose your erection? And what can you do about it?

To answer this question, the first thing you need to understand is that your main sexual organ sits in between your ears or, if you prefer, inside your chest. It is your head and your heart that turn you on (or off).

So, the reason why we men lose our erection when a woman asks us to wear a condom is that some deeply uncomfortable thought and/or emotion arises in us in response to that request. And what might that thought or feeling be?

Although every man is different, that uncomfortable thought is virtually always a variation on the same theme: she asking you to wear a condom carries the message that she does not accept you inside her body. And this can be truly devastating for a man.

Some Truths About Male Sexuality

Men love to feel invited, welcomed, by a trusting lover that opens up to their force and thrust. When the body of a woman is welcoming, wet, inviting, this is a huge turn-on for a man. When the body and soul of a woman tense, close up, tighten – this is a turn-off.

Men deeply crave to feel accepted, welcomed, and trusted.

The request to wear a condom challenges that. It can seem to convey the following messages:

  • If you don’t wear it, I won’t let you inside me (you’re unwelcome)
  • I don’t trust you to be healthy, or to control your ejaculation (you’re not trusted)

This is the subterranean thought that runs into most men’s mind, and makes them lose their erection.

Understanding it is the first step towards liberating your sexuality from this blockage.

As a man, you need to realize that, even if you wear a condom, you are welcome and accepted. That she wants you just as badly. In fact, she wants you so badly that she wants to be fully trusting and surrendered. And in order for that to happen, she needs to feel safe. This conviction will take some time to build, but once it’s there, it will never leave you. Condoms won’t be an issue anymore.

In order to get there, the best thing to do is start practicing, both by yourself and with a partner.

Practicing By Yourself

Get familiar and friendly with condoms. Buy a pack of condoms and start experimenting. Wear a condom and play with yourself.

Now, I know that the condom instructions say that you should wear it only when you are fully erect. The reason they say this is that if your penis is not fully erect, then a condom can potentially slip away, which is not cool. But for now, you can forget about this. You are alone, and you can wear a condom even if your penis is completely flaccid. In fact, you should practice this skill. Wear a condom on your soft penis, and then stimulate your penis so that it becomes hard.

Familiarize yourself with the condom, and lose your aversion to it. This will be really useful once you practice with a partner.

Practicing With a Partner

This is potentially going to be scary, so you’ll need to set a firm intention: you won’t back off. You will wear a condom no matter what, whether you end up having intercourse or not.

Next time you have the opportunity, do not wait for your partner to propose using a condom. Once you have enjoyed your foreplay long enough, go ahead and say the magic phrase: “I’ll put on a condom now, just in case.”

That means that, whether you are going to penetrate your partner or not, you can wear a condom anyway and then continue with whatever you were doing. At some point you may even forget that you have a condom on.

Your partner also has a role in this. You can ask her to support you in a very simple way: by doing with your penis exactly what she would do with it if there were no condoms. Touching it, sucking it, teasing it—just as if that condom did not exist.

And now, if the moment is ripe for both of you, still wearing your condom, penetrate her. Don’t worry if your erection isn’t that strong. In that case, just make sure to hold the bottom of your condom with your fingers to make sure it doesn’t slip away. But do get yourself to the point where you can penetrate her while still wearing a condom.

This moment is a threshold, and after that, the rest will be much easier. The more you feel that things are going well, the more natural it will become to continue making love with a condom. You will notice that it isn’t all that different from not using it, and that wearing a condom will give both of you more confidence and a feeling of safety. Since you are practicing here, refrain from ejaculating inside your partner, even if you are wearing a condom. The purpose now is to gain confidence with condoms—not necessarily to have the hottest lovemaking of your life.

Every man on this planet should be able to make love with a condom, if necessary. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to our partners, men or women. Asking a partner not to use condoms just to protect our sexual pride is not an option. If two lovers decide to not use condoms, let that be a conscious decision, rather than a slippery workaround of a sexual blockage.

Have fun!

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raffa_200x200Raffaello Manacorda (but you can call him Raffa, he likes that) is a Tantra teacher, author, and coach. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy, he spent more than a decade living in alternative communities and working as a radical activist. He discovered Tantra early in his twenties, and then went on to explore the deep secrets of sex and spirit. He is the creator of The Network of Love, an international workshop on conscious relationships, and a regular columnist for The Elephant Journal. His current obsession is human evolution in all of its aspects, and he loves to rant about Tantra, sexuality, and conscious relationships.

Check out Raffa’s Website or connect with him on FacebookYoutube, or Twitter.


  • Franciscoach says:

    Hi Raffa,

    Thanks a lot for bringing some light in this matter. I have asked myself a few times what was going on.
    It is true we want to feel accepted, welcomed, and trusted otherwise what is the point.
    Amazing post.

  • Deirdre says:

    This is really beautiful, thanks for writing. A man’s willingness to wear a condom with me has often deepened my trust and sense of surrender. Although I prefer, when possible, to not have that barrier between myself and my lover, I of course, always want to feel safe as well. Especially in circles where people are practicing relationships or sex with various partners, it is a the fore of responsible engagement…

  • I think the practice idea is great. Since before I had sex, I have always carried condoms for the simple reason that I would not wish to be responsible for an unwanted pregnancy, nor would I wish to contract or pass on STDs. I like the wisdom of one of my teachers Chester Mainard when he said words to the effect of “If I want someone so badly I can taste them, a millimetre of condom is not gong to make any difference”. For me, safe(r) sex is hot sex.

  • maenad says:

    I’m sorry, but i have to ask – why does the woman even have to ask in this situation? it’s just as much the mans responsibility to consider the consequences of unprotected sex. If it was the mans decision to wear a condom, surely that would be beneficial for him from a psychological point of view? If the woman doesn’t want him to wear one, she can always ask him not to.
    And what’s this about the male his ejaculation? When I was a midwife, we had a name for people who practiced the withdrawal method. It was ‘Parents’.

  • V says:

    You can’t be sure you didn’t spread any stis when not using a condom. There are strains of HPV that are undetectable in men that cause cancer in women.
    Wrap it up. Every time.

  • max just says:

    silly article. so way off the mark.

  • Darrell says:

    Here are my thought on the use of condoms for my self, does not nessicary apply to anyone one else. When i am with a new partner witch is very rare these days, I would always use a condom. I rarely tell a new partner, but I sometimes get hair caught in the rolls of the condom and it can be painful in addition to that i sometimes get blisters from the friction where the rolls of the condom touch the base of the penis, possibly because of the hair caught in the rolls. Another thing that seems to happen is that I either I do not have an orgasum or it takes a very long time and we both get exhausted buy the time I climax, sometimes I just give up and pretend i am satisfied yes men fake satisfaction too, because we do not want to potentially hurt your feelings. Once I feel completely accepted and trusted I like to get tested and share the results then i seem to have a rich and satifying experience that is a much more electifying experience for me personally. Condoms have their place for sure but for some they are just a bit of a barrior that can be delt with if you are patient and willing to go the extra mile and get tested. Possibly not pratical for recreational sex or one offs but I’m just not into that.

  • Reece says:

    Some good insights here I’m sure will land for some men. I would’ve liked to’ve seen more insistence that men take responsibility for being protected, instead of the repeated ‘when she asks you to…’.

  • Andre Borges says:

    I totally get this, but i just want to ask something else and you guys might help, how many times have you lost an erection in your life? I’m 30 and i’ve lost it twice, and for some reason i can’t seem to forgive myself about it, i think that its my fault and that it shouldn’t have happened. I wasn’t using a condom btw.

    • Prince says:

      I have lost it like so many times, with condom more often than without condoms. I have sex only with my wife and I use condom only to avoid pregnancy. The pause to wear a condom definitely makes me loose my erection and it is then very hard to attain again. In no condom scenario, also I have lost erection when trying to penetrate my wife. Sometimes, it is hard to penetrate and feels like hitting a wall, and I lose my erection due to this. Then when I lose it is hard to attain.

    • Max says:

      Almost every time I had sex. With rare exceptions. I’d say my rate is 8 out of 10 times losing it while wearing condom.

  • Max says:

    I’m almost crying at this point. This happens to me all my sexual life, more than 10 years now. I don’t date anymore, having just occasional hookups and this happens almost every single time. Perfect foreplay, BJ, I’m rock hard all the time, but when it goes in with condom – DONE. LOST IT. FEEL NOTHING. I’m yet to find someone who would agree to help me practice and overcome this. It wasn’t like that with my exes, but with random partners – this is the only thing I get. I lost so many good ongoing partners because of that. It’s really depressing.

    • Owen says:

      Max. Whilst scrolling down these comments I was waiting to see a comment like yours. Why? Because I thought I was the only one. In this instance, you and I share the exact same problem, Exactly. The first few seconds it’s on, buddy here just says no… I first thought (as absurd as it sounds, I had to try) it was because maybe we were having sex in the dark, meaning I can’t see anything and being so used to coming to porn (visual stimulation) I thought I’d try in the day. Well… Looks like I was wrong.. This crushed me because I now knew it was the condom. Most women in my country don’t entertain unprotected sex so now I was in the mix of do I have ED? Because I could keep an erection, ejaculate with no condom and to porn. At being 20, this is starting to knock on my sexual self-esteem.

      Imagine this… The last encounter I had with a lady from work, for the very first time with her, my erection issue rose again (haha). I got erect, put the condom on but 5-10 strokes in from behind, I could feel myself being flacid and I got a cramp in my thigh. Instead of trying to screw it of and bare it I used that an went over the top dramatic and lied and said I’d just torn a tendon from a prior sports injury… Can you imagine… Now this poor lady is feeling so so bad and apologetic but in my mind I’m screaming at myself. Had to even limp and pull faces whilst walking her to the Uber waiting at the gate. What a way to boost my esteem for the first intercourse in 2018…

  • Sami says:

    I’m not sure if you have researched this topic before writing it or you just contemplated it while reflecting only on your own experience. From my experience, using a good old Durex latex condoms is great. Never lost an erection while putting it. However, my current partner has a latex allergy and I’m forced to used non-latex condoms, and let me tell you: those are the worst to erection. 9 times out of 10 I lose the erection; my penis gets really numb and I can’t feel it anymore. Is it the size? the lubricant? I have no idea but what is the solution? I think I’m going to have to try other brands and different sizes. As for losing the erection because I’m not feeling accepted !! what a load of BS!!

  • Jesus Martin says:

    Nice post..!! Nowadays many of the men suffer from the issue called erectile dysfunction. It affects the sexual life of men and women. Also, the condom is a satisfaction for the with man and woman sexual life. I am following you all ideas. Thank you for an excellent blog.

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