Q: My husband and I have a good sex life, except for this: He finishes too fast. I thought that was a problem for young men, but he’s in his 40s! What can we do?
A: Premature ejaculation (PE) happens to every guy at some point; it’s diagnosed as a problem only if it happens a lot. It may mean he ejaculates before penetration, or after only a few seconds or minutes of thrusting. (It’s interesting to know that research indicates that for most couples, intercourse lasts an average of five to nine minutes.) In sex therapy terms, PE means he orgasms sooner than he or his partner wants; he has no control; and he can’t change the pattern.
In your husband’s case, while this may be frustrating and embarrassing for him, at least everything is working; he is able to achieve an erection and orgasm. The bad news is that PE also impacts you. Your sexual pleasure, orgasm and even interest in sex may wane or simply not happen if he’s a two-minute man.
What causes men to reach orgasm too fast?
There could be physiological factors, but most cases are psychological. Anxiety, stress and infrequent sexual activity may contribute. But the number one reason I see in my office? Bad habits. For the average male, when he learned to masturbate in adolescence, chances are it was a furtive activity. He learned to orgasm while feeling very sexually excited, somewhat ashamed, and anxious his mother might walk in. This combination meant he worked furiously to grab his equipment and reach the goal. So, without consciously intending to, many grown men train themselves to rush through the sexual response cycle (from the beginnings of arousal to orgasm) as fast as possible. As men become sexually experienced, some learn to last longer, while others don’t.
What to do?
Well, the first thing you need to do is share this article with him. Anything learned can be unlearned. He needs to recondition his sexual response. If we rate initial sexual arousal as one, and orgasm as 10, your husband needs to be able to coast on a plateau of six or seven for a few minutes. That means getting hard, then penetrating and feeling more and more aroused, but being able to stay in that range. The ideal is to be making love and having fun for as long as you both want.
Regardless of how long he can wait before orgasm, it can take women longer to get there. He can help you by making an effort to delay ejaculation, and in other ways. You likely need clitoral stimulation in addition to intercourse, so ask him to use his fingers, tongue or toys to please you before, during or after he orgasms. After all, nice guys finish last.
Your sexual life, and your whole relationship, will be better for it.
Psychologist Cheryl Fraser, Ph.D., is a sex and relationships therapist. Cheryl teaches how to improve relationships on her CD Become Passion.