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I lose my erection during sex with my wife – am I overthinking it?

During intercourse, my wife and I will be going well and I will lose my erection. I am aroused and I love her, but I get inside my head and think too hard. At the beginning of our relationship, she would orgasm about five times to my one; it was always that I took too long. I sometimes feel as if I am not letting myself go. Is it a confidence thing?

Sex is not a competition. There is no scoreboard. If you approach love-making as though there is a goal to achieve – or even with the main intention of being good at it – you will fail to enjoy it fully. During lovemaking, try to make your principal aim simply giving and receiving pleasure. Approach sex in the knowledge that it is common and normative to lose your erection from time to time – and that erectile failure is more likely to happen if you are nervous and goal-oriented. Instead of trying to even the score, simply allow yourself to receive pleasure as well as give it. You are married to someone you love and she seems to be sexually fulfilled; all you have to do is to relax and enjoy being with her ... without counting climaxes.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms

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