Sex and Relationships

Relationship Coaching

Answers to questions about sex therapy and sexuality

Copyright (C) 1998, 1999, 2000 William F. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

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The Self-Help Protocol for

Is there any self-help for premature ejaculation?

Alas, premature ejaculation ("PE") is the easiest of all sexual dysfunctions to "fix." Please also note that because "premature" is a relative matter, that the following techniques that teach (recondition) the body of a 15 second guy to last 3 minutes will also teach a 2 minute guy last 10 minutes.  As you read  the following, please think of the model of "total number of times the nerves fire -- get stimulated."  If your penis gets vigorous stimulation you experience orgasm soon (lots of nerves firing often in a short period of time).  If your penis gets gentle stimulation, it takes longer before you have an orgasm (lots of nerves firing less often, over a prolonged period of time).


You are experiencing PE if you can last 3 to 10 minutes by yourself, but only zero to 30 seconds when in contact with your lover IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER FACTORS (see #5, below).

You are NOT experiencing PE when:

    1)  You often engage in foreplay involving stimulation of the penis for a prolonged time (15 to 90 minutes -- depends on the penis), then when the penis begins to penetrate the vagina, you experience orgasm.   You might enjoy long periods of stimulation, but your penis can take just so much before it reflexes (like a sneeze) in orgasm.

    2)  You can last 10 minutes but your lover is unable to achieve orgasm until 15 minutes.  This idea comes from the feminist assertion that "If you come before I come (no matter how long it takes) you're a premature ejaculator."

    3)  In the morning you "last" 90 seconds, and in the evening you "last" 10 minutes.  This is most likely a reflection of numerous forces acting in concert:  serum testosterone (energizes your penis) is at its peak just before you wake up; dinner might be competing with blood flow to the penis; alcohol, stress, tiredness all interfere with sexual response, etc.

    4)  With all former lovers you had no PE problem but your current lover is drop dead gorgeous and sexually wild and crazy.  Adrenaline plays a part in sex, and if you are pumped with anticipation, fear of not living up to what you think her expectations are, or other fears (see #5, below), expect to either have a "hair trigger" (PE) or lose your erection.  This is called "situationality" -- having a problem with one lover but not with others.  It's not "you."  It's your response to this stimulus compared to your response to another stimulus.

    5)  You last 3-10 minutes by yourself, but last less than 30 seconds during (or when about to have) intercourse WHEN:  you are inexperienced (hyper excited and don't know what to expect), afraid of:  getting caught; pregnancy; failing; not being able to please your lover enough; losing your erection, etc.  Adrenaline from other factors can accelerate your (and your lover's) excitement which can cause rapid ejaculation.

PE is NOT PE unless you have a cool, calm, relaxed opportunity for lovemaking without unreasonable time pressures.  If you have any other contaminating factors, the problem is not your ejaculation time, it's environmental (or mental).  Fix those factors and expect the "PE" to go away.  Any questions?

SO IF you still think you have PE, here's what to do:

STEP 1: Establish your time baseline. With privacy, do what you usually do (book, magazine, video, fantasy) when you want to have sex with yourself. Note the time.  How long does it take  from first penile stimulation to ejaculation.

STEP 2: Make sure that you are acutely and precisely aware of the "Point Of Inevitability" ("POI"). That's the internal pelvic sensation that from that millisecond on, nothing you can do will stop the orgasm/ejaculation. Not the termination of touch, not someone walking in on you, not even dipping John Henry (your pet name for your penis) in a bucket of ice water.  Tune into the sensations JUST BEFORE the POI.

Step 3: As you approach the POI, use one of the following three behaviors to reduce the urgency of continuing (no matter how nice it would be to continue right then):

Step 4: One of these techniques works for about 98% of men. Once you have established your baseline, you know when you're close, and you have determined the technique that works for you, practice as often as comfortable with the goal to lengthen the amount of time you can go from initial stimulation to ejaculation. During each practice "event" strive to increase the length of time by 10% to 25% over the time of the prior event. When you've reached your target time, do whatever works for you to reward yourself with an orgasm. If you practice this enough, you can get to the point where you can get an erection, have that erection stimulated (by what you choose), and by varying the degree of stimulation, holding off from ejaculating until you "give yourself permission" to have an orgasm.  But please note that you cannot expect to give your penis vigorous stimulation for a prolonged time and hold off from orgasm.  The amount of stimulation per unit of time times time is what triggers the reflex called orgasm!

The following "event" numbers refer to "days on which you train."  There can be zero to 4 days in-between training days.  So you CAN do this day after day, or skip a few days between training days.

Event 1:  stroke to orgasm.  Let's say it's 1 minute.  That's your baseline (could be 15 seconds).

Event 2:  stroke.  You feel close to the Point of Inevitability (POI) at 45 seconds.  You pause (or pinch or pull) until the urgency subsides(5 to 30 seconds?).   Then you start stroking again.    You stroke gently for another 75 seconds and let the orgasm happen.  (45+75)/60=2 minutes.

Event 3:  you're getting better at this so you have learned that if you are more gentle, meaning stroking less vigorously, you can get your penis to stay in the envelope -- above going limp and below the POI -- pretty much all the time.  If you get too close to the POI, you stop (pause) or pinch or pull.  But today you just stroke gently sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower until you reach 3 minutes.  Then you have an orgasm.

Event 4 you go for 4 minutes.

Event 5, you get cocky (pun intended) and are surprised by having an orgasm at 3 minutes.  This reminds you that you have got to pay closer attention to sensing the approach of the POI.

So on event 6 you go for 4 minutes, event 7 for 5 minutes, event 8 for 6 minutes, etc., until events 12, 13, 14, and 15 when you "last" for 10 minutes each time.  Then, when you next have intercourse, you are aware of what the POI approaching feels like and with your lover, you slow down or withdraw and pause, pinch or pull.  She may think or complain that it "interrupts the mood" for her, but you remind her that you are in training.  By re-training your perception of the sensations -- becoming aware of the approach of the POI -- and by your reptilian brain "learning" that when you slow down, etc., that is supposed to slow down the approach of the POI, you now have more influence (not control) over the timing of the orgasm.  If you pace yourself because you wish to make sure that she has an orgasm before (or when) you do, then when she starts to have an orgasm, you can speed up, providing her with more stimulation and bringing yourself to orgasm also.  Some men call it "giving themselves permission" to come.

Note 1: If you wait too long, you will be unable to achieve an orgasm. Not good. But, you won't know how long is too long for you until you experiment.

Note 2: How "premature" IS  premature? Who is defining this? Focus on compatibility. I have had couples who both loved for copulation to take 2 minutes before orgasm, and couples who were coupled for over an hour with varying degrees of movement and a variety of intercourse positions until orgasm. If the definition is "it's premature if he comes before she does" that could be a problem. Only about 40% of women experience orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse through penile thrusting alone. Many women obtain (from themselves or from their partner) clitoral stimulation during intercourse when they want to have an orgasm sooner.

Note 3: Don't procrastinate. Part of the driving force in PE is the added excitement from anxiety. You're already excited -- energized -- and anxiety adds a turbo-charged force on top of that. If you're worried that you will again come too soon, and that worry hasn't diminished the firmness of your erection, there is a better chance that you'll repeat the problem. If you have decided that you have PE, fix it sooner rather than later. Think of how many more good sexual encounters you'll have as soon as you are satisfied with how long you last!

If this doesn't work, see a sex therapist.

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