Too Quick Quickies

Dear Dr. Melanie,

My husband doesn’t last very long in bed and it bothers him as well as myself. I enjoy sex with him but am not fully satisfied. He won’t talk to a doctor about it because he is embarrassed. Is there anything we can do to prolong his ejaculation without seeking medical help? -Wanting More


Dear Wanting More,

How long is “very long”? 3 minutes? 20 minutes? 60 minutes? I can’t tell whether his issue is premature ejaculation (PE) or that he comes just a bit faster than you. Or perhaps he loses his erection quickly without ejaculating, which could indicate erectile dysfunction (ED).

I will offer some suggestions, but your husband needs a physical exam anyway. He can start with his doctor, and if something seems medically amiss, he may be referred to a urologist. He could also talk to a sex therapist. There is no reason to be embarrassed — PE and ED are extremely common issues (about 20% of men experience PE, including young men). These professionals treat it on a regular basis, and they generally have a high success rate with PE and ED, which can have physical and/or psychological causes.

Sexologists no longer use a clock to measure “long enough” lovemaking; instead, we define PE as a lack of ejaculatory control that interferes with either partner’s (or both’s) sexual or emotional satisfaction. Your husband may come quickly because you don’t have sex often, and he gets super excited when it does. If he masturbates before making love with you, he will relieve pent-up urges and may last longer during intercourse. Consider his age, though — older men take longer to have a second erection, so if your husband is over 50-ish, he may want to self pleasure in the morning or the night before.

The squeeze technique may also help. Before he reaches the ejaculation point-of-no-return, he or you can firmly squeeze the base of his penis after he pulls out of you. That will disrupt the orgasm signals. When he gives the go-ahead, you can continue intercourse. He can practice this while masturbating, too. Another suggestion is for him to pull out of you the moment he starts to feel his orgasm coming on and focus on manually or orally stimulating you. He can also wear a thicker condom to create a duller sensation. Caution: Do not use a condom with Benzocaine or other numbing agents because they will numb you, too!

Now, let’s focus on you. If you have had orgasms with penile-vaginal thrusting alone, fine. But if it hasn’t happened yet, it may not happen even if hubby stays hard for days. Roughly 75% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. Usually, that direct stimulation would happen only with a hand (yours or his), a vibrator, or one of you positioned high enough that the base of his penis rubs your clitoris as he thrusts in and out of you. Free your husband from the pressure of thinking that if only he could stay hard longer, he’d be able to please you sexually. Together, explore other kinds of stimulation that will be satisfying for you, e.g., he could penetrate you with a dildo or strap-on, or he could use a vibrator on the inside or outside (or both!) of you.

As you experiment, you may find that his “problem” was a blessing in disguise.