One of the biggest psychological factors you may be facing if you’re struggling with early ejaculation is feeling like pleasure is not important or welcomed – especially as it relates to your body.
Many men who struggle with premature ejaculation report trying to hold back or shut down their pleasure, therefore distancing themselves from what they are feeling physically and emotionally.
I think of it as like a “shaming guilt” – you might say things to yourself like: “it’s not okay to want this,” “my energy is going to overwhelm my partner,” or “I need to make sure she is getting what she wants and put my own needs aside.”
In our culture today, many men report getting mixed messages around what they are expected to bring to a sexual experience. In one sense men are demonized just for being male, and their sexuality is further demonized as threatening or simply unwelcome or undesirable. While, at the same time they get the message that women want men to pursue them and take responsibility for all their needs, like the plot of 50 Shades of Grey.
Am I allowed to feel pleasure if I don’t last long enough?
For men who struggle with early ejaculation, there is often an underlying belief that they are not worthy of pleasure because they do not last long enough. This negative belief pattern makes it much more difficult to change.
Many of my clients have reported things like: “why care about my pleasure, I cannot even last long enough to pleasure her?”
What they are doing is pushing away – it’s not even in their thoughts that their pleasure is important. But it is important. In fact, it’s crucial for learning how to control your ejaculation.
Pleasure, Pleasure, Pleasure!
For the long term health of a sexual relationships – both people need to get pleasure – not just one person.
Learning ejaculation control is about learning how to have more pleasure in your body and while your partner will benefit from your efforts to make changes – it is first and foremost about you accepting and allowing pleasure to enter into your body.
Another huge psychological factor is performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is the fear of being a bad lover or being unable to please your partner. That you won’t be able to get an erection or that your abilities will fall short of what’s expected. In our society, many people hold the belief that sex won’t happen unless a man makes it happen. He is expected to take all the initiative – taking on both the responsibility of his own pleasure along with his partner’s – and if he doesn’t have an orgasm his partner may wonder what’s wrong with him — even if he stays hard and lasts a long time!
When we really examine all the pressure men take on during sex, it’s no wonder why so many men struggle.
Some clients report that their main reason for wanting to fix this issue is that their partner wants them to last longer, and their focus becomes pleasing their partner rather than being able to feel pleasure in their own body.
Get hard and stay hard – Just like in Porn, right?
One cause of performance anxiety is the expectation that a man should get hard on demand and staying hard for a long time. When I ask clients where they got this belief from, they say they are either not really sure or say it’s from porn.
One major downfall that porn has played is in this unrealistic belief of how cocks work because it makes viewers think that what they are seeing is the norm, that not only can men perform on demand, but they can maintain an erection for 20 minutes or more while fucking hard. To illustrate how unrealistic this is: imagine being put on a treadmill on the highest speed on the highest incline – after a few minutes you would just fall off the treadmill from exhaustion.
Yet this is what many men think is the desired performance that is expected of them.
The reality is, to last as long as a porn star you would have to use unnatural methods. What most people don’t know, but need to know, is that most male porn stars have taken over the recommended amount of performance enhancers, say 3 or 4 Viagras as well as being given cock injections between takes. In other words, their performance is artificial, for the purpose of entertainment.
I believe it’s important to understand what sex looks like for men who are not taking performance enhancers so you can take some of the pressure off yourself.
Fucking hard during sex typically happens more in intervals that last between 30 seconds to 5 minutes at a time. In between fucking harder, there is often slowing down, thrusting softer or in more of a grinding motion. To speed up and slow down is completely normal and women actually prefer this.
Do woman orgasm from intercourse?
Let’s also not forget that most women do not orgasm from penetration alone. More than 80 percent of women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm and penetration sex all by itself is not enough to create the stimulation most women need. Meaning, learning how to bring pleasure to a woman through fingers, tongues and toys plays a huge role in how satisfied she is. Not just how long your cock stays hard before you cum.
Body shame can also play huge role in how you allow yourself to express yourself sexually. For men who struggle with ejaculation control, there can be angst about how you look naked and not being masculine enough.
Women speak up more frequently about body shame but men also feel compared and judged by their appearance.
The fear of being too skinny, too fat, not big enough or not muscular enough has led to terms like “bigorexia.” Men also carry a lot of shame about the size and look of their cocks. For example, you might feel your cock is not big enough, you don’t like the shape of the head, or even the color of your cock.
Vulnerability of being fully seen
Another psychological factor, is a deep fear of being seen fully, or being vulnerable. We are our most vulnerable when we are in a state of arousal, physically naked and emotionally open. This fear of vulnerability – mixed with the reality of vulnerability that sex puts you in, can unleash unconscious psychological fears.
You might also feel stress that goes back to an experience of masturbating as a young boy. Maybe you got caught masturbating as a young child – mom or dad or someone walked in or you, and you needed to hide or quickly “finish.” If you have experienced some variation of this, opening up can feel humiliating and scary or you might have the unconscious sense that it will be followed by punishment. You may have learned that this type of pleasure is meant only for extreme privacy and sharing it is inappropriate.
Sometimes people with these experiences also have a lot of difficulty talking about anything sexual in general, especially how it relates to them personally.
One of the things I’ve also noticed about men with severe early ejaculation is a sense of trauma around the head of the penis. I think for some of these men, this trauma can be traced back to being circumcised as an infant.
I’ll share a story with you about one of my clients who experienced this. When he was able to very mindfully explore what was happening for him during arousal, he realized that as he was experiencing touch around the head of his penis, he was having a body memory of being held down and trying to get away, and being really scared.
He said it was hard to describe the feeling because there were “no words.”
Often times, when people have no words to explain experiences like this, it can mean there has been a traumatic experience that took place before they had a vocabulary.
In the psychology world, this is called pre-verbal trauma. His body was unconsciously re-living the trauma every time his cock was stimulated.
Once he allowed his body process this trauma, the sensitivity transformed into pleasure and he was able to last much longer, with more control and much more confidence.
What does progress look like?
Now that we’ve examined some of the physiological and psychological causes, let’s discuss what you can expect progress to look like so you can set realistic expectations for yourself.
You should start to see some progress right away. At first, however, that may mean only lasting one second longer.
Yes, that is progress! Everyone starts somewhere.