Many men wish they could last a little bit longer during sex. If you find yourself unable to control the timing of your ejaculation, and cannot delay it a few moments even if you want to and try, then you may meet the criteria of what we consider “premature ejaculation” (PE). Well, you about 1/3 of men ages 18 to 59! Like I said, many men wish they could delay their ejaculation – and for good reason! (1) Sex feels good, so why not help it last longer? and (2) Many women take longer to orgasm than men do. For men with female partners, lasting long enough to stimulate her to the point of pleasure or orgasm can help make “good enough” sex into “great” sex.
Here are a few tips to outsmart PE – some require great effort, others are quick fixes and some require a visit to a healthcare provider but all are commonly recommended by sexual health professionals (sex educators, therapists, sexual medicine doctors), including myself:
1. Wear a condom. For some men, a small barrier between them and their partner is enough to help decrease sensation to the penis (especially if it’s a slightly thicker condom) and help them laster longer during sex. Of course, if you’re trying to become pregnant, you may want to only use this strategy when your wife or girlfriend isn’t ovulating and then during her fertile days, go condom-less and trade a few extra minutes of sex for the possibility of a baby.
2. Use a desensitizing condom. Consider a performance-enhancing condom that contains a numbing agent, such as lidocaine or benzocaine, inside the condom. If you’re also prone to erectile problems, or if you have very sensitive skin, these condoms may not be the best choice for you. If you’re not sure, try using one during masturbation before using it with a partner. These condoms can help many men to last a few minutes longer, again by slightly decreasing sensation to the penis. However, please avoid slathering lidocaine or benzocaine on your naked penis and then having sex without a condom – this could numb your partner’s vagina and feel uncomfortable for her. Also, don’t expect oral sex afterwords as she probably doesn’t want her mouth to go numb.
3. Try the stop-start or squeeze techniques. These take dedication but they have long been recommended by sex therapists to men who wish to last longer during sex. They involve stimulating the penis during masturbation until just before the point of no return (when a man will ejaculate no matter what) then either stopping all stimulation (for stop-start) or gently squeezing the glans (head) of the penis (for the squeeze technique). Wait for arousal to decrease slightly then start again. Repeat one more time and on the third time, give yourself a break and let yourself ejaculate. Over time, you may become better tuned to the sensations that cue you into your imminent ejaculation. This awareness will eventually give you the chance to last longer by reminding you to hold still, pull out from your partner and gently squeeze the head of the penis, or pull out and briefly switch to a less sensational position for a few moments.
4. Consider SSRI antidepressants. Though we don’t fully understand the neurochemistry behind male orgasm, let alone premature ejaculation, it seems that ejaculation must have something to do with serotonin. After all, men who take SSRI antidepressants sometimes experience difficulty with ejaculating. Other times, men who have problems with PE find that SSRIs help them to delay ejaculation by several minutes. This has led researchers to study certain doses of certain types of SSRIs for the treatment of PE. If this possibility interests you, please speak with a healthcare provider who is experienced in treating male ejaculatory issues and see if it’s the right strategy for you.
5. Expand your sexual experience. Although it’s difficult for many men to believe, many women are quite happy with shorter bouts of intercourse. After all, vaginal intercourse can be demanding on their bodies. If your girlfriend or wife assures you that whatever you’re bringing to the table – or the bed, as the case may be – is all right by her, then please believe her! It’s frustrating to not be believed. Just make sure to make the entire sexual experience pleasurable for her. Ask her what brings her the most pleasure and/or helps her to orgasm. Would she like oral sex? For you to stimulate her with a vibrator or your fingers? To kiss or make out for 10 or 20 minutes before or after intercourse? To stick around and see if you’re up for Round 2 a little later on? If she’s not sure what she would like or how to pleasure herself, or if you’d like more ideas for couples play or sex toy play together, consider checking out my book Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction (don’t let the name fool you: there are plenty of couples exercises and tips in there). And if you’d like a little helpful reading yourself, consider Coping With Premature Ejaculation: How to Overcome PE, Please Your Partner and Have Great Sex.