Q&A: Delayed Ejaculation: Boyfriend Doesn’t Ejaculate During Sex

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QUESTION: I've never had the problem where the guy doesn't ejaculate during sex. But with my new boyfriend, we could be going at it for a long time and he never seems to finish. What's going on?

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Although it is somewhat difficult for some women to orgasm during intercourse, most men find that they are usually able to ejaculate and experience orgasm. That said, some men find it quite difficult to ejaculate.

Delayed Ejaculation

While we don’t have very good data on the topic, the best research suggests that fewer than 10% of men experience what we sometimes call delayed or inhibited ejaculation.

Delayed ejaculation is a term that is often used to refer to the experience of a man finding it difficult to orgasm and taking a long time to do so.

This is very different from a man who simply chooses to take his time to orgasm. With delayed ejaculation, men try to orgasm but they find it difficult – and often quite frustrating. However, they ultimately do find a way to achieve adequate stimulation to orgasm.

Men who experience inhibited ejaculation, on the other hand, tend to find that in spite of their best efforts, they may be unable to ejaculate.

Sometimes men find that their ejaculation is affected during masturbation alone as well as during sex with a partner. Other times, men may find that they can ejaculate easily during masturbation, but they find it difficult or impossible to do so with a partner.

Responding To Delayed or Inhibited Ejaculation

Couples respond to delayed or inhibited ejaculation in different ways.

Often the first step is for men to speak with their healthcare provider about their experience, as some medications have side effects that can interfere with orgasm.

Other times, some health conditions can make it difficult for men to orgasm. Learning whether these are at the root of the problem can be helpful.

Meeting with a sex therapist can be helpful too. If a man finds it easy to orgasm during masturbation, but difficult to do so with a partner, then it may be that he is experiencing performance anxiety about being a good enough lover, or perhaps he is experiencing worry about pregnancy or infection risk.

Other times, anxieties related to shame or guilt about having sex can get in the way of men being able to embrace the pleasures of sex enough to let go and experience orgasm.

Partners can be supportive by trying to understand that delayed and inhibited ejaculation are issues that men have often struggled with alone, and may feel embarrassed about. These issues are not anyone’s “fault.” However, partners can be an essential part of helping men to relax and feel reassured that they can get through this together.

Being creative and flexible about sex can be helpful, too, as you consider exploring each other’s bodies and sexuality in ways that focus on pleasure as the goal – rather than his orgasm.

To find a sex therapist near you, visit the web site of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

Recommended Reading

You both might find it helpful to read The New Male Sexuality by Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld, which sheds light on many of the performance pressures faced by men.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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