Ask Emily: How Do I Get a Stronger Erection?

Silhouette of a strong shirtless man outlined in rim lighting.

Dear Emily,

Personal question for you, how do I improve my erection during sex? I lose it sometimes (go soft) and it’s REALLY stressful. I get embarrassed especially when my partner’s giving me a hand job or a blow job and I don’t want them to think I’m not attracted to them, it’s just that I get nervous and it goes away. Are there any exercises I can do or tools you can recommend? I’ve heard you talk about this on the show before and mention anxiety, which I am working on, but if you could suggest something I could do in the moment that’d be great.

Thank you so much,


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Hi Ted! Thank you so much for reaching out.

This is a super common issue for penis owners, and I can assure you that you’re not alone. But first, a little anatomy lesson.

When a penis gets erect, it’s because you’re aroused. Blood flows in through your arteries, engorging your penis to make it bigger and stiffer. Then, the veins in your penis narrow, trapping the blood in until you orgasm.

The most common causes behind unpredictable erections are usually:

  • Vein health. If the veins aren’t squeezing properly, it could be because of your overall cardiovascular health. Are you exercising on a regular basis?
  • Medications. Some medications make it harder to stay sexually aroused. Since you mentioned anxiety, I wanted to mention that. Are you currently on any medications with this potential side effect?
  • Anxiety or stress. When we go into fight or flight, our body directs blood flow away from the penis.

I’m guessing it’s probably the third one for you. But if you’re curious, I talk about other causes behind ED (erectile dysfunction) here.

For the long-term, I definitely recommend any and all anxiety-release practices that keep your nervous system calm. Daily meditation, deep breathing before you’re about to have sex, regular mindfulness exercises: all of it will help soothe your fight or flight response, so that when your partner is touching you, you don’t get overly nervous.

But in the moment, I recommend a penis ring. It basically does your veins’ job for you.

In this situation especially, use one with an easy and adjustable latch system, so you can get it on quickly without interrupting play. FirmTech makes one I’ve been recommending a ton lately: their Performance Ring, with a latch and loop design that distinguishes it from other penis rings (which typically rely on stretch alone to get them on and off). Unlike most rings, it doesn’t pinch or block blood getting into penis. You can wear it comfortably for hours. It applies soft pressure to the veins around the base of your penis and testicles, keeping the blood trapped in to help you last longer. Removal is effortless, so you don’t have to fumble around with it when you’re with your partner.

Finally Ted, I want to provide you some perspective. I’m not sure if you watch porn, but if you do, know this: porn films are often shot over a series of days. That’s right! Penis owners may look like they’re going and going, but in reality, the average penis owner lasts 5 to 7 minutes. So please don’t beat yourself up, or compare yourself to an unreasonable (and staged) standard!

Just get a penis ring, and switch up your sexual activities in the moment. Going down on your partner while your erection comes back? A win-win for everybody.

Hope that helps! Thank you so much for your question!