Men will Try Anything to Stay Hard

Feb 15, 2024

Therapist doing online therapy Telehealth

If you ever felt you were under the spotlight when it comes to how you perform in the bedroom or how you measure up in every sense of the word, you’re not alone. Our culture focuses on the idea that a man’s worth is all about penis size and strong erections – sexual skill and size are closely tied to manhood in our world. But this toxic masculinity myth needs to be dispelled as men and those around them may suffer due to these societal pressures.

Why Are We So Obsessed with Size: The Effects of Size-Shaming in Mainstream Culture

Movies, TV, porn, locker room banter, comparison with peers, size jokes made by women, and, more recently, social media all have their share in our culture’s fixation on size and ability to achieve an erection. These myths feed us a bunch of masculinity stereotypes, such as the idea that size is crucial to sexually satisfying your partner, causing millions of boys and men to feel inadequate, unattractive, insecure, or less worthy.

An extensive survey with over 50,000 heterosexual men and women showed that while 85% of women are totally excellent with their partner’s size, only 55% of guys feel good about theirs. Nearly half wished for more, and a tiny 0.2% wanted less. Age doesn’t really change how satisfied men are.

In general, masculinity standards expect males to be strong, self-reliant, and muscular in order to be considered manly. As a result, any man who does not meet this norm may struggle to manage shame and distress related to their penis size, insecurity, and anxiety, have intimacy issues, struggle with erectile dysfunction, or perceive other men as potential threats.

Furthermore, there is a significant correlation between being “manly” and sexual performance, which might lead to unreasonable expectations. You’re not a real man unless you’re hard when you should be and impressive in bed. We’ve picked up this hefty message over time, feeling like our worth is constantly being tested. Every intimate encounter feels like just another test of our masculinity, eroding our self-esteem issues and often leading us down the path of anxiety and depression.

With a wide range of choices available, the industry is feeding the obsession. You’ll find numerous options that claim to enhance your sexual expertise in no time. While certain products may offer a slight improvement, many are filled with false claims and potential dangers.

How This Obsession Impacts Your Well-Being and Relationships

The fixation with size, sexual performance, and staying hard can do a lot of harm to a man’s mental health and relationships. Living under the constant pressure that if you don’t meet specific standards, you’re somehow less of a man may cause anxiety, stress, depression, porn addiction, alcohol and substance abuse, and various other issues. Not to mention putting strain on your relationships, such as creating emotional distance and problems with intimacy. For instance, because you don’t know how to navigate shame and insecurity, you may become aggressive, have difficulty forming meaningful connections, or push your partner away.

If you’re so bought into the myth that being a “real man” means having the “proper” measures and consistently doing well in the bedroom, you may be stressing big time about keeping on top of your game. So, instead of enjoying intimate times with your partner, you may feel nervous about every encounter. The constant stress and anxiety can lead to many awkward moments in bed, causing your partner to feel confused or neglected. If you fail to communicate your issues with them openly, your partner may sense your detachment but not its root cause. This can lead to even greater distance, tension, and communication breakdown in your relationship.

The Real Measure of a Man: How Men’s Counseling Can Help Change Your Narrative

Being a man involves far more than just performance in the bedroom or physical attributes. Traits and behaviors that contribute to having meaningful connections with oneself and others, such as autonomy, integrity, and honesty, is what sets you apart and highlights your masculinity.

However, changing the narrative and breaking the stigma around masculinity is only possible through an open dialogue about our distorted and deep-seated beliefs that our worth is tied to our sexual performance or anatomy.

Turning to mental health professionals specializing in sex and relationships provides a safe environment to challenge negative thoughts, face anxieties, and develop tools to improve both your mental and sexual health. Sex therapy can provide a secure and non-judgmental setting to talk honestly about your insecurities, feelings, expectations, and experiences. Recognizing when it is time to seek help demonstrates strength, not weakness. A skilled counselor can help normalize your feelings and help you feel understood and supported.

Similarly, couples counseling may help address these difficulties with the support of a significant other, allowing you to not only overcome your personal struggles but also strengthen your relationship and improve intimacy.

Let’s connect soon so we can set up a free consultation.

Filippo M. Forni, LMFT is a certified AASECT individual and couples sex therapist. Mr. Forni sees patients throughout California and Florida. His goal is to provide high-quality and effective goal-oriented therapy services to his clientele. He has extensive training in sexuality and multiculturalism and serves as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.