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You’ve tried crunching soccer stats. You’ve mentally replayed your last round of golf. You’ve outlined the steps to making your favorite sandwich. But the more you try to slow yourself down during sex, the faster you finish—and you’re not alone.
“Premature ejaculation is a problem that affects almost every man at some point in his life,” says Thomas J. Walsh, M.D., a urologist at the University of Washington.
Dr. Walsh says there are primarily two methods of dealing with your speed issues: physical and psychological treatments. While physical remedies target the sensations you feel during sex, psychological solutions address your worry, stress, or other mental factors that may explain your quick trigger, Dr. Walsh explains.
Here, he and other experts break down a few of the most helpful techniques for dealing with premature ejaculation (PE). But be warned: Dr. Walsh recommends trying these out on your own before attempting them during sex.
In general terms, this refers to the idea that you can regulate your own neurophysiology—or the way your body responds to physical sensations, Dr. Walsh explains. While there are a lot of different types of biofeedback, he says one of the most common for treating PE is to bring yourself right to the edge of orgasm before stopping all sexual or masturbatory activity until you have your excitement under control. Also known as “edging”, practicing this technique can help you teach your brain and body to better control your orgasm response, adds sex therapist Emily Morse, Ph.D. Just be sure to use a lot of lotion or lube while you practice edging to avoid chaffing yourself, she advises.
2. The Squeeze
If you can feel your orgasm coming on, stop and squeeze right below the head of your penis. Apply firm pressure with your thumb and forefinger and focus the pressure on the urethra—the tube running along the underside of the penis, advises Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of She Comes First. The squeeze technique pushes blood out of the penis and momentarily decreases sexual tension, which represses the ejaculatory response, Kerner says. “This is another type of biofeedback, similar to edging.” Dr. Walsh adds.
3. Ladies First
When you help her finish first—whether with your mouth, your fingers, or a toy—knowing she’s enjoyed an orgasm may relieve some of the pressure you’re feeling, Kerner says.
Like the stuff dentists slather on your gums before jamming in the needle, there are topical sprays called “local anesthetics” that you can apply to your penis to lessen the sensation and keep control, Dr. Walsh says. “When used properly, you can adjust the amount of desensitization with these sprays, and it won’t transfer to your partner,” he adds. But be warned: The lack of sensation could make it difficult for you to stay erect, he says.
5. Condom Control
Most major condom manufacturers make extra-thick rubbers that act like a slip-on desensitizer for your member, Morse says.
Plenty of men pop a pill to become erect. And in Europe, there are also legal drugs that can help you last longer in bed, Dr. Walsh says. The problem: most of these meds are antidepressants that could lead to mood changes or other side effects—meaning they shouldn’t be used unless your performance problem is seriously affecting your life, Dr. Walsh says. He advises talking to your doctor to discuss this option.
7. Ask an Expert
If you feel like you’ve tried everything without success, it may be time to discuss your problem with a sexual dysfunction specialist, Dr. Walsh says. “A lot of the treatments we’ve already discussed—edging and biofeedback—are pretty challenging techniques that a specialist can help you use effectively.” He recommends asking your doctor for a referral to a urologist, who can either treat you himself or refer you to the right person for your problem. “He or she will help you approach this practically and pragmatically,” Dr. Walsh says, adding, “It’s not about getting in touch with your inner self. It’s about learning the physical or mental mechanisms that can help you.