Advice on Erection Issues in Full Swap – New to Swinging


swinging, polyamory, & non-monogamy adviceWe here at The Swingset are always happy to help with any questions or concerns you have, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Q. My wife of 18 years and I are new to the lifestyle. We are both loving the hell out of it and feel great about what it is doing for us and our life. We have a couple we play with and have become great friends as well. We have a million things in common and hang out with them in all aspects of our life.

We have managed to check just about everything off of your check list that can be done with 4 people. The one exception to that is I have not had penetrative sex with our female play partner. ( just to clarify I have not with the Male partner either I'm straight).

Our last night of play lead itself to my wife and our male partner having sex. I didn't object or have any issues with it and still don't. I was not as turned on by it as all the other activities have turned me on. I have told my wife if she wants to do it again that is great.

The problem is when I started to have sex with the female I lost my erection. I have never had this happen to me before. I'm am 38 and only been with my wife since before we met. I can only assume it was the situation and pressure. Originally we were not super attracted to either of them physically, however as our friendship has grown we have all grown close and have great chemistry. I have had no problem staying hard for any of the other “soft swap” activities and I am excited by the idea of having sex with her.

My question is how did you overcome these types of problems. We have had vanilla times with these two since, but no play dates. I don't think anyone is intentionally stopping them just no time. We have become great friends in a short time and hang out a lot with our families. I am however worried about having this problem again and am hesitant to try again. Any advise you have would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. we love your shows and all of your blogs.

Thank you, B


[Through follow up emails with B, I determined that he does not use condoms with his wife, or during the soft swap portion of the evening, but did during the full swap portion. This information informed my answer to him]

My first thought is that you're doing something dramatically different in the sexual arena than you do with your wife. You're wearing a condom. This can cause the erectile issues you mentioned. I'm not about to tell you to go ahead and bareback swing, so my first recommendation would be starting to use condoms with your primary partner, as well as when you masturbate. This will allow you to get used to the condom experience, because it is different of course.

It may take a little time, but it'll be one less thing to be thinking about. Excess thinking leads to distraction, which can lead to ED. (Way to go, Coop, tell the readers to try not thinking.)

Also, you may need a larger condom. According to Trojan's website, standard condoms are made for penises that are 4.8″-5.1″ inches in girth. Even if you're just marginally larger than that range (5.2″) that's enough that regular condoms might feel uncomfortable around your penis. I'm not carrying a baseball bat between my legs, but when I switched to magnums, a lot of my condom issues and ED issues went away.

Beyond that, any time you experience something new and pressuring in the sex department, it's very common to have issues with your erection. The best thing for you is to go into the experience knowing there is much you can (and should) do that doesn't involve your penis, this will help alleviate some of the pressure.

Bottom line is it shouldn't matter (though I know it does) and you shouldn't worry about it (but I know you will) so try to be patient and not put so much pressure on your buddy.



About Cooper Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.


  1. As the male half of a non-monogamous couple, I’ve had similar issues. Here’s my take.

    If erection is not a problem at other times, then you can rule out physical issues. (Some percentage of ED is physically based, but if your dick works in some situations, then you’re probably physically fine.)

    Erections and psychological & emotional state are inseparably linked. New/odd/ situations can get you into your head – which is like kryptonite for erections. That’s what was causing my issues, and it sounds like yours. We all want to be pleasing to a new partner, and that’s a fair amount of psychological stress. At the first sign that your erection is softening, your brain kicks into overdrive and you go “oh no!” Then it becomes a self-defeating spiral. You start thinking”I’m not going to perform well, she’s going to be disappointed, I have to get it up”, which adds more pressure to you, and lessens your erection, which you can’t help but notice, and then the cycle starts again, building on itself. Soon you’re stuck in your head about your performance, and your dick just surrenders, screaming, “I can’t take the pressure!” 🙂

    Here are a few things that worked for me.

    1) As Coop says, get used to condoms. If you haven’t used them recently, they are a big change and getting used to them will help a lot.

    2) Talk it over with your new partner. Let her in on what’s going on – don’t be embarrassed. If she’s cool enough to hang with and wanna have sex with – she’ll be cool enough to help you past a little initial stage fright. Make sure she understands that it’s because you are attracted to her and that you really wanna do well for her. That’s a pretty flattering thing to hear, and she may need to hear it, because she may be thinking she’s not hot enough to keep you interested. Make sure she knows that’s absolutely NOT the case.

    3) Go slow, and work around it. Enjoy some touching, sucking, or a nice mutual masturbation session. Let your dick set the pace. The more you get used to being naked and sexual with her as a partner, the more you’ll be able to relax. Once you’re relaxed, your dick will take care of itself. 🙂

    4) If you need a confidence boost, you can take a small dose of erection medication. I like the 5mg size (smallest there is) of Cialis. I only need to use it with a new partner, and I only need to use it once. I don’t need a raging elephant hard-on… I just need a little help to overcome the “stage fright”. If your situation is similar to mine, once is all that you’ll need. Once I’ve had successful and mutually-satisfying intercourse with my new partner once – the stage fright is gone. My dick works just like it’s supposed to from there on out, and I don’t need the Cialis any more.

    Hope that helps!

  2. My boyfriend and I have a similar problem. He has trouble maintaining an erection due to medications. I also can’t easily achieve orgasm. Viagra did not work and he doesn’t want to try a cockring. He has accepted this but I have not. Is there anything else available and how do we convey this to our possible partners. I am bi and he is bi curious. We have had several MFM threesomes and one couple. I would like to start seeing couples but this situation makes him unwilling to

  3. Amy, many of us who deal with medication issues.

    A little known secret that I stumbled upon in my reading is something called Trimix. You can read about it here from a woman’s perspective:

    So, here is another fun tidbit about this. As I was becoming thrilled with the results of Trimix as almost all men do once they get past the fear factor….I read a story about how some folks in the porn industry actually use Trimix for male stamina. The reason being once you ejaculate you are still erect for more than an hour. This should give your guy the wood to do you right. Hope that helps.

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