When it comes to male sexual problems everyone’s heard of impotence and premature ejaculation. But despite being the third most common form of sexual dysfunction in men, very few ever think of ‘delayed’ ejaculation in the same light. For the eight percent of men who do suffer from the problem however, delayed (also referred to as ‘retarded’) ejaculation can be a very real issue that can cause ongoing frustration, resentment from partners and even relationship splits.
According to various statistics, most men reach climax within 2 – 4 minutes of entering their partner. Men who thought they suffered from premature ejaculation may find this great news, but it can be quite a depressing titbit for those who just can’t seem to manage to ejaculate at all.
Delayed ejaculation is medically defined as a total inability to ejaculate during intercourse or to be only able to ejaculate after prolonged intercourse. What constitutes ‘prolonged’ intercourse to me is somewhat subjective, but most medical references seem to define it as sex lasting for half an hour or more.
Of course, in reality you only suffer from delayed ejaculation if either you or your partner finds it an issue. If you find yourself banging the bedstead against the wall for hours trying to reach orgasm with growing frustration; or if the length of time it takes you to reach your peak makes sex a dreaded prospect, then obviously there’s a real problem that has to be addressed.
The Causes of Delayed Ejaculation
Delayed ejaculation can have both physical and psychological causes. Out of the two however, psychological issues seem to be most common. The interesting thing is that many men who suffer from delayed ejaculation when having sex find that they can still reach orgasm through masturbation. And if this is the case, physical causes can be pretty much ruled out of the equation.
At the route of most psychological causes of delayed ejaculation are feelings of anxiety, guilt or difficulties dealing with intimacy.
Men who’ve had particularly strict upbringings and who’ve always been taught to keep their emotions well hidden seem to be prime candidates for delayed ejaculation. It seems that being able to ‘let go’ as well as being comfortable with intimacy and the associated vulnerability that brings, are all major psychological factors necessary to achieve orgasm.
Sex therapists report a whole host of additional anxieties that are causative of delayed ejaculation. Fears of pregnancy, that the act of sex is hurting their partner or that sex is ‘dirty’ can all erode one’s ability to ejaculate. Furthermore, those who have been brought up with the instilled belief that sex is sinful often find that their religiously driven guilt is to blame.
Delayed ejaculation is also often associated with some type of past negative sexual experience. This can be something as simple as being caught masturbating in early adolescence; to the more extreme of either you or your partner having been caught having an affair. And indeed, feelings of negativity don’t necessarily have to stop with the actual act of sex. Negative feelings towards one’s partner – be it distrust, anger, resentment or whatever – can also have a major impact.
Basically, if the physical act of sex makes you stressed, anxious, ashamed or guilty (either consciously or subconsciously), then it seems that unfortunately you’re likely to have a hard time reaching orgasm.
As is true of many sexual dysfunctions, the more one worries about delayed ejaculation, the more of an issue it becomes. There is nothing more likely to worsen the problem than feeling under pressure to ejaculate, whether this is self-induced pressure or pressure from one’s partner. Becoming preoccupied with the process of ejaculation and in so doing losing sight of the pleasure of sex, is a key performance anxiety that can turn a small problem into a major one.
Physical Causes of Delayed Ejaculation
Those who’ve experienced a sudden onset of delayed ejaculation may find that the problem is caused by some underlying physical issue. The litmus test simply seems to be whether or not any sort of self stimulation can lead to ejaculation within a ‘reasonable’ length of time. If you can’t manage to ejaculate through self-stimulation, then you can make a reasonable assumption that the problem has physical roots.
Most commonly, such physical causes of delayed ejaculation are caused by various drugs, both medicinal and recreational. Medications to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies and most notably anti-depressant medications can all be responsible for switching off the ejaculatory process. Likewise, alcohol and recreational drugs such as marijuana are well known to have a nasty habit of anaesthetising the penis and ruining your chances of achieving orgasm.
At the other end of the spectrum, pretty obvious neurological conditions such as strokes or nerve damage sustained to the pelvic area or to the spinal cord can also be the culprit. Of course, these are extremely serious conditions that would show numerous symptoms well before you found out that you had problems ejaculating, and as such are unlikely to be the cause if you are in otherwise good physical health.
If your symptoms of delayed ejaculation coincided with taking a new medication, then the good news is that your doctor should be able to prescribe you an alternative that totally alleviates the problem. And of course, if you suspect that the problem is alcohol or recreational drug induced, you should try your best to limit your intake of these substances – particularly when sex is on the agenda.
Unfortunately, for those suffering from deep rooted psychological issues that affect their ability to ejaculate, there are no quick fix solutions. There’s no magic potion to alleviate the condition and treatment tends to consist of sex therapy involving both the man and his partner.
Such therapy doesn’t focus its attention on the physical symptom i.e. not being able to ejaculate, but rather tries to address and remove the underlying emotional anxieties that are preventing the man from ejaculating.
To this end, the first course of action is to remove any pressures or stresses the man may be experiencing due to his inability to ejaculate. The emphasis is placed on focusing on the pleasure of sex, which in so doing should help to alleviate his performance anxieties.
Couples are often advised to abstain from penetrative sex in the short term and instead focus on other methods of stimulation that can gradually help the man ‘let go’. As a first step this often includes the man ‘learning’ to feel comfortable ejaculating through masturbation in the presence of his partner. Once comfortable with this, the next step is to transfer feelings of ‘control’ by simply substituting her hand for his. By doing so, the man learns to gradually lose his inhibitions.
The trick, over time is to learn to feel comfortable ejaculating closer and closer to the vaginal opening through this type of stimulation. And eventually, getting to a stage where the man is able to insert his penis into his partner’s vagina just before climax and then letting nature take its course.
By using this technique, one can gradually get more and more comfortable with the prospect of ejaculating inside your partner, and over time this behavioural adaptation may well lead to a total resolution of the problem.
In practice, this technique seems to work best where couples are in otherwise very secure and loving relationships and where both individuals are highly motivated to resolve the problem. Likewise, better success rates are often noted in men who have had positive sexual experiences in the past and who have an otherwise healthy sex drive. For those who are experiencing relationship troubles, therapy to improve the relationship and to enhance feelings of intimacy between the couple are often a vital first step.
This type of sex therapy seems to be effective in about 70 – 80 percent of cases, although both partners should be aware that the whole process can be quite slow. Typically, sex therapy sessions running into the double figures are required for a successful outcome; and being aware and accepting of this is vital. As stated before, feelings of pressure and anxiety only exacerbate the problem and therefore, placing time constraints on recovery are totally counterproductive.
With the help of a non-critical loving partner who is patiently prepared to give the issue time to fully resolve, the problem can often be totally alleviated. Sometimes, men also find that hypnotherapy sessions to reduce their overall stress and anxiety levels are also helpful in aiding the whole process.
Put simply, where psychological factors are to blame, the more you and your partner are prepared to accept the current situation and totally remove any associated pressures or anxieties, the better the chances are of a successful outcome.
The unfortunate thing is that problems relating to delayed ejaculation very really seem to clear up on their own and the longer they’re left, the harder they become to treat. If you are suffering from delayed ejaculation and its becoming a real issue, it’s better to do something about it now rather than later. Dismissing the problem will not help it to go away. The key to a full and successful recovery seems to be for you and your partner to be able to first accept there is a real problem, after that the solution is likely to slowly but surely fall into place.