One of my medical students married a very beautiful girl, and on their wedding night he could not produce an erection. Yet he had been rather a man about town and had slept with every chippy in the city. For two weeks after the marriage he could not produce an erection. He tried everything and could not even get one by masturbation. After two weeks of a dismal honeymoon, his wife consulted a lawyer about an annulment.
The young man came to me with this problem. I told him to call up a few friends who knew his bride and have them persuade her to come and see me. She came to the office, and I had the young man wait outside while I talked to her. She was extremely bitter, and I let her tell me the whole disappointing story. She thought she was attractive, and yet there she was completely nude and he was incapable of making love to her. The wedding night can be such an event to a girl. It is a momentous occasion which represents being transformed from a girl into a woman, and every woman wants to be wanted and to be the one and only. It was an overwhelming situation, and so I defined it to her that way.
I asked her if she had thought about the compliment her husband gave her. This puzzled her, since it seemed to be a reversal of what she had been saying. I said, "Well, evidently he thought your body was so beautiful that he was overwhelmed by it. Completely overwhelmed. And you misunderstood that and felt he was incompetent. And he was incompetent, because he realized how little capacity he had to really appreciate the beauty of your body. Now you go into the next office and think that over."
I called the husband in, and I let him tell me the whole sad story of the honeymoon. Then I said the same thing to him. I pointed out what a tremendous compliment he had given to his wife. He had a lot of guilt about previous affairs, but here was his incapacity proving to him that he had really found the one right girl, the overwhelming girl.
They drove home to their apartment together, almost stopping the car on the way to have intercourse, and they were successful from then on.
Taken from Milton H. Erickson & Jay Haley, Uncommon Therapies; p. 157, W.W. Norton & Company.