It happened to Andy Samberg when he danced with Molly Sims. It happened in almost every American Pie sequel or spin-off. Premature ejaculation (PE) shows up in popular culture so frequently that I find myself mourning for my fellow man. These are not just jokes; I’m calling it a mass cultural vilification of the trigger-happy penis. Hollywood parodies it, our friends mock it, and we just laugh because, frankly, it’s pretty funny.
But how many gentlemen out there are actually laughing at exaggerated versions of themselves? The answer is more than would ever publicly admit. PE is the most common sexual disorder for guys, more common than erectile dysfunction. A study conducted in 2003 and 2004 reported that 24 percent of American men ages 18-70 experience premature ejaculation, defined as “persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before, on, or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it, with the disturbance causing marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.”
Though the number of men who fit this definition is surprising, there are even more who fail to meet the medical criteria but still feel they shoot too soon. Survey results published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that over 32.5 percent of respondents ejaculated before they desired at least half the time they had sex.
So, for that silent demographic of “early birds” on campus, I’ve compiled a collection of anecdotes and advice on lasting longer.
Ask yourself: Is it situational?
According to my human sexuality textbook experts disagree on the cause of premature ejaculation. (Some think it is a learned behavior, and others think biological factors are at work.) The consensus is, however, that certain cases are situational. So if you suddenly start to experience premature ejaculation with a partner, it might be because he or she elicits psychological discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit foundation for medical education and research, this could be caused by anything ranging from feelings of anxiety to interpersonal issues.
“A friend of mine suddenly began to prematurely ejaculate with a girl he’d been seeing,” explains one Weinberg sophomore. “After seeing a doctor, he realized that his problem was an emotional, not a physical, one.” The girl had been sleeping with other guys and telling him about it, but he felt trapped in the relationship.
If PE is a problem for you, think about possible sources of psychological distress (relationship or otherwise). If you find yourself trigger happy every time you do the horizontal shuffle, talk to a doctor or therapist.
Often, guys ejaculate too quickly because they are too excited or nervous. It may seem like a no-brainer, but slow, deep breathing is crucial. As you grow more aroused, moving from the excitement phase to the plateau phase of high arousal, your breathing quickens and blood rushes to your penis. Slowing your breathing to a regular rate will lower your excitement level and help you gauge whether you are nearing climax. Another useful technique is to mentally focus on relaxing the muscles around your penis, in your thighs, and in your butt. This has the same effect as taking slow, deep breaths. Several Northwestern students I talked to confirmed that these techniques have helped them.
Another little trick is to press your tongue against the roof of your mouth when you think you’re about to come. One Weinberg sophomore claims he uses this technique every time he has sex and that it delays his orgasm.
According to NU Students, “Get your head outta the game.”
Comedian Woody Allen once delivered a stand-up routine on how he distracts himself during sex in order to postpone his orgasm. “So the two of us are making love violently, and she’s digging it,” Allen explains, “so I figure I’d better start thinking of baseball players pretty quickly.” Believe it or not, many of your Northwestern peers share this same impulse to self-distract.
“I think about the idea of sleeping with my 275 lb. baseball roommate,” says one Weinberg sophomore.
“I think about wrinkly old ladies,” adds a SESP junior.
“Lists of platonic items are helpful to run through,” comments another SESP junior. “The American presidents, for example.”
Needless to say, many girls would be appalled to know you’re thinking of Dame Judi Dench while you’re thrusting your Millard Fillmore, which is why guys would rarely confess to such musings. Just don’t think of anything too funny or gross; you might start to laugh or shudder.
Kegels, Trojans, and Pills.
Warning: anyone subscribing to programs or products that claim to cure premature ejaculation should prepare for disappointment. Some of these may be helpful, but there are a number of shams out there.
Some urologists suggest kegels, a pelvic exercise, to give you greater control over the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles that control the flow of semen and urine. While kegels might improve your sexual control, they requires a lot of practice. It does not always work, and may take three to six months to see improvement.
Trojan’s line of Extended Pleasure condoms also promises “climax control” from a special lubricant that numbs your penis. Beware: one student informed me that this condom numbed his penis so much that he felt like he had “fallen asleep on it.”
Change it up.
The “change-up” was pitcher Greg Maddux’s secret weapon on the mound and it can also be yours in the bedroom. According to almost every student I interviewed, changing your sex position when you’re about to ejaculate helps you regain control. Take a short break to reposition yourselves, and switch to a position that is less stimulating.
Most heterosexual students recommend positions where the woman is on top. Or take a break from intercourse for oral or manual stimulation.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to be a sexual acrobat to please your partner. Keep it simple, stay true to what you feel, and you’ll be all right. Remember, there are alternatives to intercourse if it’s not working out. Climax is secondary if you can be comfortable, confident, and creative.