Ever since Sting once famously bragged about having seven hours of "tantric sex," there's been a lot of stigma surrounding men and how long they have intercourse. For most guys who want to learn how to last longer in bed, it's an uphill battle between figuring out what's normal and what needs to be addressed by a specialist.
However, before you kick yourself for not putting ol' Sting to justice, it's important to note that the length of sex for the average man is only around five to 10 minutes. However, if you're looking to lengthen that time, or if you struggle to even make it to five minutes, here's the honest truth (as well as a few solutions) to lasting longer in bed.
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Premature ejaculation is simply when a guy orgasms soon after the start of a sexual activity with minimal stimulation. There are several causes for why this might happen, from stress to depression to even sexually transmitted diseases.
"The leading cause of premature ejaculation is poor ejaculatory control, something that is part not being in the moment in your body, part not being in the moment in your mind, and sometimes part sexual inexperience," clinical sexologist Dr. Michael DeMarco exclusively told FHM. "There are STI's like gonorrhea and chlamydia that can cause something like premature ejaculation, but more often than not, the cause is part physical and part psychological."
Although there are several reasons for why a guy ejaculates prematurely, one important thing to note is that coming too quickly is not a disorder. What it all comes down to is personal preference — for him and his partner.
"Some men are short, some men are tall, and some men ejaculate sooner than others,” urologist, author, and professor Dr. Harry Fisch exclusively told FHM. "If a woman doesn’t mind if a man ejaculates under 30 seconds, then it’s not a problem. It’s only an issue when the woman isn’t satisfied."
If you're used to ejaculating quickly, you're going to have to train your penis to think and handle sensations differently. One way to do that is through the "edging" method. Simply masturbate, as usual, but as soon as you feel like you're about to come, stop.
"Edging is a masturbation practice that involves masturbating for the sake of masturbation," Dr. DeMarco explained, "focusing on the sensations in your genitals and in your body, learning what sorts of stimulation gets you closer to ejaculatory inevitability and what sorts of pauses you need to take to ease back down from that threshold."
The method is slightly controversial for obvious reasons. Many simply don't like the idea of withholding sexual pleasure for "practice." But when it comes to orgasm control, "edging" is a way to train the mind to think differently without having to use more physical methods.
"Masturbation is usually something men train themselves to do in a sort of 'rub one out' kind of way," Dr. DeMarco said. "Picture mom knocking at the bathroom door demanding to know what on earth you're doing in there. So, learning edging can be an almost tantric experience for some men who can get so into it they enjoy masturbating and staying edged so they don't come for hours or days at a time."
Although some specialists recommend distraction methods, like thinking of unsexy thoughts in order to not come so quickly, both experts we interviewed were strongly against it.
"One of the tips people used to say is 'think of other things, think of baseball,' and I don’t think that’s the right answer," Dr. Fisch told us. "You want to be in the moment. You don’t want to be thinking of a baseball player while having sex with your girlfriend."
However, another issue a lot of guys struggle with is performance anxiety, especially if they're dealing with an already unhappy partner. Sometimes negative thoughts can manifest into a type of divine intervention, which can doom the entire process.
"The psychological component is usually cognitive behavioral, which means when you ejaculate 'too fast' and then rate this experience as awful and as you being 'a failure as a man and human being because you're not more in control of your dick,'" Dr. DeMarco explained. "[You should] challenge these thoughts, stay in your body, stay in the moment, and keep practicing."
An easy way to prolong sex is to use desensitizing sprays, wipes, or creams to help decrease sensation. Dr. Fisch's own FDA-approved wipes, Preboost, helps men last four minutes longer in bed. For men who have problems with depression, sometimes a doctor might prescribe them a low dosage of Zoloft to get things swinging again.
However, Dr. DeMarco doesn't recommend pills or creams.
"We (sex therapists) do not recommend these," he explained. "These are efforts to numb you to sexual sensation, not help you get more in tune with sexual sensation."
The underlying cause of premature ejaculation is that, at least in heterosexual relationships, the woman is not being satisfied. A good tip to help ease things in the bedroom is to focus on her and, ideally, let her come first. Dr. Fisch recommends foreplay before sex and adding lubrication into the mix to get women more up to speed as their male partners.
"We want to speed up women and slow down men," he explained. "If a woman is not being satisfied on a regular basis and considers sex another job, then that relationship will suffer."
Although many guys who struggle with lasting during intercourse might think it's an issue they must come to terms with all by themselves, it's important to note that premature ejaculation isn't just a "guy problem." It's about couples feeling mutually satisfied in their sexual relationship, which means that regardless of which tip you take, you should always keep your partner and her needs in mind.
"It’s not an individual issue," Dr. Fisch said. "It’s a couples’ issue."