Q: I’m not sure if this is even really a problem, but it’s been a point of contention with my girlfriend, so I guess it is. I’m a 33-year-old heterosexual man and it takes me about 40 minutes to cum during sex. It feels crazy that this is a problem for her, based on what I hear from most guys and all these “last longer” ads. But my girlfriend finds it frustrating. When we have sex, she gets off several times and is ready to be done and on to the next thing after 20, 30 minutes. But I still need way more time, so lately she gets up and I finish myself off. Otherwise, I end up feeling like I’m just bothering her. For context: when I’m by myself, I have a solid routine and can take care of business in 5 to 10 minutes, though I usually draw it out more. Is there something wrong with me?
If we were to take all the sitcom jokes and dick medication commercials literally, we’d get the impression that the only quality sex is marathon deep-dicking with foot-long schlongs. While there is definitely a market for that, it’s far from the only satisfying menu option.
Mainstream porn and spam emails will also have you thinking that the ideal penis size is so big that it complicates going through airport security, but in reality: the biggest penises are not the most highly desired by women. And for long-term relationships, women say they want their partner’s penis to be slightly smaller than if it’s just a hookup. Among gay men, it’s even more complicated.
Same thing goes for the ideal duration of intercourse. There’s a trope of women left unsatisfied, but when surveyed, heterosexual women actually wanted shorter bouts of banging than their male partners. What everyone wanted more of – regardless of gender – was the type of play that happens before the penetration. The heterosexual orgasm gap has more to do with too little focus being paid to clitoral stimulation and too much emphasis on penetration.
Mainstream porn and spam emails will also have you thinking that the ideal penis size is so big that it complicates going through airport security, but in reality: the biggest penises are not the most highly desired by women.
That information is not meant to make you feel bad about your delayed orgasm, it’s just a reminder that what matters is the actual experiences of the people in a relationship, not the cliches about sex floating about in the ether.
To your question about whether there is something wrong with you – I wouldn’t say that. People vary and that’s OK. But you are consistently having a challenging time orgasming with your partner – but not with masturbation – and this is causing distress in your relationship. Those factors indicate you might be an appropriate candidate for a diagnosis of delayed ejaculation.
It’s probably the least understood sexual dysfunction, and – to your point – entirely counter to a lot of heterosexual cultural narratives, because premature ejaculation (where orgasm typically occurs less than a minute after penetration or even before) is an exponentially more common issue. The cause could be something physical like nerve damage, chronic illness, or the side effects of medication or too much alcohol. Or it could be something psychological like boredom, trauma, anxiety about sexuality or just off-putting ambiance.
What is sometimes the case – and it sounds like this might be applicable to your situation – is that you have developed a highly specified masturbatory ritual or idiosyncratic technique when jerking off that makes it difficult to cum any other way. If you’re getting yourself off in a fraction of the time, it’s probably not a biological issue…unless you have some undiagnosed penile sensitivity issues and have been using an exceptional amount of friction or pressure on yourself – something that your partner’s vagina is unable to replicate.
The frustrating thing about discordant sexual desires between partners – whether it’s that one person wants to do it more often than the other, or that one has a strong interest that the other does not – is that the chasm usually grows wider and wider. The feelings of pressure and rejection build upon each other, making the problem worse over time.
The frustrating thing about discordant sexual desires between partners – whether it’s that one person wants to do it more often than the other, or that one has a strong interest that the other does not – is that the chasm usually grows wider and wider.
You told me about your girlfriend’s experience: she gets off a few times and then is maybe feeling a little raw and needs to pee. What is it like for you? Are you turned on the whole time? Are you able to stay present in the moment? Were you raised with ideas about sex that make you feel guilty? Have you had some negative sexual experiences that still have an impact?
When you masturbate, is there a specific fantasy or type of stimulation necessary to get your engine revved that is missing from your partnered sex? Could you share your fantasies or show her your preferred jerk off method? If you devoted more time to pleasuring each other before penetration, would that lead to a reduction in how long it takes to get off? These are all things that could really change the game for you two … or point to the issue being something else entirely.
It’s always a good idea to get a physical wellness check and sex is usually benefited by regular bouts of sobriety, exercise, and sleep, so keep that in mind too. Regardless, try working together on having the most pleasurable, connective sex you can and not focusing on orgasms or clocks so much.
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