the limp noodle

This is probably the only post you will ever read from me about soft dicks. Just so ya know.

It’s not that I have a problem with dicks, soft or otherwise. Sometimes they’re kinda cute; sometimes they’re fun to play with. It’s just that I get so annoyed with the way people locate penises as utterly central to the idea of sex, as though there were no such thing as Real Sex without a throbbing phallus in the room, that I often have limited patience for the topic.

But recently, someone wrote to me asking for some advice. He’d had a date with a hot girl, and – horror of horrors – he lost his hard-on and couldn’t get it back. He wanted to know what the heck to do in case it should happen again. He was so genuine in his distress, and so inoffensive in his manner of approaching the subject, that I couldn’t help but respond with a bit of thoughtfulness instead of just rolling my eyes. After all, the poor guy who’s internalized all of society’s obsessions with male performance and the absolute primacy of the erect member, as well as the writhing shame that comes with its occasional “failure” to, erm, stand up and be counted… well, it’s not his fault the world is fucked up and wants to take out its neuroses on his poor weenie.

So I wrote back to him with more or less the following thoughts…

I don’t know if I can give a ton of advice on the limp noodle question except to tell you two things from my own experience that may or may not be of use.

One: it’s pretty normal for a guy to go limp from the stress during the first one to three dates with a new gal – it’s just the fact of being with someone new, from what I can tell. With me, it’s happened with guys in their teens and men in their forties. Sometimes, if not stress, it’s about being distracted by other things, upset about something and not talking about it, tired, dehydrated, or any number of other factors. Happens all the time.

Two: the absolute best male lovers I’ve had have been the ones who aren’t penis-focused. So many heterosexual guys are cursed with this idea that the cock is the central apparatus to a sexual encounter… it’s really a shame. Even the most awesome, sweet guys can have this perception, and all it does is reinforce a really restrictive norm. Seriously, the best advice I’ve ever given guys about sex is, pretend you don’t have a cock, and take it from there. Really, I wouldn’t bother seeing the limp noodle as an issue at all, unless a guy is concerned that there might be a medical reason at the root of it, in which case by all means he should go get himself checked out. Beyond that, his perception of it as a problem will doubtless only serve to make the stress factor even worse. Imagine if women got all upset if they were having a “dry” day…

I don’t in any way mean to be dismissive of men’s concerns, just cautioning that there’s a cultural imperative that comes into play around penis “performance” that’s got nothing to do with the satisfaction of a guy’s lover, or her likelihood to come back for seconds. Or thirds. And so forth. In recent years, as though pop culture’s phallic obsession weren’t enough, we’ve seen the pharmaceutical companies jump all over the idea of “erectile dysfunction” as though the entire male half of the population were somehow a collective failure in need of medication… icky.

Even if it’s technically accurate in its broadest sense, it’s ludicrous to label someone with a disease-like sounding diagnosis because they occasionally sport a semi or go soft. It would be like telling someone they have a speech impediment because they sometimes stutter a bit when they’re nervous, slur when they’re drunk or trail off when they’re tired. Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and related health issues are generally at the root of frequent erectile difficulties; genuine penis-specific medical issues are much more rare. And Viagra creeps me out. The medical industry would rather that men keep eating McCrap for breakfast, working 70-hour weeks and smoking cigarettes so they can keep selling little magic blue pills that provide that all-important (but false) boner, even if the exertion of using said boner might in fact be too much for a poorly-cared-for body to enjoyably or safely sustain. All this does is mask the health issues that may truly be present.

Worse yet, it might mask the emotional issues that may be present, such as genuine nervousness or lack of connection with a partner. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can definitely tell you that I’d prefer to go to bed with a sweet, open, attentive guy who happens to have a limp dick than with one who’s so worried about his penis that he forgets I’m there in the room with him. It wouldn’t flatter my ego to see a straining cock if in truth it’s inspired by a pill and I’m just an accessory to the operation. In addition, if a guy is nervous, I’d rather take the opportunity to connect with him while he’s in that vulnerable state, and in so doing deepen our relationship (even if it’s just for a night), than see him cover it up with the aid of a pill and put on a show of his manliness for me.

It might actually be a neat experiment for a guy to assume he’ll be limp on his next date, work on perceiving that as no big deal, and come up with a list of creative things he and his honey can do in bed together… then put ’em into practice whether he’s got a hard-on or not. He can and add cock-focused stuff in if it feels right in the moment, or if she comes after it specifically. Most gals who do guys very much enjoy the part where the guy gets off, so I doubt the average guy would go hungry if his body decided to cooperate.

Of course, no advice is complete without some sort of book reference. So here it is: I would recommend the book The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know by Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams. It contains excellent information on the way men’s bodies work, which is very cool for guys who want a stronger understanding of their own mechanics and how to control them to enjoyable ends.


There it is, folks. My first and likely last soft-dick rant. Happy Canada Day!

6 thoughts on “the limp noodle

  1. That sounds really nice. I especially like your idea of planning the evening as though you won’t have an erection.

    Truly, seriously, this won’t be a big deal to a sexually mature woman. If you don’t have an erection at some particular moment that seems to require one (like, you were about to start fucking), I’d recommend just being cool about it. Just say you’re not hard and shrug it off, or laugh about it.

    My first serious lover used to, when we were making out, ask me, “Can we put it in yet?” and he was indeed enquiring about whether I was wet enough for intercourse yet. It definitely put stress on me over something that was pretty much out of my control. What a tool.

  2. Heh, wasn’t it a few posts ago where you were wondering about energy and sex, and then you go referring a book cowritten by Mantak Chia. Y’know, he does travel extensively doing workshops on Taoist sexual alchemy (although it might be hard to really get much down in a couple classes, it’s good as an intro and he usually instructs with people who do more regular practice of qigong and the like).

  3. Devastating – Oh, gawd. That’s awful. A tool indeed. I see his lack of savoir-faire did not hinder you from becoming a sexually mature woman! … Another thing to add to the list of recommendations: if a guy adds fisting and cunnilingus skills to his bag o’ tricks, his gal will never in a million years complain if he loses his hard-on.

    Grey – I didn’t realize that was Chia’s specific career, no, but I can’t say I’m surprised. The tone and content of the book is definitely pretty tantra/energy-focused, with a solid grounding in anatomy and written in accessible language. Cool to know he does energy work too!

  4. this may be unorthodox, but i dated a guy who liked to do a lot of coke for over a year, and well, once high, ‘limp dick’ is the status quo. this was perhaps the best sex of my life so far; discovering, playing, staying up for long hours just rolling around and doing dirty things… once the ‘Phallus’ (referring to both the physical and the psychic/social) was out of the picture, we found that the whole imagination opens up and we just went nuts with all the other stuff that can get left out when you’re too cock-focused. i’m not recommending the blow, but it was definitely a delicious experiment.

  5. Funny—I read this post literally hours after I first read Susie Bright’s essay “Boys Who Want Burgers,” which is pretty much the same as what you’ve written but with more talk of Viagra. And I have to say, I am so glad there are sex educators in the world. I think I might try that whole “pretend you don’t have a cock” thing in my own life, because it sounds like a great excersize for overcoming anxiety (I just need to remember not to tell my girlfriend I’m pretending I don’t have a cock, because I think it will probably make her look at me weirdly).

  6. So I have very little experience with the dick as I have, until a few months ago, exclusively been with people who don’t have them. But lately I’ve been with a few men with the (attached) dicks, and I am so relieved to read your story. I was afraid I was doing something wrong or making one of my FBs nervous. Just like so many other sex related things, it turns out it’s all perfectly normal.

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