I recently started dating a new girl and can’t get hard whenever we want to have sex. I’ve always watched porn on and off and used nicotine throughout other relationships and have never had a problem with sex. Lately I’ve been very stressed.

Thanks for your question. To get an erection, lots of things need to work together:

  • Good blood flow to your penis
  • Good nerve signaling to your penis
  •  Normal hormone balance

Other things such as stress (physical or emotional), mood, and use of substances such as alcohol or marijuana can affect your ability to get an erection.

A lot of people are feeling stressed right now. Here are some things you can try to help reduce your stress:

  • Take care of your body. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and get regular physical activity.
  • Stay connected. While right now we are practicing physical social distancing make sure to connect with friends and family by phone or online.
  • Take a break. This sounds simple, but making sure to take a break and relax for a few minutes can help. You can try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths for 1 minute or longer.
  • Do something you enjoy. It’s important to make time for activities you enjoy, whether it’s sports, reading, music, or something else.
  • Reach out to an adult. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, guardian, teacher, or coach about how you feel.

You can also make an appointment with your health care provider. In the United States, mental health is confidential for teens, except if there are safety concerns (i.e. concerns you might hurt yourself, you might hurt someone else, or someone is hurting you). Your health care provider may have more tips specific to you and your health. They may also recommend therapy (or counseling) and/or medicine to help. Your health care provider can also make sure to check that there is nothing else that is make it hard to get an erection.

Here’s a tip on how to bring it up with your health care provider: “I’m feeling stressed and it’s hard to get an erection right now. What can I do?”​