It is natural for erection firmness to wax and wane throughout a sexual experience.
Many of us expect a penis to be hard the whole time we're being sexual, but this is sometimes unrealistic, especially during longer sexual encounters. If a penis does go soft, it doesn't necessarily mean there is an emotional or physical block, it could simply be a natural fluctuation in firmness.
So, there is an acceptance piece to this which challenges the story that a man needs to be hard from start to finish of a sexual experience. One way to work on this acceptance is recognizing that a soft penis can still feel pleasure, it still has nerve endings even though it's soft. If you or your partner do lose some firmness, try exploring some soft penis pleasure.
Typically, it is the thought of not being enough, or of being embarrassed, or of being less of a man, that stops a guy from continuing to be sexual when he goes soft. There isn't anything wrong with his body but because for him "erection = arousal" he gets in his head and thinks that if his erection is gone it means he isn't aroused, which is a bad thing and makes him feel anxious/ashamed. This anxiety/shame does indeed dampen his arousal, making it more difficult to get firm again.
So spending some time getting back in his body when he does go soft can be really helpful. Helping him recognise that he can still feel pleasure in these moments of softness is one way of getting him out of his head. This pleasure that he can then start noticing becomes a positive feedback loop and helps him feel more aroused and in turn his erection firmness will probably come back.
Yes, testosterone is connected to libido but it's not solely responsible for it. For example, dopamine, cortisol and estradiol all impact libido. Also, women can have very high sex drives but produce hardly any testosterone.
What this means is that men who blame their low desire on low testosterone may actually also have a mental block. Because our society has this story that men are supposed to want sex all the time and be able to get an erection at the drop of a hat, if a guy has a lower desire for sex or has some difficulty getting/maintaining an erection, he can feel very embarrassed, emasculated, ashamed and anxious that something is wrong with him.
Because anxiety and shame can actually hinder desire, arousal and pleasure, these mental blockages can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. One way to work through this is by getting him out of his head and into his body.
This could be helping him focus on pleasure, not on performance. A lot of men think they need to instantaneously get a rock hard erection, penetrate their partner for 3 hours straight, and then ejaculate. It is a very linear and very narrow way of thinking about sex. If sex doesn't look like this or if he can't perform sex like this for whatever reason, he may feel like there is no point.
So, broadening your definition of sex and brainstorming or exploring other ways of being sexual together is important. That way, you can still be sexual with each other in a way that maybe doesn't invovled an erection, or penetration, and instead just focusses on what feels pleasurable.
I use the analogy of an Erotic Menu. Imagine that being horny is like being hungry. And when you're hungry, you and your partner choose from a menu to eat from. It's the same when you're horny, you and your partner choose from your Erotic Menu what to "eat" in order to satisfy your needs.
Unfortunately, many couples only have one item on their Erotic Menu: penetration. And that might not be what one partner wants or it may be something they're not capable of at that moment. So it's important to add other things to your Erotic Menu that you can choose from in order to satisfy your "hunger."
I get asked about blue balls a lot. Men ask me about it when I discuss semen retention with them. Women ask me about it when their partner uses it as an excuse to pressure them for sex.
Firstly, blue balls is not dangerous or harmful and is most definitely not an excuse to pressure anyone into having sex. Please do not use it as an excuse nor acquiesce to someone using it as an excuse.
The term “blue balls” is a widely used colloquialism to describe the dull, aching sensation in the testicles after high, sustained sexual arousal unrelieved due to lack of orgasm and ejaculation (Chalett & Nerenberg, 2000).
According to slang lexicographer Jonathon Green, the term blue balls dates back to 1916 and originally meant “intense sexual frustration." The word "blue" likely alludes to the meaning "sad," characterizing a man's frustration. However, its been suggested that the presence of deoxygenated blood, which is bluish in color, around the testicles explains the "blue" in blue balls.
There is a dearth of medical literature acknowledging the existence of blue balls. Some studies with rabbits found that sustained sexual arousal increased sperm production (Amann, 2009) and increased the transport of semen along the epydidimis (Ambriz et al, 2002).
While the pathophysiology is unclear in human males, it has been hypothesized that the acceleration of semen transport and the accumulation in the excurrent ducts causes pelvic venous dilatation and increased distension of the epididymis, thus urologists refer to blue balls as epididymal hypertension (Segura-Sampedro, 2016).
Its been anecdotally reported that a similar thing happens when blood flow to the female genitals increases with sexual arousal. This is sometimes called "blue vulva" and may cause feelings of aching or heaviness around the clitoris and vulva.
In either case, this feeling will pass when blood flow returns to normal, either after orgasm or when the arousal subsides. If you're really uncomfortable, it can help to learn how to move energy from your sex center using breathing and movement or try simply having a cold shower or dunking your testicles in an ice bath.