Q: I usually have lots of stamina when it comes to sex--meaning I can hold back my orgasm for a good while--but sometimes when I'm with a new woman, it's hard to stay erect very long without ejaculating. I get too worked up and lose control. I'm afraid that's the reason I rarely see those women again. It's embarrassing! I don't want the reputation of being a premature ejaculator. I've heard that some antidepressants can help delay ejaculation. Would that be a safe course of action? Please help me last longer. I could use some techniques for controlling myself.
A: Novelty is probably one of our strongest aphrodisiacs. Many men ejaculate rapidly with new partners. It's hard to contain the intense arousal that occurs when you meet an exciting new sex/love interest. The same can be said for women, but the heightened arousal usually works in their favor.
The average male will probably ejaculate within three to five minutes with fast, steady thrusting and no concentrating--and much faster if it's been a while or if he's anxious. A slower pace and stopping and starting will help delay the big O. A man must learn to accurately assess his level of arousal so he knows when to slow down, skip a beat or stop.
Are you wearing a condom with each new partner? A condom can sometimes desensitize the erogenous zones of the penis, but I've heard of a few unfortunate souls who have ejaculated while putting one on--total bummer! There are also external desensitizing creams on the market, although rumor has it they are little help. Most of the creams contain active ingredients such as zylocaine or benzocaine. When spread over the penis, they numb the superficial nerve endings. Remember the movie "There's Something About Mary"? Ben Stiller's friend clued him in to the trick of masturbating before the date to lessen the surging testosterone. It's a good tip; just please don't greet your date with jism all over your ear.
When you find yourself getting hot and heavy with a new woman, spend lots of time in foreplay so you can find out what she really likes. Bring her to orgasm manually, orally, psychically--whatever it takes. And give her lots of them. (That way you won't feel inadequate if you come too quickly.) Then lie on your back, completely relaxed and have her mount you. Let her do all of the maneuvering for a while. Many men last a bit longer in that female-superior position. The woman usually slides back and forth rather than moving up and down so that her clitoris receives more stimulation. When she stays in close and moves in that fashion, the stimulation for the male is just at the base of his penis. Beware, however, if she squats over you and begins lifting and lowering herself on your penis while playing with herself. Most men have to be peeled off the ceiling after experiencing that position. If she assumes the "frogger"--which is an excellent leg workout--you'll probably want to hold a pillow over your face until you can stand it no more.
In regard to taking an antidepressant to delay ejaculation, I wouldn't recommend it. The medications typically prescribed for men who prematurely ejaculate are those used to treat depression, such as Paxil or Zoloft. While the therapy works for some men, it doesn't work for all. Even when it does help, it's not a cure. It's a temporary aid, and once the man stops taking it, he'll be back where he started. Sometimes the antidepressant can completely prevent ejaculation. Those medications are also notorious for zapping one's libido. Certainly discuss your situation with your doctor if you feel strongly about it, but since you say you normally have plenty of stamina, your best course of action would be to take a more behavioral approach rather than a physical one.
The behavioral approach assumes that some men must learn ejaculatory control without altering their external or internal physiology. I'm sure you're familiar with the tactic of thinking about something like Willie Mays stats or nuns while doing the dirty deed to hold back. Once you've learned a strategy for controlling the ejaculatory process, you can use that knowledge for a lifetime.
I've previously discussed in the column the benefits of separating ejaculation from orgasm so that men can experience multiple orgasms. Many men are impatient and unwilling to learn what they need to know; however, most nonmedical practitioners recommend taking the behavioral approach first, using medication only with a man who is unable to learn better control. The behavioral approach takes time and practice, and learning occurs much faster if there's an understanding and cooperative partner. Lucky for you, the learning process can be fun and the results well worth the effort. And what a great excuse to have sex! "Hey, sweet thang, wanna help me practice controlling my ejaculations?" (That's a futile attempt at humor. Don't you dare say that to a lady.)
As a man ages, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to performance anxiety, prompted by a fear of failure. You're a young guy, so get it under control now. Rapid or premature ejaculation can become a major concern for a man or his partner, but the real problem is the mental anguish. There are plenty of ways to get each other off, but the man may begin to feel inadequate and then begin to avoid sex. That will make his partner unhappy and uncomfortable. The situation could escalate into anger on both sides and eventually lead to depressed sexual confidence--not to mention a broken relationship. It's a vicious circle. Avoid it at all costs.
There are men who ejaculate in 30 seconds and don't give it a second thought, and there are men who ejaculate in 10 minutes and are worried sick. There are women who love to orgasm with oral or manual stimulation and couldn't care less how long their partner spends thrusting inside them to get his nut. By the same token, there are women who avoid orgasms before penetration, hoping for their climax during intercourse. If you get one of those babes, be sure to tell her things like, "You make me so excited, I don't know if I can last long inside of you right now." That will make her feel like a princess and get you off the hook at the same time.
The bottom line is to lessen your O-ticipation beforehand--via condoms or masturbation--stay focused and make sure your partner gets all she wants first. After that it's a nice gesture to ask her if you may come. Then knock yourself out. --Laura M. Moore
Editor's note: Laura Moore is IRONMAN's resident sexpert, a science writer for Penthouse, radio talk show host of "The Health Nuts" and author of Sex Heals. Send your questions and comments to her at thefitdiva.com. IM