I lose my erection when I have to put on a condom



Dear Cat,

I am a heterosexual male and want to embrace the swinging lifestyle. I’ve always been very sexual but I’m not into relationships but hate condoms.

As soon as the woman asks me to wear a condom my hard on goes soft or when I have to put the condom on I lose my erection. How am I supposed to have sex? Surely my partners should be okay with no condoms so that I can be hard?


Hi Perry,

Thanks for your question.

Safe sex is important if you want to embrace the swinging lifestyle. Australia has a huge STI problem right now so don’t even think of having sex with a new partner without engaging in safe sex. Using condoms and plenty of lube is everything if you’re having multiple sexual partners.

This is surmountable and you can have sex with condoms with a hard cock.

And no you should never ever expect or even demand a new sexual partner to expose herself to possible pregnancy or STI or HIV risks for you. You need to drop this right now.

It’s possible to stay hard when wearing a condom or when the topic comes up.

Firstly let’s expand your idea of sex.

There’s lots of sexual play and interactions you can have without putting your penis into something. Use your hands and play.

Understanding how distractions impact your hard on

Recent research revealed men could lose their erections if there was a lack of privacy.

Go shopping and do some condom research

Condoms shouldn’t be a problem. Try buying some different brands until you find one you like. They’re pretty thin and there’s some condom brands that have won awards for their thin sensation or the speed at which you can put them on.

Have a play with condoms made of different materials until you find one you like and try all different types of lubricants.

I started drinking coffee for the first time a few years ago. I still get a bit confused going into a cafe deciding between all the different types of coffees to choose from (fellow Australian coffee drinkers will understand). Finding condoms and lube is similar. There’s a lot to choose from out there. Try it all and settle on your favourites.


Fit the condom correctly
Condom use is almost 100% effective when used properly and fitted correctly. The condom should completely cover the length of your penis with enough room at the tip for ejaculate.

Make sure you buy specific larger or smaller sizes if you find the standard condom doesn’t fit you properly.

If the condom is too small it might break or be very uncomfortable.

If you’re very well endowed a standard condom will feel too tight.

If the condom is too big it might slip off.

Measure your penis when it’s erect to discover what condom size you need. You’ll need to measure the length and the width.

Use plenty of lubrication

Try putting a tiny bit of lube on the end of your penis before putting the condom on and you might feel more sensation. Experiment with this on your own first so you only use the smallest amount which doesn’t stop the condom coming off.

Make sure you’re using lube with your partner during the sexual act and so the condom doesn’t rip or tear. Put some lube on the outside of the condom and on her vulva and vagina. Better still, get her to do it. Much sexier.

Look within
What’s happening with you right now shines the light on what our biggest sexual organ is- and that’s our brain!

I’d be curious to spend a few sessions with you exploring what’s happening mentally with you when your sexual partner asks you to wear a condom. What issues and memories do you have tied up with condoms and how do you feel when a woman asks you to wear one? I’d be asking you to challenge thoughts that were linked to this act that could be disempowering your sexuality and libido. It’s a matter of reframing this moment so that your mind interprets it as very sexy.

Start to associate the request for condoms as wild, confident and carefree sex. The problem with the word ‘safe’ is that in the heat of the moment some people love ‘risk’ and ‘thrill.’ You might need to retell this story for yourself- see wild, sexual pleasure as having a condom in place where you can really let go without worrying.

Is this part of a bigger problem?

Have you been losing your erections regularly regardless of whether the condom is involved or not? It would be vaulable for you to book a session with a sex therapist such as myself to assess whether there’s any deeper psychological issues leading to these losses of erection.

Various medications, anxiety and depression can cause erection loss. I’d also want to investigate your lifestyle and overall health. Smoking, drinking, nutrition and lack of exercise can impact erections.

Solo Latex Practice
Start with practicing with the right sized condoms alone. This can help break down the obstacle you might have against them in your mind. It can help you make sure you’re putting it on your erect penis correctly so you’ll be less likely to get flustered with a partner.

If you spend some time on your own self pleasuring and playing with getting the condom on you can check that you’re actually wearing the right size condom and turn it into a pleasurable game. You could masturbate wearing a condom to get used to the sensations and start to associate it as a pleasurable thing rather than as a barrier to pleasure.


It’s important to relax. It’s okay for men to lose their erections sometimes and not be 100% hard all the time. Breathe and focus on the awesome sensations when you’re with your partner. Things don’t always have to be super serious. You can have a laugh if that makes it easier or make a joke that it will come back soon. Anxiety around putting on a condom can make a man lose an erection.

Condoms for oral sex always

If you’re having multiple sexual partners it’s important to be wearing a condom when your sexual partner gives you oral sex for it to be defined as safe sex. Using condoms during oral sex can help you get used to the sensation of the condom during vaginal intercourse.

Don’t stop the stimulation

Keep stroking yourself with your hand or ask your partner to manually stimulate you whilst putting the condom on.

Change things around

If the stress happens when she actually says, “put on a condom” then when things are getting heated but still pretty early on just put on a condom on yourself just so that it’s on.

Try to stop only putting the condom on just before the sexual act requires it and see if this helps. This can take the pressure off.  You could say something like, “I”m just putting it on now for later…..”

Now keep doing whatever sexy things it was that you were doing before putting the condom on and try to forget you’re even wearing it.

Get her to put the condom on

This could become an arousing sexual practice in itself, perhaps she could put the condom on with her mouth or stimulate your shaft with her breasts or hands whilst opening the packet. Try to incorporate the act of putting the condom on into the sexual act rather than pausing all sexual contact and then resuming it again.
Use your imagination. There’s so many sexy ways to do this.

Try the female condom

This could be very liberating for you! You could try switching between male and female condoms on different days. Just don’t ever use them at the same time!

The woman can insert the female condom well ahead of time so there won’t be that ‘break’ in sexual activity that can lead to the distraction or anxiety that can lead to you losing your erection.

She can even put the female condom on before sexual activity even starts so there’s only freeflow continuity!

Alternatively she can put it on in front of you as part of sexy foreplay.

The inner ring of the female condom can stimulate the tip of your penis and the outer ring can stimulate the woman’s clitoris.

Some men find them more comfortable because they don’t fit so tightly around the penis like a male condom does and they don’t dull sensations at all.

Some are latex free so perfect if you or your partner has a latex allergy or sensitivity.