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Sometimes I can’t get or keep an erection. Why? Can I use Viagra?

A lot of guys don’t want to admit it, but not being able to get or keep an erection happens more often than you’d think. Guys usually have trouble getting or keeping an erection when they’re nervous, scared or worried about something. They might be worried about how they’ll “perform,” or they could be feeling guilty about having sex. They might be afraid of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or, if they are with a girl, getting their partner pregnant. Drugs (including some anti-depressants) and alcohol can also prevent you from getting and/or maintaining an erection.

If you can keep an erection when you’re alone, then you’re probably worried about something when you’re with your partner. Think about how you feel and then talk to your partner about your concerns. You might be putting too much pressure on yourself or not protecting yourself by using condoms and birth control. Or maybe you’ll discover that you’re really not ready for sex right now and need to wait until it feels right.

Since you’re a teen and therefore young to have this happen, you should get checked by your doctor or clinician to see whether anything physical is going on. Remember that our brain is the most powerful sex organ we have—so something as minor as stress can affect your ability to get and keep an erection.

And remember, the idea that you can ejaculate and get another erection right away is a myth for most guys. Usually, you have to wait a while. The time between ejaculating and being able to get another erection is called the refractory period. It can last minutes or hours depending on a guy’s age and health.

Viagra is a medication that is prescribed to people with certain medical conditions. You should never take medication if it hasn’t been prescribed to you, no matter what it is. Viagra should not be used recreationally. Some teenage and adult males who have abused Viagra have ended up in the emergency room. It’s just not worth it.