Updated: Jul 11
In a group on Facebook a question came up re premature ejaculation. Here's the question...
I have a new lover who struggles with premature ejaculation.
He's great. He's 45 and this has been an issue for him since he was 17.
I'm up for supporting him through/beyond this.
Any advice for either of us? Have you recovered from this or supported someone effectively in recovery, any guidance?
My reply was...
First I want to say, it's great to see how supportive you are to your new lover. It sounds like from your message that you are looking to hold space for him in this process and are coming at it from a non-judgmental and loving way. He's lucky to have you!
There can be so many different reasons for premature ejaculation so he would need individual support to get to the cause of it. I would also like to check, is it premature ejaculation or would he like to last longer? Did you know that during vaginal penetration most men ejaculate after 5.4 minutes? The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) recommends the following definition of premature ejaculation:
‘a male sexual dysfunction characterized by ejaculation which always or nearly always occurs before or within about 1 min of vaginal penetration, and the inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations, and negative personal consequences, such as stress, bother, frustration and/or the avoidance of sexual intimacy’ [McMahon et al. 2008].
It's important to be aware of what the actual definition is, as sometimes men can believe they have premature ejaculation but in fact, they would just like to last longer.
So after taking a look at that information, whether it is premature ejaculation or if in fact he would like to last longer, here are some tips and suggestions below.
The ejaculatory reflex is linked to the sympathetic nervous system, fight/flight. So it could be an idea to have a look at his overall wellness, especially if he suffers from stress or maybe from anxiety? This would need to be addressed to support him sufficiently. I talk about anxiety and how that shows up in the body in Anxiety In Sex, Love And Relationships and Anxiety Or Intuition?.
It could be that how he is breathing could be putting him into fight/flight (sympathetic nervous system state) - open mouth and breathing quickly brings more oxygen and quickly into the system so this could be having an effect. Therefore, slow belly breaths in and out through the nose with a long exhale will bring him into a rest/digest state (parasympathetic state).
If he’s in his head and worrying about premature ejaculation then this will also put him in fight/flight so working to create a container that when he becomes aware of stories and begins to worry, that you both take a moment, hold space and he processes it to observe the thoughts and let them go. Regular meditation can support with this. I talk more about stories that put us into fight and flight here in Stress Responses And The Stories We Tell Ourselves.
Also a physical examination re the pelvic floor. Men can be heavily impacted by their pelvic floor too and it doesn’t get talked about enough. So how much tension does he hold in his pelvic floor? A good way to notice is if he has tension in his jaw as they are related. Sitting on the floor on a tennis ball and slowly rolling it around on the glutes can be a good way to see if there are any muscles holding tension. Being mindful too, that oftentimes when we react to situations we will tense up, after that reaction is he learning to release too or does he continue to hold onto that tension in his pelvic floor?
And my next suggestion is that it needs to be him that looks for support in this. It’s really great that you are taking the initiative in this. However, the risk is you could end up in your relationship with a situation as the ‘rescuer’. It can end up in you falling into the 'Mother and Son' dynamic in your relationship, I talk about the pitfalls of being in this dynamic in "I Want My Partner To Take More Initiative Around The House". This dynamic is draining for you and NOT sexy.
It is his body and his responsibility. As a partner you are there to support him in the process. Not lead it.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.