Understandably, many men feel embarrassed by this condition. Our society puts a great emphasis on male virility and sexual performance, and men often think that if they don’t last a long time, their partner is dissatisfied or even judgmental.
A Vicious Circle
All of this anxiety and shame ironically only makes a man even more likely to have an episode of premature ejaculation. After all, it’s hard to stay present and control your sexual response if you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. This can lead to performance anxiety in men which is a quite common issue that a sex therapist can assist men with.
However, there is good news. First of all, rest assured, premature ejaculation is far from uncommon. There are many factors that can lead to premature ejaculation such as performance anxiety (mentioned above), as well as sexual shame or residual guilt stemming from a strict or religious childhood, and even hormonal issues and certain medications. One of the keys to putting an end to it – or lessening its occurrence – is determining where the problem stems from.
Talking to a sex therapist to work through these potential issues, you can greatly reduce your PE occurrences.
The other great news is that your partner often isn’t as upset about your premature ejaculation as you think she is.
A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior surveyed over 450 men who suffered from premature ejaculation, and their partners. They asked the men and women to rate their feelings about premature ejaculation on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being “I don’t consider PE a problem” and 7 being “PE is a enormous problem”.
The researchers found that while 38% of men identified their premature ejaculation as an enormous problem, only 14% of the women did. And, when women did report feeling distress over their partner’s PE, much of it was about their partner’s own feelings and distress about the matter.
In fact, the researchers found that the woman’s satisfaction was most closely linked to her partner’s satisfaction and his feelings about their sexual interaction. In other words, if he was angry or embarrassed about his PE, that had a larger effect on her pleasure than the premature ejaculation did.
What does all this mean for couples? It’s a good reminder that we can never assume/second guess what’s going on in our partner’s head. The researchers found that men were often incorrect when they tried to identify their partner’s feelings about PE, and they often thought their partner was much more upset about it than she actually was. Talk about taking the stress off!
By realising that their partner is happy and enjoying herself (rather than nervously watching the clock), men can let go of their need to please or the need to be “perfect” in bed, and instead just be there, enjoying themselves and connecting with their partner. This also helps to dispel the myth that all women like and expect a man to be able to make love for hours on end. Often this is not what women require or want, as sex can be come painful and boring for many women if it lasts too long.
Preventing Premature Ejaculation
There are many ways you can help to treat premature ejaculation.
You might consider using condoms to help slow down your sexual response; you might also consider the “squeeze” technique in which you apply pressure to the base of the penis whenever you want to decrease your excitement.
The start-and-stop technique is also very beneficial. During this exercise, a man stimulates himself until he is close to orgasm, but not so close that he cannot stop himself. Then he puts on the brakes and allows himself to calm down a bit, and then he works himself back up the pleasure scale once again.
Doing this repeatedly will help a man to gain control of his sexual response, and it will also help him to identify the point of no return. This technique is best used during self-stimulation at first, and then practiced with your partner.
Many men have a control mechanism that they use during sex to stop themselves from ejaculating during or before sex; some men will ask their partner to physically stop moving for a few seconds to allow themselves to move back from the point of orgasm so they are able to reengage in the sex act. Some men use relaxation breathing techniques. A sex therapist can help you to identify which method will be most useful for you.
Truthfully, great sex is about the connection and the shared pleasure experienced.
It’s not so much about perfect timing or lasting a certain amount of minutes. If partners are open and honest about their needs, then premature ejaculation doesn’t have to be the end of sexual pleasure.
Couples can get so caught up in the end result (eg intercourse) and forget to focus on all the pleasures of the buildup, such as foreplay and experiencing the sensual touching.
Sometimes a man can become so nervous about whether or not he will be able to last more than a few minutes, that he rushes to intercourse – and this is what can leave his partner feeling frustrated and disconnected.
Author: Linda Thomson, B Arts, Social Science, Human Services, Masters of Counselling, Master Social Work Studies, Social Work, Member – AASW.
Linda Thomson has many years of experience in different fields of counselling, and has also managed counselling services in the not for profit sector. She has been involved in training and mentoring counsellors, and providing professional supervision. Linda has extensive training in and a passion for sex therapy as she believes that it is such an important and often misunderstood part of our lives.
Please call 1800 877 924 or book online to make a confidential appointment with Linda.