Not being able to orgasm can be distressing for anyone, regardless of gender. But for those who identify as men — it can be especially taxing. The male orgasm is often portrayed as both easy and explosive (watch any porn-film out there and this becomes abundantly clear). Because of this, male difficulty reaching orgasm is perhaps one of the sexual issues we stigmatize the most.
Not only are these difficulties rarely discussed in society at large — within the sexual research community, they are seldom studied. Perhaps this is because delayed ejaculation (the proper term for it), is quite uncommon.
It’s estimated about 1–4% of people who identify as men, experience delayed ejaculation — compared to the 30% who ejaculate prematurely, the number is small.
For this 4 %, the difficulties arise when having sex with someone. Getting off on their own is usually easier.
Not being able to orgasm is tough and can lead to low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence and relationship issues.
Men I see in my practice as a sex therapist tell me they feel like less of a man.
If you’re one of the people out there who’s experiencing this, I want you to know that there are solutions; be it through sex therapy or trying the techniques outlined in this article.
Reasons For Male Difficulty Reaching Orgasm
Before we get into the nitty-gritty about orgasm difficulties, it’s important to establish what we mean when we talk about difficulty reaching orgasm.
For men and people with penises, orgasms and ejaculation usually occur simultaneously. They are, however, in fact two separate events. This means you can ejaculate without having the orgasmic experience, and have what is known as a dry orgasm — an orgasm without ejaculation.
Because most people experience ejaculation and orgasm at the same time, this article will refer to it as a combined experience.
Experiencing difficulties orgasming every so often is completely normal. Our sexual function fluctuates, which means things like sexual desire, erectile function and orgasm abilities, change. If your difficulties aren’t a regular occurrence, chances are they’ll resolve themselves swiftly.
If it’s been going on for a long time or for as long as you can remember, it is most likely what the scientific community refers to as ‘delayed ejaculation’.
Though we don’t know enough about delayed ejaculation, there are some things we do know and treatments that can be effective.
The key here is accepting that it might take a little while to work through, and that the solution lies in first understanding why it’s difficult for you to come.
It can be tempting to skip the “why”-part and jump straight to the “fix-it-please-I’m-losing-my-mind-part”. But in order to find a fitting solution, you need to know the reason(s) why delayed ejaculation is happening.
Without taking this crucial first step, you run the risk of trying things that don’t work, losing motivation and — in the end — feeling worse off then you did before you tried to do anything about it at all.
Listed below are the 3 most common reasons for male difficulty reaching orgasm.
Your Sexual Fantasies Are More Exciting Than Actual Sex
If there’s a big difference between the partnered sex you’re having and your sexual fantasies during masturbation — it’s likely one of the reasons you’re having difficulty coming with a partner.
Perhaps you’re masturbating to fantasies about someone else besides your partner (very common!), or people with a specific body type (one which your partner doesn’t possess).
You might even be fantasizing about people of the opposite sex or sexual activities that you and your partner never or seldomly do together. Or perhaps you’re using porn while you masturbate.
Watching pornography is common and for some people it’s not only used as an exciting visual aide, it’s also used as a tool for distracting themselves from negative or troubling thoughts. Be it on a conscious or subconscious level.
When not watching porn, for example during partnered sex, these negative thought patterns can come creeping back — inhibiting orgasm.
This isn’t to say people who easily reach orgasm always fantasize about their partner. Or never watch pornography.
In male difficulty reaching orgasm, the distinction lies in the difference in levels of arousal during masturbation compared to sex with a partner. And this is, in part, caused by the discrepancy between sexual fantasy and real-life sex.
The level of sexual desire experienced during sex with a partner just can’t compare to the desire during masturbation — be it with pornography or without it. And the strong effect this arousal has on us offers distractibility from negative thoughts too.
The Technique Used During Masturbation Isn’t Used During Partnered Sex
Difficulty orgasming with a partner is usually somewhat a question of technique, regardless of your gender.
Usually, the technique used during masturbation is difficult to emulate during partnered sex. Perhaps you stimulate yourself vigorously, apply a large amount of pressure, use an intense speed, or stimulate a certain spot on the penis extensively.
The specific way you masturbate might make it difficult to reach the same intense stimulation during partnered sex (if you’re not masturbating yourself during sex, that is).
There’s nothing wrong with having one specific way of pleasuring yourself. It only becomes a problem when your masturbation technique conditions the response. Your body and brain learn one specific way to have an orgasm, which simply cannot be replicated with a sex partner. At least not through common practices such as intercourse or oral sex.
It’s not only the technique in and of itself. If you’re not informing your partner about how you need to be touched during sex to actually reach orgasm — the lack of communication is also contributing to your difficulties.
Anxiety And Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety — a pesky little phenomenon that is usually one of the main culprits in all sexual problems — and male difficulty reaching orgasm is no exception.
Anxiety about reaching orgasm can easily occur when you meet a new partner, if your spouse reacts negatively to you not being able to come, or if you feel the pressure to perform because it’s expected of you.
We don’t talk about it a lot — but the way we portray male sexuality can have a huge negative effect on those who identify as men.
Men are seen as sexually potent, always raring to go. Their orgasms are seen as inevitable and easy to achieve.
It doesn’t take a sex therapist to understand how emotionally difficult this can be.
The male orgasm is often portrayed as the “end” of sex. Its existence is a sign of pleasure taking place, perhaps partly because male orgasm is visual as it mostly coincides with ejaculation.
Not being able to live up to the idea of a man who readily ejaculates — not too quickly, but also not too slowly — can take a toll on both your libido and your erection. And when you’re not in the mood, it can be near impossible to orgasm.
Solutions For Male Difficulty Orgasming
If you’re unhappy with finding it difficult to orgasm with a sex partner (or during masturbation), the following list of suggestions might help. Keep in mind it’s perfectly okay not to always have an orgasm and that if you choose to work on it, it should be because you want things to change.
Take A Break From Masturbating
One way of making it easier to orgasm during sex with a partner is through not masturbating for a time. This might not sound like an appealing solution — but hear me out.
When you take a break from pleasuring yourself you’re lessening the effect of the conditioning of your orgasm abilities.
The less your brain and body make the connection between your masturbation technique and orgasm — the easier it may be to orgasm with a partner.
Mix Up Your Technique
If you’re not interested in pausing masturbation for a while — try mixing up your technique instead.
You could perhaps use a different hand when pleasuring yourself or try using less speed and pressure. When you do this you’re likely to find it difficult to reach orgasm in the beginning — but don’t fret.
Try removing the pressure to orgasm by simply stating that you can masturbate but not reach orgasm. This can do wonders for your performance anxiety, both during masturbation and partnered sex. And once the performance angst is gone — you’re more likely to come.
Increase Arousing Thoughts During Sex
Most of us need to feel turned on in order to orgasm. Especially for those who experience male difficulty reaching orgasm — it’s important to maximize arousal during sex.
An easy way of doing this is incorporating the fantasies you use during masturbation — into sex with a partner. This can increase sexual arousal and help get you over the tipping point and actually orgasm with a sex partner.
Tell your partner what you want and need during sex — not only in order to orgasm but also to reach peak arousal and maximize overall pleasure.
If your partner doesn’t know how to pleasure you to orgasm or what you like during sex — the chances of an orgasm happening are slim.
It can be difficult to know how to talk to your partner about sex — but with a little practice, it actually gets easier — and less intimidating.
Try telling your partner:
- What sexual practices turn you on (for example: oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or practising BDSM.)
- What technique works the best for you to orgasm (for example: what pressure is needed, what speed is needed, or if there’s a particular area that’s especially sensitive). Sometimes words don’t cut it, so don’t be afraid to show them during sex — and help them truly get the hang of it.
Experiencing delayed ejaculation can put a strain on your relationship and take a jab at your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Remember, you’re not less of a man for experiencing male difficulty reaching orgasm and there’s nothing wrong with you. If you, however, want to change this pattern — try taking a break from masturbation, mixing up your masturbation technique, fantasizing during sex and communicating about what you need sexually.
It won’t always be like this.
Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer. She’s been featured in YourTango, Babe, The Tab, Glamour, Sexography, The Minds Journal and more. For more advice on sexual and relationship issues, visit her website.
Originally published at https://www.therapybyleigh.com.
About the Creator
Sex therapist with a Master of Science in Sexology. Offers free online resources for a better sex life and relationship, sex therapy, and online courses.
Download free resources: https://leighnoren.com/sexual-emotional-intimacy-resources