Repeat after me: premature ejaculation does not mean the end of my sex life.
This bears repeating because in our culture, premature ejaculation is treated like a sexual death sentence, and the ultimate failure of masculinity. Judging by references made to premature ejaculation in tv and pop culture, men who prematurely ejaculate are: babies, sexually inexperienced, selfish lovers, and unsexy. In fact, premature ejaculation occurs in 20-30% of the penis-having population. More importantly, it will not permanently prevent you from having a happy, generous and hot sex life. If you are experiencing premature ejaculation and wish to seek treatment, first consider these three things:
- The definition of premature ejaculation is subjective.
The medical definition used by doctors and therapists and found in the DSM V describes premature ejaculation as:
“Consistently ejaculating within 1 minute or less of penetrative sex, for a period of 6 or more months, resulting in clinically significant distress, sexual frustration, dissatisfaction or tension between partners.”
There are two important pieces here. First, let’s consider duration of penetrative sex. Studies have shown that the average length of time between penetration and orgasm for men is 3-7 minutes. How long do you typically last between penetration and orgasm? Sometimes men seek treatment for premature ejaculation because they have very high expectations for their penises. If you are disappointed because you want to last 15 minutes or an hour, you don’t have premature ejaculation; you have expectations that far exceed the average American male’s performance capacity. That said, some of the sex therapy techniques discussed later in this chapter may help you increase your stamina.
Secondly: let’s consider the level of distress. Even if you consistently ejaculated within 30 seconds of penetration, you would not receive a premature ejaculation diagnosis if you and your partner didn’t experience “distress” as a result. Maybe trying to beat your orgasm is hot for you and your partner. Maybe penetrative sex is not the main event in your sex life. Maybe your partner has chronic pain or another reason for wanting penetrative sex to be quick and dirty.
So, keeping both of these things in mind, let’s look ahead to root causes and their impact on treatment.
- Premature Ejaculation isn’t a purely physical issue.
While premature ejaculation is a bodily reaction, it would be a mistake to try to treat it by focusing only on your penis. Premature ejaculation lives in the mind-body connection, or more specifically, in the disconnect between the two. What is the mind body connection? It refers to the ability to be aware of and connect to the physical sensations experienced in your body. Often people with premature ejaculation are a little detached from what’s going on down there. They might be able to say “it feels good when my penis is in your vagina”, but they wouldn’t be able to describe in detail the difference in sensation between the first thrust and the moment of orgasm. When we are able to notice the difference, we’re able to better control the speed at which we move from “level 1” or first thrust to “level 10” or orgasm.
The mind-body connection is also relevant to premature ejaculation because of the way your feelings impact your penis. Anxiety, guilt and depression can all dampen your awareness of physical sensation, and can contribute to premature ejaculation. For example, you may find that when you first have sex with a new partner the resulting anxiety can produce premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation is not solely the product of a hyper-sensitive penis.
Despite this, many companies sell pills, numbing creams and penis sheathes in order to dull sensation. Some doctors will even prescribe medications meant to be used as mood stabilizers such as SSRIs for their libido-dampening side-effects. These approaches will likely leave you feeling frustrated, as they only address part of the underlying causes of premature ejaculation. To fully address your premature ejaculation, you might try working with a therapist.
- Not all therapists are comfortable discussing sexuality, never mind specifically being familiar with the actual treatment steps to overcoming sexual issues .
Again, premature ejaculation lives at the intersection of mind and body. Because of this you’ll want a specialized therapist who can address underlying emotional and physical causes. Sex therapists are uniquely positioned to connect the two, and to find where exactly your personal mind/body disconnect happens. Sex therapists provide talk-based therapy and send you home to do physical exercises alone or with a partner.
At organizations like the Sex Therapy in Philadelphia http://www.sextherapyinphiladelphia.com a typical session might look like:
- talking about your sex life or current relationship to find patterns surrounding your premature ejaculation
- using breathing and other exercises to strengthen your relationship to your body and five senses
- providing progressive take-home exercises, similar to what a swim coach would do to build physical stamina, focus and sexual satisfaction.
If you are experiencing premature ejaculation and would like to receive therapy for premature ejaculation, call 215-570-8614 today to make an appointment with a qualified sex therapist.