In books and movies, our culture glorifies the mad, passionate rush to intercourse as the ultimate sexual experience. Unfortunately, frenzied sexual experiences can sometimes be unsatisfying and difficult to control. If ejaculation occurs before either partner wishes, it is often called “premature ejaculation.”
This makes it sound like a medical disorder, but it’s not. Even the fastest ejaculation isn’t a problem if both partners prefer it that way. Partners who are not particularly fond of intercourse, for instance, may prefer orgasm through oral sex or a vibrator, and may look forward to the fastest draw in the West.
The key is satisfaction, not endurance. That said, you can learn to work with your arousal and gain more control over when and how often you ejaculate, so that you can have prolonged, slow-to-climax interludes, “quickies,” or anything in between! It’s a great opportunity to expand your sexual repertoire.
Things NOT to try.
Some folk remedies that don’t work very well:
Men sometimes drink alcohol to slow themselves down. Alcohol can slow responses, but it may also make it difficult to get or keep an erection.
Some men’s partners take a hands-off approach, hoping that a lack of caressing and touching will allow their mates to last longer. But if touching is not allowed, what’s the point of having sex?
Some men try to dissociate themselves by reciting baseball statistics or all 50 states in their heads. This “focus-on-something-else” approach doesn’t take into account that arousal is an involuntary response. Involuntary responses are nearly impossible to consciously control. Think of what happens when someone asks you to stop focusing on your nose: if someone makes you think of your nose, it’s tough to focus on anything else!
All of these solutions can take you away from what you are doing and feeling, and are veryunlikely to lengthen your sexual experience or heighten your pleasure.
In some cases, your doctor might prescribe an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor;commonly used as an antidepressant) to delay ejaculation. Studies show that some SSRIs can delay ejaculation by about a minute, which gives you enough time to begin using the techniques explained here. A word of caution: when you stop taking the SSRI, you may experience a quicker ejaculation than you did while you were taking it. Be patient, and stay with it; the practice you gained while taking the medication can help you continue to work with and learn about your arousal levels.
What exactly happens in arousal?
Arousal is actually a part of our every moment. Arousal keeps us breathing, increases when we need to concentrate on something important, and calms down to let us sleep. The arousal system even has its own neurological pathway (the autonomic nervous system), separate from the nerves that make your fingers move. But arousal cannot be controlled directly. For instance, your heart beats without you deciding to make it beat. Although you can slow your heart rate a little bit by thinking about it, it’s impossible to control your heart rate entirely with conscious thought.
Likewise, during sexual arousal, any person has room to tinker, particularly in the early stages. However, one may reach the “point of no return”–the brink of the orgasmic threshold when it is no longer possible to slow down and delay orgasm. Learning how to finesse your personal arousal is the key to choosing the satisfying sexual experiences you desire.
In men, it’s often assumed that orgasm and ejaculation are one and the same. That’s not quite the case. There are two stages of a man’s orgasm: the cognitive awareness of pleasure, and ejaculation. These events happen two or three seconds apart. During the contractions of the prostate gland, the arousal system sends pleasure feedback to the brain, which is experienced as an orgasm. Men may experience the prostatic contractions as a pleasant fluttering or throbbing sensation. The second stage, ejaculation, occurs as stronger muscle contractions propel semen down the urethra and out the tip of the penis. The “point of no return” actually happens after the first part–the pleasure–and before the second part–the ejaculation.
Path One: Come and Come Again!
One strategy is to have a whole bunch of orgasms, rather than just one. Who wrote that “only one” rule, anyway? This is your sexual pleasure we’re talking about, and no one else decides when the curtain goes down on your party. It’s okay to accept what is and have fun the way you are. Does it have to mean the end of everything because someone ejaculates? Nope! Sometimes, it’s helpful to give yourself permission to have a big, long sexual session.
The multiple orgasms and multiple ejaculations technique is probably the easiest to learn. The idea is to focus very consciously on the sensations that are arousing to you, do exactly what arouses you most, and don’t hold anything back. Play around, and if you want to ejaculate again, go for it. If you need a toy like a dildo or vibrator to increase the intensity of your erotic play, consider investigating the possibilities rather than holding back.
Having trouble getting an erection after ejaculating? Try using a cock ring. Cock rings are great when your body says “not yet,” but your desire is still flowing. A cock ring is a flexible strap that can be secured around the base of the penis. It works by allowing blood to flow into the penis, but not out. You can put a cock ring on when you are soft or after you’ve gotten another erection. While you shouldn’t leave one on for more than 30 minutes, there’s a lot you can do in that amount of time.
The major drawback to multiple ejaculations is that it can be hard to avoid post-ejaculatory stupor. With several ejaculations, your arousal system will have exhausted itself, and you might not have the energy to go on without some sleep.
Path Two: Multiple Orgasms without Ejaculation
It’s possible to learn to stop every orgasm before ejaculating, and to orgasm several times without ejaculating at all. Interestingly, it’s the ejaculation itself that is often experienced as exhausting, and some men who experience multiple orgasms without ejaculation notice an energizing effect.
The technique described below is essentially a prolonged session of playing “faster-slower.” The goal is to stay somewhat aroused while you manipulate your arousal level. Enjoy the feelings of both decreasing and increasing arousal.
Once you can do this, try masturbating to orgasm, and concentrate on the sensations of the prostate.
You need to learn what it feels like to experience the orgasm (for most men, the prostate fluttering) before you can know when to hold back from ejaculation. Focus on the sensations, and see if you can experience the orgasm separate from ejaculation.
Next, you will need to become aware of your personal arousal and orgasmic cycle. It’s helpful to rate your arousal on a scale from 0-10, with 9 or 10 indicating the point of no return. Start by choosing a number in the middle, like 4 or 5, then practice masturbating to a fever pitch and slowing down as you reach that number. You will still be aroused with minor stimulation, and you will learn what it feels like to be aroused to a 4.
Then, pick a slightly higher number on the scale–say, a 7. It’s a little trickier here, but you really want to focus on lower arousal. One thing to try is to take long slow breaths in, and let the breaths out quickly in a couple of bursts. This helps disperse your sexual energy and take the tension out of your spine and lower back.
Another arousal-slowing technique is contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Contract these by squeezing the muscles that run from your tailbone, around your anus, and all the way forward to the base of your penis. When you are contracting correctly, the base of your penis will bob up and down slightly. Next, incorporate pelvic floor contractions into your masturbation play. Masturbate up to a 5, then contract for two seconds. Slow and speed your self-play, and work on incorporating this PC flex into the ups and downs of your arousal cycle.
Similarly, you can control your ejaculation by pressing firmly on the perineum–the area between your scrotum and anus–while contracting your PC muscles. This helps delay ejaculation by refocusing your attention on your arousal and interrupting the ejaculation reflex.
Perineal massage can be quite pleasurable, and some men think that it’s the greatest sexual technique they’ve ever experienced. Perineal massage can be done by yourself or your partner, and can be performed at any time during self-play or penetration.
Okay, I’m having a blast here, but what about my partner?
With increased awareness of sexual arousal and physical cues, you can expand your practice to include partners. With a partner involved, you might have to relearn most or all of your cues. Why? Because it’s one thing to stop your hand, or turn off your vibrator when you need to ease off, but it’s a much greater task to communicate to your partner where you are on the arousal scale.
Fortunately, most couples report that the process of talking is in itself very satisfying, because they feel more connected than when they are silent. Also, all of the techniques that you’ve been practicing work with partners, because none of them require that you pull out from penetration. Your partner will have fun playing with you and your arousal, pressing your perineum and practicing your breathing techniques with you. Learn more about your and your partner’s responses to sensation and practice expressing yourself.