Last modified on May 26th, 2020
Robert W. Birch, Ph.D. Sexologist & Adult Sexualtity EducatorIt is most men’s fantasy-wish that they would be able to penetrate a woman who bucks like a wild unbroken bronco, maintain perfect control during an hour of hard steady thrusting, and then time their ejaculate to coincide, contraction for contraction, with the orgasm of their partner. I suppose there are a few men who could actually do that, assuming the woman they were with could remain an active partner in this marathon without becoming sore!In reality, however, the majority of women will not orgasm with intercourse, regardless of how long the man lasts, and the majority of young healthy males will, with steady thrusting, ejaculated within three or, at best, four minutes. Many men believe that they should have perfect control during intercourse and that the ability to ejaculate at will is an inborn talent they should automatically possess. Many also assume that if they could just last long enough, their partners would orgasm as well. Most of these men are greatly disappointed!Let’s start with four assumptions. First, it is more natural for men to ejaculate rapidly than it is for them to last for hours. The second assumption is that many men (and women) will not accept this. Third, if the average duration is three or four minutes of active thrusting, to ejaculate within this time frame us not a sexual dysfunction. The fourth assumption is that many men (and women) will not accept this either!The term premature ejaculation implies that the male orgasm happened before it was time. Initially, premature ejaculation was defined as an ejaculation that usually would happen before the man’s partner would reach orgasm, but we now know that it does not make sense to define a male problem on the bases of the female’s response, given the difficulty most women have climaxing with penile-vaginal intercourse. Therefore, I prefer the term “rapid ejaculation.” Certainly, if the average is three to four minutes, a man who rapidly ejaculates on or within seconds after penetration falls below this mark.It is easier to agree, without relying on the woman’s orgasmic response, or the number of male thrusts, or the number of seconds timed with a stopwatch, that there is a legitimate concern if the man, the woman, or both are feeling emotionally distressed by the male’s timing. In a sense then, it is those two people involved in the intimate encounter who decide if there is a problem, not the highly trained sex therapist looking at the impersonal statistics in a textbook. A case in point: Last night in your hometown, a couple spent a romantic evening together, during which they talked with anticipation of the sexual encounter they had both planned. There was nothing hurried in their evening or in the showers each took in preparation for their erotic playtime. After showering they lit candles and put on soft music. Relaxing together they talked quietly about their tender feelings for each other, touching and kissing each other affectionately.In the course of the evening, this couple’s kissing become more intense and their fondling progressed from sensual to sexual…from warm to hot. Both partners became highly aroused with the manual stimulation, the woman in response to her partner’s skilful caress of her clitoris. As her excitement escalated, the man moved down and orally brought her to an intense orgasm. He held his partner as she relaxed, basking in the warmth of her post-orgasmic afterglow. She was still lubricated and receptive to him as he eventually mounted, and ejaculated with his own intense climate after thirty seconds of rapid thrusting. Still in her afterglow, the woman held the man as together they quietly congratulated themselves and each other for a spectacular end to a spectacular evening. Who would dare say that this woman has a dysfunction because she did not orgasm during intercourse, or that this man has a dysfunction because he climaxed in less than a minute? Sexual dysfunction or sexual style? At times it is all very relative!But, we have already said that some people, on one or the other end of that thrusting penis, would like intercourse to last longer. There is concern, there are things a couple can do. Unfortunately, however, some professionals have talked of a “cure,” but that term implies that there is an “illness.” However, there is no illness here, only individual differences. Some men are fast, some are slow, and most fall somewhere on the continuum in-between. It is also unfortunate that some professionals claim to be able to cure premature ejaculation with some simple exercises and within six to eight weeks. Do not be fooled by such claims, for a follow-up study of men who were “cured” in sex therapy found that three years later, the majority of these subjects were ejaculating just as rapidly as they were before they entered therapy. Techniques for better ejaculatory control can indeed be learned, but it takes time and patience, it helps if both partners are involved, and it requires that some things learned never be forgotten without the risk of once more feeling out of control.It is probably obvious that women should never blame or shame a man for ejaculating rapidly. It does happen, however, that a woman might feel frustrated and say something like “If you love men, you’d wait.” Rapid ejaculation has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with a super-sensitive nervous system. Even more destructive to a male ego is a comment such as “The last two men could last half an hour, so what’s wrong with you!” Ouch!I would like to assure the women in relationships with rapid ejaculators that these men are not doing this on purpose. They are not being selfish and they are not being hostile. In fact, there is still no solid research that tells us exactly why some men ejaculate more rapidly than some other men, just as there is no conclusive research findings to explain why some women will orgasm more easily than others. However, there are two clinical observations I would like to share. I have found that most rapid ejaculators are a bit more anxious (nervous) than average, and they tend to quickly become overly-excited. I have often said that when a man is nervous and highly aroused, he enters into an altered state of consciousness in which his body takes over and his biology propels him rapid towards his “point of ejaculatory inevitability.” This point, often signalled to the woman by the man muttering an expletive usually stronger than “darn,” is the point of no return. It is as if a trigger has been pulled and, in a second, the gun will fire. There is no stopping the ejaculation at that point.Women can help by reminding the man to relax and by reminding him how important it is for him to loosen up, both mentally and physically. It helps to slow the man down, but not to avoid touching him. The touch, however, should be designed to keep him minimally aroused, and not to send him rushing headlong in the direction of his ejaculatory threshold. There is a series of exercises, called the start-stop exercises, that a couple can do together to help a man relax, calm his excitement and allow him to focus on his progression toward his point of ejaculatory inevitability. Rapid ejaculators often are unable to anticipate that point of no return and are typically not aware of it until they are already there… and by then it is too late. Unfortunately, it would take a lengthy description to adequately describe what needs to be practiced in the series of start-stop exercises, and the reader is advised to read a set of more detailed instructions elsewhere.There is certainly time and space, however, to offer a couple practical tips to women. First, reassure your minute man that you love all of his touching and kissing. His ego might well need a boost, as many rapid ejaculators see themselves as being a sexual failure in the eyes of their partners. Gently discourage a rush to intercourse, and encourage him to explore your body in many ways.If needed and desired, encourage him to orally stimulate you to orgasm. If you have already climaxed before intercourse begins, some of the pressure is taken of your partner. Tell him that you have had your turn, and now it is his and he need not wait.If you have not yet had your orgasm, have your partner lay on his back. Straddle him and, when he tells you he feels in good control, lower yourself down on him. Sit quietly, reminding him to remain perfectly relaxed and not to move a muscle. In this “female superior” position, you should do all the moving, and the movement should be with you staying in close contact with your partner’s body. You should slide back and forth, rather than riding up and down. This position and the movement described minimizes the stimulation for the male, as it is quite different from the male superior position in which he would be prone to use long rapid thrusts. An added advantage for you in this position is that you can adjust the angle of your body so that you are sliding your clitoris onto your partner’s pubic bone when pushing forward, and sliding it up the base of his penis when you are pushing back. Typically a woman can get more clitoral stimulation when on top, and I highly recommend this position if for no other reason than the fact that it allows the woman much more control and rewards her with much more pleasure.In good sex, there are no demands made and no judgements passed. Men tend to be intercourse-oriented, and women often need to be persistent and patient in teaching their partners that there is more to making love than just “doing it.” I like the concept of “fail-safe” sexuality, which says that in a caring and intimate relationship, there is never a failure. The emotional bonding is great if there is intercourse, and great if there is not. It is wonderful if there are orgasms, and wonderful if there are none. It is fantastic if it lasts an hour, and fantastic if it is just a quickie. Above all, our sexuality should always be fun!
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