Why Does My Penis Go Soft During Sex?

Going soft during sex can be devastating to your relationship. Found out why this is happening and how you can fix it.

Dr. Jordan Soper
AASECT certified sex therapist specializing in sexual anxiety and trauma
by Dr. Jordan Soper Last updated 12/06/2023

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Limp Vegetable representing limp penis

If you're a man and you have sex, odds are you’ve either already gone limp or will go limp during sex at some point in your life.

Many things could be keeping you from maintaining an erection.

Even just the fear alone of going soft during sex can be enough to cause it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, is there anything you can do about it? 

Your erection problems are likely due to some underlying issues, most of which are well within your ability to control.

Quick FAQs

Absolutely, things like alcohol and tobacco usage can have a major impact on why you go soft inside of her during sex.

This would obviously depend on the medication, but things like SSRIs can cause temporary erectile dysfunction

Yes, in fact erectile dysfunction is often an early warning sign of cardiovascular issues.

So why do I go soft during sex?

Possible cause for going limp during sex

There are numerous types of sexual difficulties, and unfortunately, going soft after penetration is one of them.

The list of potential causes can be quite varied:

  • Health conditions
  • Medications
  • Hygiene
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco usage
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Also, things like mental health disorders - and their treatments - can profoundly affect your ability to maintain an erection, regardless of how aroused you are.

For many guys, losing an erection during sex is a short-term thing that only happens once in a while.

For others, going soft inside your partner is a longstanding issue.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the more common causes and things you can do to fix it.

1. You drank too much

Alcohol induced erectile dysfunction

Alcohol can be a double-edged sword.

Yes, it gives you liquid courage, but take it easy because too much alcohol can cause circulatory issues.

Alcohol consumption is associated with decreased blood flow to the penis, which in turn may cause you to lose your erection during sex.

This usually only happens when you've had a lot of alcohol in a single night, like in a binge session.

Alcohol can weekend the blood vessels of the penis

If you do end up experiencing “whisky-dick,” there isn’t much you can do about it.

It will go away on its own once blood alcohol levels decrease and you begin to sober up.

Studies show that longer-term alcohol abuse can cause systemic damage to your heart and liver that weaken the vessels in your penis.

A weak erection can be like a canary in a coal mine to alert you that you have underlying health issues, so talk to your doctor.

2. Are you taking SSRIs?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an excellent tool for treating some forms of depression and anxiety.

40-65 percentage of people using SSRIs have reported sexual dysfunction issues

But, studies show SSRIs have been shown to cause some form of sexual dysfunction in an estimated 40% to 65% of people who take them.

If you’re taking, or considering taking an SSRI, it’s important to know that the side effect profile of these prescription drugs may lead to erection problems during sex.

3. Damaged dopamine receptors

Damaged dopamine receptors in the brain can cause sexual dysfunction issues

Dopamine is the neurochemical responsible for enforcing repeated behavior because it's connected to things that feel good, like:

  • having sex
  • eating delicious foods
  • getting sunshine
  • exercising

Dopamine surges when you do something good. It makes you want to do that thing again.

But when you consistently flood your brain with dopamine, you stop responding to it.

Being "plugged in" constantly makes dopamine readily available and incredibly desensitizing.

Simply scrolling through TikTok or Instagram for a few minutes floods our brains with dopamine, so we end up needing more just to get the same effect.

If you're used to the quick, one-sided gratification of porn, your ability to maintain an erection during sex could be affected.

Damaged dopamine receptors can make focusing on any task difficult, including prolonged penetrative sex.

4. Bad hygiene

Poor hygiene could cause sexual dysfunction issues

It doesn't matter if it's your wife or a one-night stand. Poor hygiene is a mood killer.

No matter what you do or think, a physical turnoff is hard to combat.

Keep in mind, hygiene is a two-way street. If you’ve let yourself go, your wife may no longer want to do those extra little things she knows you love.

5. Performance anxiety

Performance anxiety can cause you to go limp during sex

Almost every guy has had performance anxiety at some point in their life.

Whether you're with a new partner or just someone you like, you can very easily psych yourself out.

That may affect your ability to stay hard.

Psychological reasons are often the most common triggers of going soft during sex.

Fortunately, sexual performance anxiety will usually go away the more you get to know someone.

Foreplay is a great way to slow things down a bit. By focusing on their pleasure, you can give yourself a few minutes to get ready. 

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Don’t forget to focus on your body.

Being mindful of how your body is feeling in the moment and what sensations you are experiencing can reduce worries and anxieties about performance.

Use your senses to increase pleasure and in the moment focus.

6. Loss of attraction

Loss of attraction to your partner could be causing you to go limp during sex

This can be an acute or a long-term problem, but sometimes we just simply lose attraction to our partner.

In a long-term marriage or relationship, sometimes both parties just lose that spark.

So, if you’re going soft during sex and you think it's from a loss of attraction, try identifying what you found attractive in your partner before and see if that's something that can be replicated now.

Maybe it's just a matter of spicing things up in the relationship.

You can try:

It's natural for attraction to change over time, but it doesn't mean it's gone forever.

Pro Tip: If you're curious about prostate milking then the Vector Prostate Massager could be just the thing you need to help keep your compass pointed north.

7. Tobacco Usage

Tobacco usage can cause sexual dysfunction issues

Tobacco damages your blood vessels, quite dramatically, making them more rigid as it hurts the endothelial cells that line them.

Rigid blood vessels don’t transport blood as efficiently, leading to softer erections.

In addition, tobacco usage can decrease your libido and even lead to infertility.

So, cut out the tobacco and enjoy not only better sex but a whole host of other benefits.

8. Medical Issues

An underlying medical issue can be a more cryptic but alarming reason for going soft.

It can be as simple as being overweight.

But, other conditions, like atherosclerosis or diabetes, damage your blood vessels and restrict blood flow to your genitals. It may also causing a whole host of other problems that you will also need to address.

Erectile dysfunction often an early warning sign of heart disease

Medical professionals note that erectile dysfunction is often the first sign of heart disease.

So, if you're getting older and you start experiencing issues with ED, talk to your doctor. Your life might very well depend on it.

Likewise, if you have any reason to suspect you have diabetes, speak with your GP. These conditions can be managed and treated, but you will need to work with your physician.

High blood pressure is another troublesome condition that wreaks havoc on your circulation, including blood flow to your penis.

Losing 10% of body fat can improve erectile functioning

For guys who are having trouble because of their weight, simply losing 10% of your body fat can help. Cut the processed food and sugar and start exercising.

Pro Tip: Try weight lifting; it triggers your body to release human growth hormone and testosterone, which helps burn fat and boost your libido.

In addition to changing your habits and improving your health, you may consider adding a supplement.

Sexual health supplements, like VitaFLUX Nitric Oxide Booster, can be clinically proven to help with erectile functioning.

Important takeaways

Nearly all causes of erectile dysfunction - during penetration or otherwise - can be treated if they're addressed.

The acute causes can be addressed easily, like:

  • performance anxiety
  • too much alcohol
  • poor hygiene

The fact is most men will experience temporary erectile dysfunction.

It's normal – don't let it get you down.

In fact, infrequent occurrences of some erectile difficulties by age 40 are reported at 90%, so you’re definitely not alone.

Just focus on fixing any of the underlying issues and, when you're ready, get back in the saddle!

Maybe your penis doesn't go soft during sex, but you have trouble with premature ejaculation. If that's the case, consider trying a climax control spray.

Dr. Jordan Soper

Dr. Jordan Soper

Dr. Jordan Soper is a Board Certified Psychologist, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, and owner of The Center for Sexual Health and Wellness in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Soper’s areas of expertise include evidence-based treatment for sexual health and functioning disorders, anxiety, and trauma with diverse populations including military/Veterans, first responders, police officers, members of the LGBTQ+ community, young professionals, students, therapists, sexual assault survivors, and members of the BDSM/Kink/Fetish community. She is passionate about education, advocacy, and using humor to decrease shame and stigma around mental and sexual health concerns.


Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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