Come Too Soon - Premature Ejaculation (Part 2)
If you’re a man who’s ever experienced early ejaculation when you weren’t ready for it, you’ll know how upsetting this feels. Perhaps you’ve been ashamed or embarrassed that you couldn’t ‘go the extra mile’.
Premature ejaculation is medically defined as a heightened sensitivity to stimulation resulting in early ejaculation at less than 1 to 2 minutes from insertion. Pretty generic, right? And it doesn’t really take into account what your definition of optimal sexual function means to you.
If you’re not happy with your performance and it’s causing you distress, either personally or in your relationship or both, don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not an issue just because it doesn’t meet a medical definition. If it’s an issue for you, it’s an issue.
The theory around why premature ejaculation happens in the first place has to do with the nervous system. (Click here to read more about the science behind ejaculation).
The ejaculation reflex is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight or freeze stress response mechanism) and sometimes this communication highway gets hijacked. The more stress you’re in, the quicker this reflex will turn on. You should also know that premature ejaculation is 100% reversible… phew!
Unfortunately, all it takes is one time to emotionally condition a premature ejaculation response, meaning that your brain will be on high alert with the next sexually relevant episode. In short, you’ll worry about it and that in itself will put the brakes on bedroom antics. It’s also worth keeping in mind here that relationship trouble can be a key player in your sexual performance.
So, what can you do to optimize your stamina in the bedroom?
Here are four ways you can take control of liftoff:
Get to know your private bits – Improving pelvic muscle awareness and coordination can help you better control the ejaculatory reflex. The key word being coordination. It’s not just about Kegel-ing or contracting your pelvic muscles 110%. It’s just as important to let go as it is to contract. Coordination involves awareness of what your pelvic muscles feel like in action and when they’re just on standby. To optimize efficiency, power and control of these muscles, you’ve got to learn how to relax and let go.
So, how do you do this? Start by standing in front of a mirror (naked) to observe your genitals. Next, take a deeper breath in and just notice what happens at the genitals. On your next exhale, tighten as if you were going to stop the flow of urine and hold back a fart. (You know that feeling when you’re on a date and you don’t want to let one pass? Yup, those are your pelvic muscles in action.) You should notice your penis shorten, testicles lift, and anus close. As you begin to inhale again, you should see these muscles let go, soften, and descend.
It’s pretty common for guys to overdo it, meaning you might observe yourself holding your breath, squeezing your butt cheeks, or gripping your abs. If you find yourself doing any of these, see if you can refine your control by relaxing the other parts of your body so you can focus on just the pelvic muscles.
Practice this awareness throughout the day. (Clothes off is optional.) Some ideas to get you started: while you’re brushing your teeth, standing in line at the store, or sitting in your car waiting for the light to turn green. The more you can get in tune with this part of your body, the better control you’ll have in the bedroom.
Making things a little less sensitive – Try the squeeze technique to interrupt the ejaculatory reflex. You can do this solo or with your partner. Click here to watch a video I made to demonstrate this technique.
Here’s how it works:
Either by yourself or with help from a partner, get your penis fully erect.
Once fully erect, place your thumb or your partner’s thumb on the frenulum (piece of skin that attaches the head or glans penis to the foreskin). Then place your index finger above the coronal ridge (bottom edge of the glans penis) and the middle finger just below it. You want your fingers close together but sandwiching the coronal ridge on either side, top and bottom.
Squeeze the penis firmly with both fingers and thumb for 3 to 4 seconds and release.
Wait 15 to 30 seconds then stimulate the penis again. (It’s common to lose some of your erection during this activity).
Practice this several times.
When you feel ready, you can try this technique with sexual activity (masturbation, oral, penetration, you catch my drift). You’ll use what you learned from the above steps in the same way.
Timing is everything and getting a feel for this technique will take some practice so don’t let yourself get discouraged.
Take a break – This is a start and stop technique that requires you to practice getting in tune with your sensations and knowing when to slow down or back off.
Here’s how it works:
Begin by getting in the mood, whether alone or with a partner. Foreplay (whatever that looks like for you) is a great way to be present and playful without the added pressure to perform.
If you begin to feel like you’re getting close to climax, notice this sensation and pause whatever you’re doing. Rest for however long it takes to calm the intensity of being close to climax. Use this rest time to take slow breaths and let go of any tension in your body.
Once composed, continue on and repeat this process until you’re ready to enjoy orgasm.
This technique takes persistence and lots of mindful practice so be patient with yourself during the learning process.
Get off the ledge – If your nervous system is frazzled and you’re feeling on edge, it’s time to let go of control and the pressure to perform. The more you can regulate your stress mechanisms and tame the worry around sexual function, the better off you’ll be in bed.
Establish a mindfulness practice, one where you are in the present moment without letting distractions carry you away. The more mindful and present you can be without judgement or reaction, the better control you’ll have over unwanted thoughts and stress. Result? Less chatter upstairs and more commotion downstairs.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) training is another option to help balance your nervous system. HRV, in its simplest explanation, is a measure of your autonomic nervous system function. It’s not heart rate. It’s the variable time in between heart beats that has been shown to be a good representation of your own autonomic nervous system pattern. One study analyzed HRV in men with premature ejaculation and showed that there was an increase in sympathetic activity in men with lifelong premature ejaculation.
Check out some of my favorite HRV training apps:
Here’s a video I made to demonstrate the squeeze technique to interrupt the ejaculatory reflex.
The purpose of doing the above techniques is to recondition your nervous system so that you can gain greater control in the bedroom. Remember, the biggest and perhaps most influential sex organ is the one sitting between your ears, so keep this in mind as you apply these strategies.
If you’re still struggling with premature ejaculation, let’s chat.