Unlike premature ejaculation—usually defined as ejaculating 3 minutes or less after penetration—there isn’t a set amount of time that constitutes delayed ejaculation.Statistically, that time frame is far enough away from the average guy’s norm of about 5 minutes—as reported in a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine—to indicate a possible problem.Sound like you? Here’s everything you need to know about why it may be taking so long to finish in bed, and how to treat the condition.
What Causes Delayed Ejaculation?
Ejaculation is a complicated process that involves your brain, nerves, and muscles in your pelvic region. Your nerves send a signal from your brain to your pelvis muscles telling them to contract and release semen.
But when your nerves aren’t communicating properly—whether from a disease like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, or from aging—that “ejaculate now” message from your brain can get lost in translation.
Some drugs can also delay your ejaculation, especially those that affect your central nervous system
Then there are your hormone levels: Guys with low testosterone or low thyroid hormones may be more at risk for delayed ejaculation.
Psychological issues like anxiety, depression, performance anxiety, relationship conflict, or sexual shame, or even the fear of becoming a father can also hinder ejaculation
Finally, if these problems pop up only when you’re with your partner, consider the way you masturbate.
If you use an atypical technique—like rubbing your penis against a certain object, or sticking it into a vise-like device—your partner’s vagina or mouth may not be able to replicate it
The Effects of Delayed Ejaculation
You might think endless sex sounds awesome, but many guys with delayed ejaculation complain that the sustained effort makes them feel physically exhausted during the act. In fact, that’s why a lot of them actually have to stop sex before they ever orgasm.
But delayed ejaculation can be mentally draining, too. Men can start to feel depressed or anxious that they’re taking too long to finish, which can be a self-perpetuating cycle
That’s because if you stress about how long it’s taking you to get off, your body produces more of the hormone adrenaline.
And more adrenaline is bad news for your penis. The hormone can make it difficult for you to achieve an erection in the first place. Then, if you do get hard, it can delay ejaculation.
Taking too long during sex may also strain your relationship. If you have difficulty finishing when you’re with your partner, she may feel like she’s unattractive or not able to satisfy you, he says.
How Do You Treat Delayed Ejaculation?
Your first step is to see a urologist—preferably one who specializes in sexual medicine. Most primary care doctors aren’t going to have enough experience with this condition to treat it successfully,
Once you find a doctor, prepare to answer some personal questions at your appointment: How’s your relationship going? How do you usually masturbate?
These conversations may be awkward, but they’ll help your doctor determine what’s causing the problem.
Depending on your answers, your urologist will most likely order a full workup, including tests for testosterone, thyroid, and blood sugar levels.
However, the most successful treatment includes both medical intervention and counseling, That’s where a sex therapist comes in—for both you and your partner.
Expect to dive into social or relationship issues at your appointment. These can be fueling your stress, which may leave you struggling to finish in bed.
Your therapist will teach you ways to control those anxieties so they don’t manifest during sex.
And if your masturbating technique is to blame, your sex therapist can teach you how to do it in a way that’s more replicable during sex with your partner.