Premature ejaculation (PE) can be a sensitive and challenging issue that affects not only the individual experiencing it but also their partner and the overall health of their relationship.
Understanding the impact of sexual concerns like PE on the emotional and physical connection between partners is important, as it can influence self-esteem and mutual satisfaction, but so is understanding what the condition is and what it is not.
In this blog, we’ll explain premature ejaculation and explore the possibility of overcoming it through effective strategies.
Understanding Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates sooner than he, or his partner, would like during sexual activity. PE is clinically diagnosed when ejaculation consistently occurs in under a minute. This is important to acknowledge because this time interval is far shorter than most men think.
Societal myths around PE suggest that men should last longer, even as long as 10-20 minutes, before ejaculation. These myths perpetuate the idea that longer sex is better when, in fact, that may not be the case. Sex for any amount of time can be really enjoyable. Truth be told, vaginal intercourse isn’t necessarily supposed to last that long, either.
Healthy men ejaculate on average within 3-5 minutes. Trying to outlast and perform for up to 10-20 minutes can become emotionally and physically harmful.
Additionally, ejaculation that takes 10-20 minutes is actually considered delayed ejaculation.
The Difference Between Ejaculation and Orgasm
Many people don’t realize that ejaculation differs from orgasm. Ejaculation refers to the physical reflex involving the release of ejaculate, whereas orgasm is the mental event of the highest sexual pleasure.
Individuals experiencing PE may only be experiencing this physical release. Luckily, sex therapy is a valuable tool in bringing together the physical and mental experiences of sex.
It’s important to remember that PE is a common concern and that you’re not alone in facing it. Many individuals and couples have successfully addressed and managed PE, improving sexual satisfaction and relationship quality.
Factors Contributing to Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation can have both psychological and physical causes.
Physical factors might include certain medical conditions, pelvic floor issues, certain endocrine issues, or (in rare occasions) sensitivity of the penis.
It is a common misconception that over-sensitivity of the penis causes PE, leading individuals and couples to focus their efforts on reducing sensitivity and direct stimulation. However, this is likely to have little effect as penile sensitivity is not typically the problem.
In reality, PE usually occurs when men are feeling very anxious. This anxiety can be due to a number of factors, like performance concerns and life stressors. High anxiety triggers the nervous system, prompting a physiological reflex that essentially says, “finish with this sex and run to safety!” It is a primal response that, for the most part, no longer serves us in modern life. Experiences of anxiety are more generalized now and do not necessarily signify a present danger.
More often than not, PE is directly related to mental health. Anxiety, stress, performance pressure, and relationship dynamics are among the psychological factors that can contribute to PE. These factors can create a cycle of anticipation that exacerbates the issue.
A sex therapist can be very effective, helping individuals focus on the fun, pleasurable parts of sex instead of thinking about penis sensitivity. By focusing on the more enjoyable parts of sex, you can calm the nervous system and learn to ejaculate for pleasure and not out of fear.
Steps to Address Premature Ejaculation
Navigating the challenges of premature ejaculation requires a comprehensive approach that considers both the physical and emotional aspects of intimacy.
PE is common, and below, we will explore practical techniques and strategies that individuals and couples can embrace to foster a healthier and more satisfying sexual experience. By recognizing the multifaceted nature of PE and the various avenues for improvement, we can work towards a solution that will make sexual activity exciting and pleasurable again instead of a source of stress and anxiety.
Ejaculation can be thought of as a rocket ship at takeoff. The countdown begins at 10, and there is time to stop it. But it is too late once that countdown hits 3, 2, or 1. Takeoff, in this case, ejaculation, is happening no matter what you do.
Typically, men with PE do not have a great inner sense of this countdown. Sex therapy can help slow the countdown, allowing individuals and couples to intervene with appropriate behavioural techniques.
The “squeeze method” involves stimulating the penis to near ejaculation and then gently squeezing the end of the penis, where the head meets the shaft, until the urge to ejaculate passes.
The “stop-start technique” also involves stimulating the penis until near ejaculation and then stopping until the urge goes away. This can be repeated during masturbation or partner sex, helping the man identify his ejaculation cues without interfering with the fun and pleasure of sexual arousal.
Both the “squeeze method” and the “stop-start technique” help people with PE learn better control of that ejaculation countdown, and they make it possible to slow the countdown, stop it, or allow orgasm and ejaculation to happen at the same time.
Communication is Key
Open and honest communication with your partner is crucial. Discuss your concerns, fears, and potential triggers contributing to PE.
Sharing your feelings can reduce the pressure and strengthen your emotional bond. Moreover, creating a safe space for open dialogue can foster a sense of teamwork as you both navigate this journey together.
While it may seem counterintuitive, laying our cards on the table can actually lessen anxiety and help men and their partners work together, having fun in their bodies while attempting to resolve the concern.
Learning to manage anxiety and stress can significantly impact your sexual performance. As mentioned before, PE is commonly caused by anxiety and the nervous system.
Relaxation techniques can provide mechanisms men can use during these heightened times to calm the nervous system and prevent the ejaculate reflex from occurring early.
Incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation can help you stay in the moment and reduce performance-related pressure.
These techniques not only enhance your ability to control ejaculation but also contribute to a more pleasurable and fulfilling sexual experience for both you and your partner.
Sensate Focus Exercises
Sensate focus exercises involve gradual and purposeful touch to different body parts, focusing on sensation rather than outcome. These exercises can help you become more attuned to your body’s responses and enhance your ability to control ejaculation.
Seeking Support Through Sex Therapy
Addressing premature ejaculation with the support of a sex therapist can be valuable. This can be done as an individual or as part of a couple.
Sex therapy provides a safe and open avenue for exploring the root of the problem and improving the situation going forward.
Sex therapy can help couples reengage their sex lives.
Often, couples experiencing PE avoid sex completely. And it makes sense. If one partner feels like a failure or disappointment in bed and the other feels critical or demanding, it is hard to want to have sex.
Therapy can help take the focus off ejaculation and performance, refocusing it on fun and play and all of the things that make sex enjoyable in the first place.
There are so many parts to arousal and sex that may get lost when worrying too much about PE. If all you concern yourself with is ejaculation, you miss so many other opportunities to experience pleasure.
While sex therapy is very effective, Couples counselling may provide a structured environment for the open and honest communication that may have been lost. A skilled therapist can facilitate productive conversations about the impact of premature ejaculation on each partner, their emotional responses, and the dynamics of their intimate relationship.
By fostering effective dialogue, couples can gain deeper insights into each other’s perspectives, allowing for increased understanding and empathy.
Experienced sex therapists understand that each relationship is unique. They can tailor strategies and techniques to address the specific concerns surrounding premature ejaculation.
Whether working on emotional intimacy, debunking myths around PE, or identifying useful behavioural techniques, a therapist can help identify the right mix of approaches for each set of circumstances.
Seeking Professional Guidance with The Tri Health Clinic
While there are various strategies and techniques you can explore to manage premature ejaculation, every individual and relationship is unique.
If you find that premature ejaculation is significantly affecting your life, it may be beneficial to seek professional sex therapy help from our clinic.
At The Tri Health Clinic, we specialize in providing tailored sex therapy and couples counselling services specifically designed to address challenges such as PE. Our experienced therapists are dedicated to enhancing pleasure, fostering healthy communication, and helping couples navigate their concerns effectively.
Contact us for sex therapy or couples counselling, and take the first step toward a more fulfilling sex life.