The Real Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation
Just what do we know about this male problem and how it develops? Well, we know about 10% of men have trouble ejaculating, with varying degrees of severity. A very few men cannot ejaculate at all; some cannot ejaculate during sex with a partner; some need to thrust for a long time (up to an hour or more) before ejaculation occurs. In the middle of the spectrum, a man might be able to ejaculate from time to time, albeit with difficulty, after say 30 minutes of intercourse.
The majority of men with delayed ejaculation can’t ejaculate with a partner, and often need to give themselves a lot of stimulation during masturbation to be able to ejaculate on their own.
However, they can usually ejaculate given the right stimulation techniques. Harsh and fast are the words that come to mind here; Idiosyncratic masturbation is what this technique of self-pleasuring is called.
Some cases of delayed orgasm and ejaculation (DE for short) are described as “situational” in that a man can only have an orgasm in a particular setting or with a particular individual.
Video on delayed ejaculation
The Main Causes Of Ejaculation Problems
You could list these as…
- Anxiety about sex
- General anxiety
- Bodily conditioning due to either harsh or extreme masturbation methods
- Psychological conditioning due to porn use or access of reliance on fantasy
- Lack of attraction to the sexual partner
- Relationship difficulties of some kind
- Low arousal during sexual activity
- Inherent guilt or shame around sex
- Childhood sexual abuse or other forms of abuse
- Sometimes physical illness such as diabetic neuropathy or MS
The most common causes, by far, are (1) learning to masturbate with hard and fast strokes as a teenager and (2) psychological issues around sex – usually anxiety, anger and shame.
Of course nothing in life is as simple as it first appears, and the same is certainly true of delayed ejaculation. If you want more details about delayed ejaculation read this book. Suppose a man is having relationship difficulties with his partner, and feels hostile towards her, so the relationship lacks intimacy, and there is generally no sense of sexual attraction. In this kind of situation, couples often continue to have intercourse. Would it surprise you to hear that in this situation a man is unable to ejaculate?
The truth is, he’s simply not sexually aroused by his partner, and as we all know, sexual arousal is necessary for ejaculation to take place.
But some men with problems around the speed of ejaculation will tell you that they are very attracted to their partner, and therefore lack of attraction can’t possibly be the cause of their sexual problems.
However – perhaps they feel attracted to their partner and they also have deeper negative feelings around sex itself. And by “negative feelings”, therapists tend to mean things like anxiety, shame or guilt. And, of course, fear of intimacy. So even in a situation where a man says he’s attracted to his partner, and indeed he appears to be, one can’t rule out some other psychological reason why he’s having trouble ejaculating.
More Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation
As a child he might have been taught that sex was shameful, dirty or taboo. Such strong negative emotions around sex inhibit male sexual response at every level…. except having an erection. Interestingly enough, it’s entirely possible for a man to have an erection and still not be particularly sexually aroused. (You only need think of morning erections to see how true this is.)
Among all these emotional factors, anxiety appears to be very significant. Some people are actually born more susceptible to anxiety than others: they have what is known as a “sensitive” nervous system. This has been explained in a book called the Highly Sensitive Person.
And if you’ve had lifelong anxiety, no matter how intense, you’ll certainly be well aware what a problem it can be in carrying out almost any function in your daily life. Hardly surprising, then, that it interferes with sex rather more than certain other activities! And that is especially true of delayed ejaculation, as this book reveals. You see, sex is one of the things that requires us to be really intimate and connected to a partner – physically at least, and emotionally too, if all is well.
For men with anxiety, the intimacy and connection of partnered-sex is often quite threatening. As a child, he may have been treated in a way that has, among many other things, destroyed trust, so getting close to an individual in any way, but especially during sex and intercourse is naturally quite anxiety provoking.
Sometimes the only sign that someone’s experiencing anxiety is that they are recognized as “a worrier” by other people. Anxious people use many clever strategies to hide their anxiety, so it might not be obvious to people around them just how anxious they are, and how much difficulty they have in normal activities. Since sexual intimacy may cause an increase in any kind of anxiety, there’s can be a massive impact on a man’s capacity to be sexual, to enjoy sex. (And aging is important here too.)
That’s because anxiety can inhibit sexual arousal and a man’s responsivity to sexual stimulation. He might simply be too anxious for his body to get aroused enough to ejaculate. Of course many men with delayed ejaculation feel puzzled by it, because they think they are sexually aroused and ready for intercourse.
A Reality Check
On the surface, many men with a slow rate of arousal or a very prolonged time to ejaculation don’t seem to be anxious, they look like they’re ready for intercourse, and that’s how they feel. They might even enjoy foreplay and start intercourse. After a few minutes, however, one of the things they notice is that they have a feeling of numbness in the penis.
Numbness and Lack Of Ejaculation
Bear in mind that this is not a physical sensation — there’s actually no evidence that an insensitive penis can cause ejaculation dysfunction.
In fact this is a psychological process which is about trying to have sex without being sufficiently aroused in mind and body.
At this point during sex it tends to become obvious to a man that he’s not actually going to be able to ejaculate, a fact which causes him further anxiety, and can further inhibit his sexual arousal – sometimes even causing him to lose his erection.
As you can guess, the thought that you might lose your erection during sex will cause even more anxiety. This can become a vicious circle of negative expectation and “failure”. (Which, unfortunately, is how the man may see himself – a sexual failure. Even more unfortunately, a man with retarded ejaculation may believe he has an unavoidable male duty to pleasure his partner.)
So even when the will, the desire, to have intercourse is there, the man’s body is not responding in a way that allows him to get aroused enough to ejaculate.
You’ve probably heard the expression “the point of no return” – also known as the point of ejaculatory inevitability. What that means is the point at which a man is sufficiently aroused so that his ejaculation reflex is triggered. To put it bluntly, he is excited enough to come during sex.
So you can probably understand that a man who has problems with ejaculation because of his anxiety may find masturbating on his own to be a much more relaxing and pleasurable experience than partnered sex. It’s simply less stressful.
Indeed, masturbation may be a much more satisfying experience as far as sex is concerned than trying to make love. That’s why many men who are slow to reach orgasm may prefer masturbation to partnered sex — particularly if they’re experiencing erectile dysfunction as well.
That’s when a man may turn to porn, and make it into a substitute for a real sexual relationship. And of course this tends to make the problem even worse, because the level of sexual stimulation porn provides is so high that it’s all too easy to become addicted, or “fixated” if you prefer the term, on this very intense form of sexual stimulation.
Then, a man’s arousal, his ejaculation, and his orgasm, all become dependent on receiving this high level of stimulation, which is practically impossible during normal lovemaking. (Just think about it – what do you see in porn which reflects anything in your relationship?)
It’s also possible for a man to substitute experiences with sex workers for an intimate relationship – this is a lot less stressful because there is no emotional intimacy. In this situation he may feel less anxiety and perhaps be able to ejaculate. In reality, this is a classic example of “situational” delayed ejaculation.
All of these situations (solo masturbation, porn, meeting sex workers) could be more sexually arousing, or less anxiety provoking, or both, than a long-term relationship.
And so the key to curing these problems lies in using techniques and practices that allow a man to increase his level of arousal within his relationship.
The first thing needed is physical and emotional intimacy: which is why it is sometimes necessary for the relationship issues playing out between partners to be “sorted out” in therapy before they move onto learning new sexual techniques.
However, when a couple is willing to engage in exercises that re-establish physical and sexual intimacy, they often experience an increase in their emotional intimacy – even without doing any specific work on the issues within the relationship. It’s almost like re-establishing a heart-to-heart connection, and bypassing the superficial exchanges which can get in the way of real connection between two people.
For men, in particular those who find porn an easy way of obtaining sexual satisfaction, reliance on porn or on “heavy duty” fantasy can become so great that partnered sex doesn’t match up – either psychologically, emotionally or physically.
Indeed addiction to porn, and the inability to ejaculate with a real-life partner because of it, is a rapidly growing sexual dysfunction.