You’ve tried crunching baseball stats. You’ve mentally replayed your favourite episode of Westworld. You’ve outlined the steps to building your favourite burrito at Guzman. But somehow, the more you try to last longer in bed, the faster you finish. What’s going on?
Luckily, you’re not alone. “Premature ejaculation is a problem that affects almost every man at some point in his life,” says Dr. Thomas J. Walsh, a urologist at the University of Washington. While you’re more likely to experience it in your 20s and 30s, as many as one out of three men of all ages say they’ve experienced it at some point in their lives.
That said, it’s important to note that while a lot of guys might think they struggle with premature ejaculation, they’re probably well within the range of normal. Most sex therapists say the “desirable” amount of time for a sexual encounter, from penetration to orgasm, is somewhere between 5.4 and 7.5 minutes — a much shorter amount of time than most porn movies and sex position manuals would suggest.
Further, many women don’t have orgasms from penetrative sex to begin with: in one 2017 study, only 18 percent of women said they could have orgasms from penetrative sex alone, while 37 percent said they required clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm at all. So at the end of the day, she cares a lot less about duration than she does about whether you’re being attentive in, ahem, other ways.
That said, if you’re 100 percent convinced you’re a quick shooter, what can you do if you want to last longer in bed? Here, Dr. Walsh 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.
If someone suggested to you that you delay your orgasm while masturbating, your first thought would probably be: “Uh, but…why?” Well, according to Walsh, intentionally delaying orgasm (otherwise known as edging) is one of the most common techniques for avoiding premature ejaculation. Basically, it involves you bringing yourself right to the edge of orgasm before stopping all sexual or masturbatory activity until you have your excitement under control.
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 chafing, 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, or the tube running along the underside of the penis, advises Dr. Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and author of She Comes First.
The squeeze technique can help you last longer in bed by pushing blood out of the penis and momentarily decreasing sexual tension, which represses the ejaculatory response, Kerner says.
“This is another type of biofeedback, similar to edging.” Dr. Walsh adds.
3) Ladies First
As we stated above, many women require clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm in the first place — so while you’re trying to keep your own orgasm at bay, get to work and help her find her own bliss. Whether you use your mouth, your fingers, or a toy — hey, we recommend all three! — knowing she’s enjoyed an orgasm may relieve some of the pressure you’re feeling to last longer in bed, Kerner says.
4) Condom Control
Yes, we know what you’re going to say — condoms reduce sensation during sex, you can’t feel anything, etc. But here’s a little secret: if you struggle with premature ejaculation, condoms are your best friend. Most major condom manufacturers make extra-thick rubbers that act like a slip-on desensitiser for your member during sex, Morse says, and these can help you avoid premature ejaculation.
In Europe, there are many legal drugs that purportedly help you last longer in bed, Dr. Walsh says. The problem: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved those drugs to treat PE in the U.S. Why?
“Even though trials show these drugs genuinely benefitted men with premature ejaculation, the FDA sets a very high bar for drugs used to treat non-life threatening conditions,” Dr. Walsh explains.
There’s also evidence to suggest that some antidepressants can help delay orgasm — Paxil, or paroxetine, has proven to be particularly effective — but they could lead to mood changes or other side effects and shouldn’t be used unless prescribed by a doctor, says Dr. Walsh. So at the end of the day, these should be considered a last result.
6) Anaesthetic wipes
In 2017, a small study found that applying wipes covered in a small amount of benzocaine, a mild anaesthetic, can reduce the effects of premature ejaculation. The problem? The wipes could have the unintended effect of numbing your partner’s vagina, NYC-based urologist Dr. David Samadi said. So maybe don’t break out the baby wipes just yet.
7) Ask an expert
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to have better sex without success, it may be time to discuss your problem with a doctor, 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 avoid premature ejaculation.”
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This article originally appeared on Men’s Health