The One Thing You Should Never Say If Your Partner Goes ‘Soft’ During Sex

It’ll probably make the situation more stressful.
Maria Korneeva via Getty Images

They happen all the time, they make for great anecdotes and they’re usually completely harmless, but when a sex mishap does happen, it can sometimes feel embarrassing and a little awkward.

One, for example, is when penises ‘go soft’ during or just before sex.

While this is quite common – 59% of cis men report sexual dysfunction in the bedroom – it can kill the mood and make you and your partner wonder what caused it, potentially even leading to future performance anxiety.

While we may not know exactly what to do at that moment, sex educator Millie Shields suggests there are some things we should and shouldn’t say when it does happen.

Speaking on the Finding Your Feet podcast, Shields warned we should never start firing questions at our partner, like “is it because of me?” or “is it because of [insert reason]?”.

She suggested this will only add further stress to the situation and can knock the other person’s confidence, too.

What you might want to try instead, she said, is to take a breath and then reassure your partner that you don’t have to have sex right there and then – you can give it an hour or so and see “what the situation is after that”.

Losing an erection is normal

According to Lloyds Pharmacy, losing your erection, even during penetration, is entirely normal.

Experts suggest if this happens, to agree to intentionally let your penis go soft inside your partner, while stopping thrusting and laying still together.

The thinking behind the strategy is that if you try this on several occasions, the soft penis becomes less of a thing to fear and be anxious about.

Lloyds Pharmacy also says: “With less pressure, anxiety and a more forgiving attitude, you may find erections stay for longer during sex. Take penetration off the menu sometimes and enjoy mutual masturbation. Penetration is not the gold standard in sex.”

What to do if the problem persists

While it isn’t usually harmful and can just happen, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of a deeper problem. The NHS recommends that if you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, you should:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise daily
  • Try to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week
  • Cycle less (if you cycle for more than three hours a week).

If erection problems keep happening, speak to your GP as it might be a sign of an underlying condition that can be treated.