Q&A: Premature Ejaculation In Sex: Is It Because I Masturbate?

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QUESTION: I started masturbating when I was 15 years old. Are there any side effects from masturbating? Will my semen production stop after too much of it? I ask because now I’m suffering from premature ejaculation during sex with my wife.

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Start-Stop

Photo: kevingessner (flickr.com)

The stop-start technique involves stimulating yourself during masturbation, then just before the point when you are getting close to ejaculating you stop all stimulation.

Everyone Does It

Most men and women have masturbated at some point in their lives whether during adolescence, adulthood, older age or throughout the lifespan. In fact, even research conducted with parents and teachers of young children shows that most young children touch their genitals for curiosity, to relieve an itch or because they like how it feels.

Masturbation is generally regarded as a healthy form of sexual expression.

Sperm Production

Men’s bodies make sperm and the fluids that make up semen on an ongoing basis. Masturbating will not cause your body to stop producing sperm or semen.

In case you’re curious, sperm only make up a small portion of the volume of semen. Much of a man’s seminal fluids come from his prostate gland and other glands called the cowper’s glands and seminal vesicles.

Why We Do It

There are many reasons that people masturbate including for fun, curiosity, to release sexual tension, to help themselves fall asleep or to enhance their desire or arousal.

There are also different ways that people masturbate alone or with a sexual or romantic relationship partner.

While many people touch their genitals, others find that they enjoy stimulating their chest or breasts, their inner thighs or their anus. Some people use their hands to masturbate and others find it pleasurable to use a sex toy, to rub their body against a bed or pillow or to stimulate themselves in the shower or bath.

Masturbation Might Help

It’s also important to note that masturbation does not necessarily cause premature ejaculation or the experience of ejaculating more quickly than you or your wife might like.

In fact, certain masturbation exercises might actually help you to learn to last longer during sexual intercourse.

These exercises are called the stop-start technique and the squeeze technique. Essentially they involve stimulating yourself during masturbation, then just before the point when you are getting close to ejaculating you either stop all stimulation (for the stop-start technique) or gently squeeze the head of your penis (for the squeeze technique). This may help your arousal to decrease somewhat before you then start stimulating yourself again and repeat the process.

Finally, I would encourage you to speak with your wife about her feelings about her sex life. It may be that she is happy with how long you spend having sex.

More Information

You can learn more about masturbation and partnered techniques to help you last longer during sex in The New Male Sexuality or Coping With Premature Ejaculation.

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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