Delayed Ejaculation

Delayed ejaculation – the inability to ejaculate during intercourse

There’s a key concept which appears to confuse many men and their sexual partners about delayed ejaculation. And that is that even though orgasm and ejaculation are generally thought to be one and the same thing, they are, in fact, two different reactions.

The pleasurable feeling of orgasm is a mental event, which happens purely inside your head. Ejaculation, on the other hand, is a highly pleasurable physical reaction that is triggered by sufficient stimulation to the penis and other pleasure points elsewhere in the body. Unfortunately men with delayed ejaculation may experience neither orgasm nor ejaculation. (Orgasm without ejaculation is a completely different condition, often caused by physical problems inside the genito-urinary system.)

Video on delayed ejaculation

When erotic pleasure gets to a near-climactic point, the flow of semen near the farthest point of the the urethra builds up the pressure at the root of the penis. This in turn triggers a whole series of physical responses which includes movement of the pubococcygeal muscle.

Ejaculation is governed by the autonomic nervous system, while sexual arousal is confined to the voluntary nervous system.

Delayed ejaculation is not a “new” problem. It’s been around for ages, is also known as ejaculatory incompetence, ejaculatory over-control, retarded ejaculation, and male orgasmic disorder. Those names probably represent an increasingly humane and sympathetic attitude from the medical profession, an attitude which has developed over time. But for our times, “delayed ejaculation” is a clear term which describes exactly what this condition is all about.

Compassion and humanity are very much required in working with the men whose sex lives are impacted by their difficulty ejaculating during sex. These men may be very confused and bewildered by their failure to ejaculate during intercourse.

Delayed ejaculation treatment has evolved over time

As you may know, many men with delayed ejaculation are able to ejaculate more or less easily when they are pleasuring themselves (aka masturbating). This fact has led many scientists to suggest that relationship issues might be a big part of delayed ejaculation.

However, it’s wise to be cautious about this: the dynamics of the relationship between a man and his partner are complex and difficult to relate to physically based sexual problems. 

Even so, a man’s inability to ejaculate during fellatio, intercourse, or direct manual stimulation by a partner is a pretty clear sign that he has developed delayed ejaculation. These might indicate that he is not developing a level of sexual arousal high enough to allow him to reach orgasm. And they might also mean that he receives more pleasure from masturbation than from sex. Enough pleasure to allow him to reach orgasm. 

Of course, any man can condition his own body to react to higher levels of stimulation during masturbation. For example, a man is able to apply hard, firm, or high-frequency stimulation during self pleasuring, in a manner that is not simulated during penetrative sex with a partner. The consequence of such stimulation has been called traumatic masturbatory syndrome.

And if this is the crux of the problem, the cure for delayed ejaculation will be in the form of somehow retraining his penis to respond to a slightly different style of stimulation that can eventually bring about a climax  during intercourse.

Video – traumatic masturbatory syndrome

Relationship difficulties and delayed ejaculation

However, relationship difficulties can cause a loss of intimacy and a decrease in desire. A slowly rising attitude of hostility may degrade intimacy to the point where a man no longer enjoys intercourse. He may be unable to speak about this to his partner, or start a rational dialogue to resolve their problems.

And even if there isn’t an emotional or psychological cause, such as resentment, anger, or any other adverse feelings on the part of the man towards his partner, there may well be a particular type of personality which is prone to delayed ejaculation. (Click on the cover image below to see a book on delayed ejaculation.)

According to the most current research journals, this individual type is quite likely a person who is somehow detached during sexual activity. He may be unaware of how aroused he is during sexual activity. He may think of sex as an obligation that he needs to perform, and whish he resents. He may see himself as responsible for his female partner’s pleasure. He may be convinced that the woman’s pleasure must come first and is the the most important part of sex.

These men generally, whether intentionally or not, see themselves as the “workhorse of sex”, thrusting rhythmically and energetically to steer intercourse to a successful climax (for the woman).

An important observation here is that many of the female partners of men in this situation tend to be disinterested about sex. They may have a a tacit understanding that their man is somehow responsible for their sexual pleasure. (Of course, in reality, everyone is responsible for their own pleasure.)

In instances like this, it’s helpful to re-educate the sexual partners and coach them in such a way that their ideas and attitudes about sex and sexual pleasure can be steered closer to reality.

Also, some men with this type of personality profile generally lack an awareness of their personal level of sexual pleasure. Often there seems to be a certain disconnect, or even a void, in their sexual maturity. They may have come to associate their internal sexual arousal with simply having sex with a partner.

What can be gleaned from all this? It seems these men are in a frustrating state of sexual confusion. They are attempting to engage in sex without all the emotional and physiological sensory awareness necessary for sex to be a pleasurable and mutually satisfying experience.

Delayed ejaculation video

Establishing The Facts (from

The first step in treatment if you see a sex therapist is likely to involve some kind of assessment of when you can actually achieve orgasm in sex. And here a number of typical questions that you might like to think about… questions that are relevant for the therapist and client alike!

  • Does the man experience performance pressure right from the start of intercourse or does it begin later on?
  • To what degree does the man feel himself to be “spectatoring”, that is to say detached from the sexual process in which he is engaged with his partner, and to what degree does he feel himself fully involved from moment to moment?
  • Does the man have sexual fantasies, and does he accept them without guilt or shame?
  • Does the man focus on satisfying his sexual partner, or is he also aware of his own needs and does he set out to have them fulfilled?
  • Does the man believed that his partner is interested in sex with him, or that she is just tolerating it?
  • Does the man feel any anxiety or apprehension around the prospect of orgasm and ejaculation (especially intravaginally), or alternatively with the loss of control that he may feel if he ejaculates?
  • And finally – how does the man with DE masturbate? Does he use internal erotic imagery or sexual fantasies and accept these easily or try to repress them?

Now, these questions are designed to address the issues that a man seeking a cure for delayed ejaculation may face during sex. There are, of course, deeper issues which can be examined – such as feelings of anger or hostility towards the man’s partner – but such psychodynamic  issues generally emerge as therapy continues.