The Long Road

Dear Dr. Melanie:

I have been married 2 years and when my husband and I started dating he wouldn’t take so long to ejaculate but now he takes so long. If he masturbates it doesn’t take so long. I feel as if I’m doing something wrong. Should I feel this way? — Worried


Dear Worried,

It would be helpful to have more information, including your ages and what you consider “so long.” The medical condition of delayed ejaculation refers to a period of more than 30 minutes from initial arousal to orgasm; however, much depends on lovemaking goals, how interesting the sexual interlude is, etc.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Normal changes: If he was sexually inexperienced when you met, or you were both more eager and creative two years ago, he may have been unable to prolong intercourse more than a few minutes. Now that he’s more accustomed to sex with you, it’s natural that he would take a little longer to ejaculate. It doesn’t mean you don’t turn him on! If your husband is over 45, it’s normal for him to need more direct, more long-lasting stimulation than when he was younger. Try spending more pre-penetration time on oral sex, sensual body massage, genital massage, toys, etc. so that you’re both really hot and ready to burst.
  • Your orgasm: If you cum quickly and stop lubricating, his thrusting may be making you sore. Use lubricant to keep your tissues moist; HeWolf silicone lube is longer lasting than water-based products. Women have the capacity for multiple orgasms, so while he’s getting his pleasure, keep your enthusiasm up by thinking about the next orgasm head for you.
  • Your attitude: Are you an active participant, or do you lie back waiting for him to cum? I can’t imagine it’s arousing to be thrusting away while a partner looks bored or asks, “Are you almost done?”
  • His porn: Men who routinely masturbate to porn often find it challenging to cum when they are with a real-life partner. A real partner can’t live up to the non-stop visual stimulation porn provides. If your husband has a regular porn habit, suggest he take a one-month break.
  • His self-pleasure: Masturbation is healthy, and most people with partners masturbate because it feels good, it’s relaxing, and it’s usually a guaranteed orgasm. The only problem might be if your husband is in a rut requiring the same pressure, stroking, and timing for orgasm. You can’t perfectly mimic his masturbatory style, especially if you’re replacing his hand with a vagina. Watch how he masturbates, and ask him to guide your hand or mouth, giving you specific feedback on what feels best. Arouse him further by making eye contact, caressing his body, and making encouraging comments (e.g., “Does that feel good? Touching you makes me wet.”)
  • His health: Some medications and medical conditions can cause delayed ejaculation. Your husband should get a physical exam and discuss his sexual response with his doctor. If his primary physician is no help, try a urologist.
  • Alcohol use: Drinking before sex can delay orgasm for men and women, and it can decrease female lubrication.
  • Stress, kids, interruptions: Your husband may be under stress at work, feel financially vulnerable, worry about either getting you pregnant or fear waking up others in the house. The only way to learn more is to have a non-judgmental conversation. If you need help with that, consider talking to a sexuality educator like me, or with a sex therapist. You can reach certified professionals through