Dealing With Delayed Ejaculation

The Causes of Delayed Ejaculation

A lot of men with delayed ejaculation want to know exactly what’s causing the problem. But there’s no simple answer to that question. The best thing we can do is say there are two main groups of causes – psychological and physical causes.

Psychological Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation

Here are some ideas:

If you have anxiety about sex, or some kind of emotional issue with your partner, it’s worth teasing it out and dealing with it so you can approach sex in a confident, calm, mature, masculine frame of mind. That includes checking out your beliefs about sex – described in the next point.

You have a wrong set of beliefs about sex which cause you to take the focus off you and put it on your partner

If you’re not focusing on your own pleasure during sex, you’re not likely to be in the right frame of mind to control your ejaculation. You see, a lot of men have a belief that sex is all about satisfying their partner.

Well, of course, that is part of it, but when this becomes more important than taking your own pleasure (after all, sometimes it’s necessary to be selfish, even during sex), then you’re likely to have quite a bit of anxiety that’s going to feedback into your delayed ejaculation.

Performance anxiety of any kind is the enemy of a man who is trying to control his ejaculation, because as I explained already, anxiety produces a delayed ejaculation, which in turn produces more anxiety about not coming next time – and before you know it, you’re into a vicious circle.

So if you think it’s a man’s job to satisfy his partner during sex at the expense of his own pleasure, or that his partner comes first in every way, think again. Just re-orientate your beliefs a bit so that you feel at least equal to your partner in sexual matters.

Delayed ejaculation is often the result of stresses within the relationship. If it only occurs with your partner in this relationship, it’s likely there is something happening in your relationship which needs attention. Some other clues are: your partner has recently expressed dissatisfaction with your relationship, or you’re experiencing poor communication, a lack of empathy, many fights, and inability to resolve conflict.

Of course this is an issue for both of you, but please understand  that if your partner is feeling dissatisfied with your relationship this can be a factor in causing delayed ejaculation.  So if your relationship is suffering in any way, you need to definitely address this and restore the quality of your interaction with your partner. But how are you going to do this?

To start with, it’s important to understand your partner’s emotional distress about what’s happening in the relationship can affect your sexual self-confidence and ejaculatory control. Usually, when problem like this come up, communication is not as good as it might be, so the first thing you have to do is start talking to her about the issue, particularly if you are avoiding dealing with her disappointment!

That’s the first step in dealing with the problem. So here are a number of questions which you might answer individually and then together:

  • Is there conflict in your relationship over your expectations about gender roles (in other words, what you do in dividing up work and family commitments between you)?

  • Do you have arguments or disagreements over who does day-to-day tasks, sex in the relationship, the way you parent your children, or how much time you have is an individual versus how much time you spend together as a couple?

  • Are you irritated or annoyed by the amount of time and effort that you feel you have to spend attending to your partner’s needs in comparison to your own?

  • Do you have a sense that your partner is demanding too much of you?

  • Are you excessively competitive within the relationship?

  • Are you and she ready to co-operate on finding a cure for delayed ejaculation?

  • Have you considered offering each of the forgiveness for the wounds that you have inflicted on each other?

  • Have you tried to be calm and patient with each other and found that this is difficult?

  • When you have a disagreement, and attempt to resolve it, is the outcome to these discussions emotionally satisfying for each of you?

  • Are you actually afraid of deeper intimacy or a deeper relationship?

  • Do you trust your partner or are you nursing grudges about hidden hurts to have lingered because of unresolved conflicts in the past?

  • Do you feel empathy for your partner or do you have a superficial relationship which glosses over the issues that you know very well need to be addressed?

  • Are you afraid that if you start addressing relationship issues things will get worse?

  • And finally how do you feel in your relationship: supported or lonely, intimate or distant?

Resolving delayed ejaculation that has been caused by distress within the relationship requires you to work on your beliefs, your level of intimacy, and your cooperation. Your beliefs that you have about your relationship and sex determine the standards, the expectations, the perceptions and beliefs you have about a relationship, including, for example, how much time a couple “should” spend together and apart. 

Intimacy, by contrast, involves emotional empathy. This can heal emotional “wounds” caused by conflict you’re currently experiencing. You need a high level of trust before you can start work on intimacy issues. Finally, co-operation involves a couple working together as a team. That may require you to alter the way you interact with each other, especially if you are working on issues such as stopping delayed ejaculation, by altering the way you communicate.

You want good communication. Your relationship identity is made of your beliefs, your standards, your values, your expectations of both yourself and your partner. A subset of this is your sexual relationship identity, which comprises your sexual beliefs and expectations. Differences in these areas are to be expected, so it’s important that each of you should understand what sex means to you: is it simple pleasure, or is it a duty? Do you talk openly of your sexual desires and ideas, and you believe that section always be passionate?

Does your partner share this belief or does she believe that tender lovemaking is better, or that perhaps that there is more than one kind of sex?  The truth is, of course, these are issues that you need to discuss to understand each other fully. If one of you thinks that sex is always an expression of romance but the other believes that sex can be many things (an impulsive response to passion, the release of tension through a mechanical act, a romantic experience or an expression of intimacy, to name but a few possibilities) then there will be conflict at some point.

Video: Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation


Delayed Ejaculation

You can read all about this variation of male sexual problems in this book, which is all about delayed ejaculation.

Repressed Emotions & Male Sexual Dysfunction

Nowadays, some psychotherapists regard suppressed emotions as the chief cause of delayed ejaculation. This may be true even where unresolved anger, guilt, hostility or other emotions are responsible for psychological conflict, because all of them can generate anxiety. Yet anxiety itself is not a simple concept: the word refers to several different states.

For example, a phobia may be very different to a feeling of anxiety that results from conflict where a person can’t decide between two options, and this in turn is different from worry or performance anxiety. Worry – in the context of delayed ejaculation – consists of ruminating in advance about your sexual failures  before they’ve happened, thereby generating what we commonly describe as nervousness or fear about the prospect of sex. But nonetheless, the truth is that we all recognize anxiety when we are experiencing it, whether we call it fear, phobia, nervousness or whatever.

Vaginal Aversion

A surprising number of men have a condition known as vaginal aversion, where, for some unknown reason, they experience a sense of disgust, dislike or distaste for the female sexual organs.

A man who has such a response to the female genitals is likely to experience anxiety about the prospect of making love to a woman, don’t you think? It’s also easy to see how, in those circumstances, he may well ejaculate quickly because he wishes the sex act to be over as quickly as possible.

Performance Anxiety

However, the main cause of delayed ejaculation is regarded as performance anxiety. Performance anxiety can become a downward spiral of anticipation of failure, and ever more anticipatory anxiety, all causing reinforcement of his delayed ejaculation.

It’s certainly true that there have been other views over the years. For example, Masters and Johnson spoke of the concept of learned behavior as a result of the work they had done in the 1960s with men who ejaculated quickly. They noted that many of these men, all of whom they had seen in their clinic in a quasi-residential setting, complained of having had first sexual experiences which were marked out by furtiveness and nervousness.

For example, this might have included making love in a bedroom while listening out for parents intruding on their sexual activities, or it might have included sex in a car. And for some men it would certainly have included rapid and furtive masturbatory experiences as an adolescent, secretly conducted so as not to invite discovery.

The Physical Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation

You’re much too tense, physically, during sex and your muscles become tighter and tighter as you approach orgasm

Now that’s in a way not such a bad thing, because an orgasm is in fact a release of tension throughout the body. (more tension = more power to your orgasm!)

However, it is a simple fact that if you can maintain a relaxed body, and that applies especially to the muscles of the sexual, genital and pelvic regions, then the slow rate at which your muscular tension increases will give you a lot longer time to enjoy foreplay before you actually reach the point of orgasm.

Now you might be saying, “That’s crazy, I’m not going to spend time checking how tense I am during sex.” And even if you did this, you might wonder how you could ever do anything about it in the midst of foreplay or intercourse!

The answer is simple: being relaxed physically is just a matter of habit like everything else, and you can cultivate it. There are some powerful strategies to maintain physical relaxation no matter how much sexual excitement you’re experiencing.

Video: The Causes of Delayed Ejaculation

 Lack of Sensory Awareness

A later researcher, Helen Singer Kaplan, suggested that one of the causes of delayed ejaculation predominant among men who could not sustain sexual activity for very long was a lack of sensory awareness.

This meant that they were unaware of their position on the sexual response cycle, a deficit of awareness that was likely to mean they arrived at their point of no return, and hence the point of ejaculation, before they were even aware that it was going to happen. It’s certainly true that lack of feedback about bodily feelings is a common theme among men who talk about the problem of ejaculating with little or no control.

It’s also true that these men have an experience of sex that sounds like going from almost no arousal to sudden, unexpected ejaculation without much awareness of what’s happening in-between those two points. This would imply that for conventional therapeutic techniques, such as the squeeze technique, or the stop-start technique, it is always necessary for a man to gain greater awareness of his level of arousal before he starts therapy.

However, men who have had traumatic or undesirable sexual experiences in childhood, or even those who were brought up in an atmosphere of shame, guilt or embarrassment around sex, are inherently nervous about the possibility of sexual activity – either within their existing relationship or when starting a new one.

And so one of the fundamental issues that in the treatment of delayed ejaculation is exactly that: the historical experiences a man has had. Any sexually traumatic experiences which have not been addressed in therapy and have left him with a sense of guilt, shame, or embarrassment around sex may cause delayed ejaculation.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Early psychoanalytical theories about the origin of delayed ejaculation suggested that a man could be slow because of unconscious hostility towards women. 

However, for every man who exemplifies selfish narcissism, there are plenty of other men who are considerate and careful lovers, who attend to their partner’s needs by “giving” them an orgasm, either manually or orally, before intercourse begins.

The development of theories about the psychological or emotional origins of DE continued in 1943 when Bernard Schapiro suggested that difficulty with ejaculation was a psychosomatic disorder. This suggested delayed orgasm in men was similar to things like back pain or headaches, problems that were caused by internal tension and stress, or, to put it in more scientific terms, psychological conflict.

Very often men who are angry or resentful with their partner withhold their ejaculation, and do exactly the opposite of a man with delayed climax – that is to say, they take for ever and a day, and sometimes all eternity, to reach the point ejaculation during intercourse.

Causes and Cures For Delayed Ejaculation

Delayed ejaculation is caused by a complex mixture of emotional factors and physiological factors. For example you might find a man who feels some guilt or shame around sex, which stops him getting aroused, and perhaps also makes him avoid sex with his partner. The fact that he’s not actively seeking out sex with his partner decreases his libido, and of course this may increase resentment in the relationship between him and his partner.

As time goes by, you can see how things could get progressively worse and more challenging around sex, until a point arises where even when the couple do try to have physical intimacy, it just doesn’t work for either of them. Only the man who can’t ejaculate with his partner during sex can really identify the factors causing delayed ejaculation.

These might include, for example, issues such as low arousal, low libido, suppressed anger, an upbringing in which sex was taboo or shameful, religious repression of sexuality, a fear of women, a desire to be in control during sex, and various fears about sexual activity including getting woman pregnant and being humiliated in some way because of a sense of not being good enough. You can review some scientific work on this issue here.

Interestingly though, it’s not always necessary to get to the root of these problems – sometimes it’s just enough to increase a man’s self-confidence by helping him to find a way of making love that is satisfying to the man and his partner.

And, it’s also true that on occasion, there are problems which do indeed need to be dealt with, including things like vaginal aversion, lack of trust in women,
or deeply ingrained shame and guilt around sexual activity.

Another common problem that needs attention either from the man himself, or from the man in combination with his partner, is a history and practice of harsh masturbation using tight grip and fast movements. A man who has trained his body to respond stimulation at this level of intensity is not likely to be able to reach orgasm easily during vaginal intercourse with his wife or girlfriend, simply because the sensations and pressure on his penis are so much weaker during sex than during masturbation.

An Erection May Not Mean a Man’s Aroused

We are all accustomed to the idea that a man who has an erection is a man who is ready for sex! But it ain’t necessarily so. In reality, many men with delayed ejaculation have hard and long-lasting erections, but they are in fact not really aroused sexually at all. Most men will have experienced the morning erection which isn’t accompanied by a high level of sexual desire. So it’s entirely possible, as you can see, for you to have an erection but not be in a state of sexual arousal.

And when a man doesn’t really understand whether he’s aroused or not, as is often the case with men who have trouble ejaculating, then it’s likely he’s going to attempt to have intercourse with his partner – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, he may not reach orgasm easily. One of the reasons for this can be “autosexuality”, a name coined by the therapist Bernard Althof.


Whatever the reason, it’s not so uncommon for men to have an “autosexual” orientation around sexual activity. What this simply means is that a man simply prefers sexual activity with himself to sexual activity with a partner.nThere are various reasons for this, but essentially at its root a man’s autosexuality is either an avoidance of something that causes him fear, or the fact that he finds sex with his own hand more satisfying than sex with a partner.

There probably aren’t many men who would admit such a thing to their partner, but there are many men who prefer the sensations of masturbation to the sensations of intercourse and perhaps even oral pleasure. After all, sex with yourself doesn’t involve the pressure of pleasing a partner, it doesn’t involve the difficulty of interpersonal relationships, and it can be physically more satisfying. Now obviously there are some problems here. For one thing, a man in this situation is denied the pleasure of an intimate relationship – in fact he may not even understand that an intimate relationship can be pleasurable on both an emotional and a physical level.

And sex, when it does happen, can become a mechanical process, where the man simply thrusts hard into the woman. And of course for a woman it’s probably not especially satisfying to be making love to a man who’s a little bit disconnected from his body, his emotions, and his sense of trust and intimacy.

Discover how to talk to your partner about the problem. Only when the lines of communication are open can you take the first steps to overcoming delayed ejaculation and – if you wish – establishing an openhearted relationship in which you can fully enjoy your masculinity and the power of your sexuality.

Consequences of delayed ejaculation

Not to be able to ejaculate during lovemaking is distressing for both a man and his partner. So what causes this problem – delayed ejaculation – and can a man do to speed up his orgasm during sex?

Good questions, and to answer them, there are two areas we need to look at – the emotional or psychological and the physical.

Let’s start with the emotional and psychological.

Ejaculation Problems & Sexual Problems In Childhood

Things like sexual abuse obviously causes problems later in life. But so does a childhood environment in which sex was regarded as taboo or dirty or shameful. This kind of family environment can lead to the repression of sexual urges in adulthood because there’s so much shame or guilt around sex.

And, let’s face it, men can have all kinds of sexual issues with women, for all kinds of reasons, from outright childhood abuse to unpleasant experiences with bad mothering.

Sometimes the cause isn’t clear, but the problem may be: delayed ejaculation,  vaginal aversion (you just don’t like the female genitals), premature ejaculation, sexual shame or guilt, low libido… and so on.

Anger Towards Women

One of the things associated with ejaculation problems in men – whether they come slowly or quickly – is a high level of anxiety about intimacy with women. And, particularly in the case of premature ejaculation, there’s often a high level of anxiety and fear around sex, lovemaking and intercourse.

There are other psychological explanations which are plausible but which can’t be proved one way or the other.

Low Sexual Confidence

Many men with delayed ejaculation have a low level of sexual self-confidence, or perhaps do not think of themselves as particularly good or skilful lovers. In general, any emotional conflicts about sex in general and women in particular will appear as a sexual problem – erectile dysfunction, perhaps, or an ejaculation problem. 

Hypnosis may offer a solution for delayed ejaculation

It May All Start In Childhood

Slow ejaculation is can be one outcome of a harsh, punitive, or unfavorable environment during childhood and adolescence. And here, counseling may be helpful: it helps to raise man’s self-esteem and to enable him to establish a better relationship with his sexual partner. Regrettably most men who can’t come during sex are too embarrassed to seek help, which is another reason why a self-help program that can be used at home can be helpful.