October 8, 2006

Q&A: Rapid Ejaculation And Ejaculatory Control

Dr. Debby Herbenick answers questions from a male reader about getting an erection after ejaculating and information about the refractory period.

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Question: One night I was with a girl and I ejaculated quickly after receiving a hand-job. Then we were about to have sex, however I was unable to get it up, and since I am a virgin I was worried about the situation. Do I have any sexual problems? Is there anything I can do to be able to get it up and can I do anything to make my self last longer?

It is unlikely that you have are experiencing any unusual sexual problems. In fact, your experience sounds quite common.

Rapid Ejaculation

Many men of all ages experience what some call premature ejaculation or rapid ejaculation, which are terms used to describe ejaculating more quickly than one might like or have planned.

This is a particularly common experience among young men and men who are just beginning to become sexually active. Given that you seem somewhat new to sexual experiences with a partner, it is not surprising that you might ejaculate quickly after manual (hand) stimulation. After all, becoming sexually active with a partner can feel exciting!

It is also not surprising that you found it difficult to get another erection shortly after ejaculating. This is because of men’s refractory period which is the time between one ejaculation and the possibility for another ejaculation.

Some men find that they can get another erection with at least some degree of hardness or rigidity soon after ejaculation, but they can’t always ejaculate again from that erection. Other men find that they cannot get another erection for hours or even a day or two following an ejaculation.

Your refractory period can vary greatly from day to day, and typically lengthens with aging. Also, you cannot change your refractory period or erections, and worrying or stressing out about your erections can actually make it more difficult to get another erection, so try not to put any pressure on yourself to get or to maintain an erection. (I know, easier said than done…)

Focus On Non-Genital Sexual Play

If you find yourself in a situation where you want an erection but it doesn’t seem to be happening, try to focus on non-genital types of sexual play that you find arousing but that are not focused on your penis such as kissing, breast play, sensual touching or stimulating your partner’s genitals with your fingers, lips or tongue.

Keep in mind, of course, that infections can be transmitted through oral sex so condoms are useful if your partner is performing oral sex on you, and dental dams (or condoms cut in half, length-wise) are useful if you are performing oral sex on a woman.

Anxiety A Factor?

It is also worth asking yourself if you were feeling anxious for other reasons, or if you were feeling interested enough in this particular girl or about having sex on this particular night.

In spite of gender stereotypes about men always being “ready for sex”, in fact many college aged men report that it is difficult to get or to maintain an erection with a partner they don’t know very well or only “sort of” like. It is certainly okay to remain a virgin for as long as you like or feel comfortable.

Techniques To Improve Ejaculatory Control

There are some techniques that can help you to improve what’s called “ejaculatory control” (the ability to come when you want to come, not when it “just happens”) including the stop-start and squeeze techniques. Both are detailed in our sexual health resource pages.

Recommended Reading

In addition, you might find the book The Sexual Male: Problems and Solutions to be of interest as it deals with common male sexual issues such as erections and performance anxiety.

Reviewed, with minor updates, on  May 2, 2017.

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