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Baseball stats. Bacon-wrapped scallops. Donald Trump’s hair. Every guy has his own go-to mental distraction when he’s trying to last longer during sex.
But there are two flaws to this classic stall tactic:
1) When you’re having sex, you should be enjoying yourself—not thinking about a billionaire’s combover.
2) Distracting yourself to avoid pulling the trigger just doesn’t work, says Michael Perelman, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychology and reproductive medicine at Cornell University.
Coming too quickly is very often a matter of anxiety, not arousal, says David Rowland, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Valparaiso University.
When you feel yourself rapidly approaching blastoff, you start to worry. And, like a sexual snowball effect, that worrying fires up your nervous system in ways that speed up ejaculation, Rowland explains.
To last longer, you need to calm your anxious brain, not try to stuff it with non-sexual images.
And how do you do that? Focus on the incredibly awesome sex you’re having. “If you’re enjoying the sensations of sex, you’re not focusing on thoughts of, ‘What if I finish too soon,’ ” Rowland says.
Try to pick out something specific, like your partner’s lips, her breathing, or the movement of her hips or shoulders, suggests Rowland.
Say what? If that sounds surprising to you, you’re not alone: We had to ask Rowland twice if we were understanding this correctly. After all, wouldn’t focusing more on her body and your pleasure send you to a speedier conclusion?
No, says Rowland. He insists that as counterintuitive as it sounds, occupying your brain with sexual thoughts relaxes you and reduces your anxiety, which gives you more staying power. And regardless of what you may think about this strategy, the only way to truly find out if it works for you is to try it.
That said, there’s only so much your mind can do to slow an oncoming orgasm. So you need to keep tabs on your own excitement levels, Perelman says. If you feel yourself approaching the finish line too soon, recognizing this allows you to “pull back” before it’s too late.
Tell your partner know you need to slow down. Say to her, “You’re so hot. I’m not going to last long if we keep this up.” Then stimulate her orally or manually until you’ve calmed down a bit, Rowland advises.
“Being upfront in this way shows your partner you’re sexually confident—and also that you’re interested in more than your own gratification,” Rowland says.
Remember, it’s the sudden absence of intimacy that really makes the situation awkward. Even if you finish quickly, sticking around to help your partner get off will ensure her needs have been met—and lower the pressure you feel to perform the next time around.
Plus, research from Winona State University shows most men mistakenly equate “good sex” with “long sex.” But women don’t think about it in those terms. Thoughtful, stimulating foreplay and What to Say after Sex are more important when it comes to her enjoyment, the Winona State research suggests.