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Ejaculation without Erection: Why It Occurs and What to Do

Katelyn Hagerty

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Published 02/09/2021

Updated 06/29/2023

Ejaculation without erection is a weird thing for many guys to imagine. We often connect the two inextricably until we learn about things like prostate orgasms and other ways for men to experience pleasure.

It’s possible to have an orgasm and ejaculate without an erection, which is great news for men in various circumstances.

For others, however, orgasms and ejaculation without erection might be one of the unfortunate realities of having sex with ED (erectile dysfunction).

If you’re a man affected by erectile dysfunction, you might find it difficult to develop or maintain an erection during foreplay and sex. And sometimes, you may have penetrative sex with weak or incomplete erections and still reach orgasm.

Many men with ED are able to reach orgasm through stimulation, even if they can only get a partial erection or can’t get an erection at all.

Reaching orgasm is good. Weak or nonexistent erections are bad. If you’re dealing with the latter, you’ll appreciate the information below.

Ahead, we’ll explain how ejaculation without erection occurs, how erections and ejaculation work, and what to do if you’re experiencing this problem and want to make it go away.

How Erections and Ejaculation Work

Let’s get technical for a second. 

Erections start with stimulation, both physical and mental. When you feel sexually aroused, your nervous system tells the muscles around your penis to relax, allowing blood to flow into the soft erectile tissue of your penis called the corpora cavernosa.

As blood flows into your penis, the tunica albuginea — a membrane surrounding the tissue of your penis — contracts, trapping the blood inside and helping you stay hard during foreplay and sex.

Unlike erections, which are controlled by the muscles and erectile tissue of your penis, orgasm and ejaculation are reflex actions controlled by your central nervous system. (This is why some men experience premature ejaculation, also known as PE).

When you’re sexually stimulated — like during penetrative sex or with manual stimulation from yourself or your partner — arousal and excitement gradually build and trigger your ejaculatory mechanism.

This is when your vas deferens (the small ducts that bring sperm from your testes to your ejaculatory ducts) contract, bringing sperm into the base of your penis. While this is going on, your prostate and seminal vesicles secrete the fluids that produce semen. 

Next, muscles at the base of your penis contract several times, forcing the semen out. 

But here’s the thing: The ejaculatory mechanism can occur whether your penis is erect or flaccid. This can happen in certain circumstances.

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Why Ejaculation Without Erection Occurs

Let’s start where the erections are supposed to begin — but don’t.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem affecting guys of all ages — an estimated 30 million men in the United States deal with ED. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical health issues and psychological issues, such as sexual performance anxiety.

If you’re asking, Why can’t I get a full erection?, know it’s possible to reach orgasm and ejaculate through stimulation, either by yourself or with a partner.

Penile stimulation may be the predominant activity of your sex life if you’re healthy. But sexual health issues — such as low testosterone or medical conditions affecting your blood vessels, like heart disease — can make sexual desire and sexual activity harder to do the way you’re used to.

Men with prostate cancer, spinal cord damage or other issues may also experience sexual dysfunction. In this case, the issue can be circumvented with oral sex or the use of a vibrator.

There are a few ways this could happen. First, you might simply have a weak erection and need adequate stimulation to get the job done. While every dude may claim he has the hardest erections in the world, erections exist on a spectrum — as every guy knows who’s had a half-on.

Some men are able to orgasm with partial wood. Others may reach orgasm through anal penetration or stimulation — a topic you can learn about on our blog.

In short, there are many ways you can orgasm and ejaculate without a hard-on. But if that’s the only option you have, you might need to address a health condition like ED.

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Ejaculation Without Erection: Treatment Options

Lucky for you (and your flaccid-firing friend), erectile dysfunction is almost always treatable.

According to experts, the most effective treatments for ED are FDA-approved medications, lifestyle changes and therapy. 

Therapy and lifestyle changes may help you deal with the physical or psychological causes of ED. This includes obesity, performance anxiety, high blood pressure, poor diet, exercise habits and depression, among others.

You can learn about the natural ways to improve and protect your erections in our detailed guide.

Medication has been proven to be extremely effective, especially alongside therapy and lifestyle changes. Today, several medications are available to treat ED and help you stay hard during foreplay and sex.

These include:

  • Sildenafil. Also known as generic Viagra®, sildenafil provides relief from ED for four to five hours per dose — although its effects have been known to last longer. It’s the main ingredient in our chewable ED meds hard mints.

  • Tadalafil. The active ingredient in Cialis®, tadalafil is a long-lasting medication that can provide relief from ED for up to 36 hours per dose.

  • Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, vardenafil provides relief from ED for four to five hours per dose.

  • Avanafil. Available as Stendra®, avanafil is a newer, second-generation ED medication that’s fast-acting and less likely to cause certain side effects.

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Takeaways on Ejaculation Without Erection

Erectile dysfunction can be frustrating, especially when it happens again and again. But luckily, it’s often treatable.

Treating erectile dysfunction will help you stay hard during foreplay and sex, meaning you can ejaculate during penetrative sex rather than by masturbation.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • It is absolutely possible for men to ejaculate without an erection. Many do so for their own pleasure or as an alternative when health issues make normal sexual activity difficult.

  • Enjoying alternative means of achieving orgasm can be fun if that’s your goal — but if it’s your only option due to ED, you should seek treatment.

  • Various erectile dysfunction treatments are available to help you get things back on track.

If you’re losing an erection during sex or seeing your erections last for less time than they used to, check out our guides on how to get hard and treat ED.

9 Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-e). Symptoms & causes of erectile dysfunction - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  2. Crowdis M, Leslie SW, Nazir S. Premature Ejaculation. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-a). Definition & Facts for erectile dysfunction - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  4. Dhaliwal A, Gupta M. PDE5 Inhibitors. [Updated 2023 Apr 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-e). Treatment for erectile dysfunction - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  6. Noviasky, J. A., Masood, A., & Lo, V. (2004). Tadalafil (Cialis) for erectile dysfunction. American family physician, 70(2), 359–360.
  7. Alwaal A, Breyer BN, Lue TF. Normal male sexual function: emphasis on orgasm and ejaculation. Fertil Steril. (2015).
  8. Panchatsharam PK, Durland J, Zito PM. Physiology, Erection. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. (2023).
  9. Hess MJ, Hough S. Impact of spinal cord injury on sexuality: broad-based clinical practice intervention and practical application. J Spinal Cord Med. (2012).
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.

She received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Delaware and her master's degree from Thomas Jefferson University. You can find Katelyn on Doximity for more information.

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