Psychological Causes of Delayed Ejaculation
I think it’s obvious that not many people know about delayed ejaculation – at least, not beyond those who experience it.
And that’s not surprising, because most people think of male sexual problems as a man consistently reaching orgasm too soon, i.e. premature ejaculation, or as a man experiencing erectile dysfunction.
And most people’s understanding doesn’t go far beyond those two, admittedly very troublesome, sexual dysfunctions.
Even more strange, men with a slow climax usually have a firm erection.
Looking like you’re ready for sex doesn’t always mean you are!
This seems odd because we’re all so accustomed to an erection meaning a man wants to make love, and he’s ready and willing to have intercourse with a partner to the point of climax. And that he will have no difficulty doing so.
So why would a man have an erection, keep an erection during intercourse, be able to make love, and not be able to come?
Before we go any further it’s important to emphasize that delayed ejaculation isn’t so unusual. I estimate that about one man in 12 experiences some degree of difficulty reaching climax at any one point in time.
And the problem takes different forms, too: some men can have an orgasm but don’t ejaculate. Some men come with no feeling. And, as we all know, a climax doesn’t always feel the same.
But for these problems to be accurately described as delayed ejaculation, we’re looking at a situation where a man can make love for prolonged periods of time but doesn’t actually come while doing so.
Perhaps one of the things that can help us understand this “dysfunction” – an unpleasant term for a surprisingly common condition! – is knowing a little bit more about the orgasmic reflex in men.
You may or may not know about this, so I’ll keep it simple. Male sexual response is a two-stage process, the first part of which is known as emission.
That’s the movement of semen from the seminal vesicles into the base of the urethra. It triggers the expulsion of semen from the penis by means of strong muscular contractions in the pubococcygeus muscles and the other muscles around the base of the urethra.
So you can understand that the lack of any release of semen could be due to a failure of either part of the ejaculatory reflex. Now, some of the causes of that failure are very obvious: some men with diabetes, for example, have neural degeneration which inhibits the reflex responses of the nervous system necessary for the completion of the sexual act.
Some men who are taking SSRI drugs designed to treat depression may find that they are no longer able to bring intercourse to its natural conclusion. These inhibit the ejaculatory response. There are many other substances which can do this as well.
But if that, or degeneration of the nerve cells, or alcohol, or other similar factors are not at work, then what might be causing delayed ejaculation?
Well, unfortunately for a lot of men, who don’t like to examine their emotional experiences, the answer to that question has to be – yes, you guessed it – emotional factors.
A lot of men prefer to think of any condition or illness as being caused by physical problems rather than emotional ones, just because they find physical issues a lot easier to deal with.
Regrettably, however, in the case of delayed ejaculation it’s the emotional factors which are often more important.
I have met a lot of men who think that emotional factors couldn’t possibly inhibit ejaculation. I mean, it seems so unlikely. Could the mind really be able to inhibit something so powerful as the male urge to ejaculate? Could that really be possible?
Yes, it certainly could, and if you think about the way emotional factors can cause a loss of erection, this might become easier to understand.
A common observation about male sexuality is that a man’s penis springs into life at the slightest hint of getting into bed with a partner – and this is no less a powerful response than the urge to achieve orgasm and climax.
But it’s also true that an erection can disappear in an instant, due to anxiety, anger, or downright fear. I think most people would probably find that quite understandable, even natural.
So is it much of a stretch, then, to believe that a similar process might be at work with retarded ejaculation?
The reality is that “the penis never lies”: it’s an old saying which basically means that whatever your hidden feelings around, say, your body, or your partner, is going to show you the truth, no matter how much you might want to hide it from yourself.
So for an adolescent boy who is pressurized by his peers’ expectations into making love with his girlfriend, the loss of erection indicates very clearly his real feelings on the matter: he is very scared about doing it, or he simply doesn’t want to do it.
With an adult man who experiences difficulty in ejaculating during intercourse, the presence of an erection may, for example, indicate a willingness to please his partner, but the absence of orgasm may indicate a deeper truth: he simply doesn’t want to be with that partner.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of men reading this, men who have difficulty reaching climax during intercourse – maybe even masturbation – were shaking their heads in disbelief.
Even virile men can experience delayed ejaculation
And I totally understand that response. The idea seems, well, shall we say, “hard to believe”, at the very least.
Unfortunately for you, perhaps, there is a lot of evidence to support this viewpoint.
But Are Difficulties With Ejaculation Always Emotionally Based?
Before we go on, I’d like to draw your attention to one significant cause of delayed ejaculation which does not appear to be emotional.
That is Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome. This is a grand name for a situation where a boy has learned to masturbate using excessive stimulation to his penis. This could involve very intense pressure, or fast hand movements. It could even involve thrusting against the mattress.
You can see quite easily that if the boy’s learned to stimulate himself in this way, it’s obvious that his penis is rarely going to get the same level of stimulation during lovemaking with a partner. I mean, women are often very sensitive about hurting their men and tend to treat the penis very delicately. Men do not. Or at least some men do not – and we need to observe this, understand it, and explain it.
And oral and vaginal stimulation during lovemaking certainly don’t offer the kind of pressure and intensity that this sort of masturbation does.
So it’s obvious that a lot of men have conditioned their bodies to respond only in a certain way to a certain type of stimulation, and the very fact that they can’t get that stimulation during intercourse means they can’t reach orgasm.
Well, I’m going to offer some suggestions for men in this situation later on (you’ll see them in the post above this one).
But in my opinion a lot of delayed ejaculation is caused by emotional issues, and it’s these I would like to look at first.
Even though the actual act of sexual stimulation, orgasm and ejaculation is a reflex response in the body, intimate sensual arousal is very definitely a mental and emotional process. But that’s not the whole truth.
Oddly enough it’s also a physical process – in that the stimulation that finally triggers the reflex of orgasm is physical stimulation to the penis.
And, as you probably know very well, you have to reach a certain level of arousal before this will happen.
Now, it is critical to understanding delayed ejaculation to know that a man can have an erection and still not be aroused. I think a lot of men probably know this anyway, because it’s not uncommon for a man to develop an erection and yet subjectively understand that he doesn’t feel aroused.
This seems to be a key for thing among many men who have difficulty reaching climax during intercourse. They have an erection, but they are not aroused.
That could also be one part of a complex of reasons why it is sometimes necessary for a man to give himself such intense, hard and fast stimulation before he ejaculates.
Another key to understanding these difficulties is that guys who aren’t able to come easily seem to be highly motivated to give their partner an orgasm. In fact, often these men (and you may be one of them) are very conscientious lovers. Regrettably, however, they very often have no idea how to satisfy themselves during intercourse.
All of the work they do during the intimacy of sex is about pleasing their partner.
And while it’s certainly possible to imagine that that could be satisfying for a man, it’s much easier to see this urge, this compulsion, as a cause of resentment and anger. Interestingly, it’s often associated with certain clear characteristics such as passivity on the part of the female partner.