posted: 01/09/2010 3:45 pm
Dear Dr. Myrtle--
Lately, it's been taking me a really long time to be able to ejaculate and have an orgasm. Why is this happening?
There are a variety of reasons that men may be unable to orgasm and ejaculate, a condition known as delayed ejaculation (DE) or ejaculatory delay. DE is defined as the inability to orgasm and ejaculate within a period of time that seems reasonable to you and your partner. This doesn’t mean just 2 or 3 minutes, but if you find that you’re going on much longer than usual, you may be experiencing DE.
Here are some of the most common reasons for DE, and what you can do about it:
1. Use of anti-depressant medication (any that affect serotonin reuptake). These medications slow down your neurological response to stimulation, making it harder to kick off the orgasm response. In fact, some doctors use these drugs to help men who ejaculate more quickly than they’d like (see next column, Eager Ejaculation).
If you think your medication may be causing your DE, you have a couple of options. First, you can change medications to one that does not have this effect (Wellbutrin, for example). However, if the medication is working well for you, you may instead want to try adding more stimulation to see if that helps. Vibration is an effective type of stimulation; you might wear a vibrating erection ring or hold a vibrator on any sensitive areas on your penis, scrotum, or perineum. You could also add prostate stimulation by inserting a prostate stimulator (vibrating or not) into the anus so that it rubs the prostate.
Some men report that mental stimulation is also helpful; this could be erotic talk with a partner or fantasizing about something that is a powerful turn-on.
2. Longer recovery period needed, caused by frequent masturbation (or other sexual play), or aging. Some men may need to decrease the frequency of self-pleasure or other sex play if they struggle with DE. Also, as men get older, they may need more time in between ejaculations before they are able to have another orgasm or ejaculate again. They may be able to get erections, but find that they just cannot get enough stimulation to have an orgasm. If this is the case for you, you could either continue the same level of sex play as before, but with added stimulation as described above, or you could decrease the frequency of your orgasms until you find the right balance.
3. Stress, distraction, or inability to stay focused and present in the body. These are the most common reasons for DE, particularly in this era of cell phones, stressful jobs, and busy lives. If you find yourself unable to keep from thinking about work or your to-do list, this may be what’s happening for you. The best way to address this is to turn off your phone, practice letting go of the lists in your head, and concentrate on the sensations you are enjoying during your sexual play. Some find it easier to focus on sensations by using a blindfold or even ear plugs. Others try erotic talk with a partner as a way to stay focused on the sexual encounter. Consider taking a class in meditation or other stress-reduction techniques. Taking a brisk 30 minute walk before sex will also help; it increases your blood flow (which in turn increases your ability to get aroused) and can help you clear your mind.