Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual issue that as many as one in three penis-having men say they experience. It also has pleasure-compromising implications for all parties involved. “There are multiple definitions of PE, but it’s often defined as ejaculation that occurs within one minute of stimulation, or in some cases penetration,” Jess O’Reilly, PhD, sexologist and host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast. As far as its effects on pleasure, for penis-havers, the issue is that clocking out of a sexual encounter early leaves little room to actually enjoy it and often leads to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and frustration. And for partners of people who struggle with PE, there are reports of experiencing a pronounced lack of pleasure.
One 2014 study out of the University of Zurich surveyed over 1,500 female-identifying vulva-owners, and 40 percent confirmed that lack of ejaculation control from their male-identifying, penis-having partner curbed their pleasure experience. The main issue cited by these vulva-owners, though, wasn’t about duration of sex so much as their partners’ singular focus during sex on delaying ejaculation. This, they reported, took focus away from being present in the moment and responsive to their sexual needs and desires. So, how can you help your partner with premature ejaculation in a committed, monogamous relationship while still prioritizing your own pleasure?
“The attitude of the partner is fundamental in helping to reduce the performance anxiety that most men with premature ejaculation suffer from.” —Patricia López Trabajo, MYHIXEL founder and CEO
First, remember that “you can still enjoy sex after ejaculation using the non- or semi-erect penis, hands, lips, tongue, toys, fingertips, skin, palms, and so on. The world is your sexual oyster and you don’t need an erection to enjoy sexual pleasure,” says Dr. Or’Reilly. There’s also technology available that may help: MYHIXEL, for example, is an ejaculation-control device that gamifies control via playful challenges on a companion app. And as Patricia López Trabajo, MYHIXEL’s founder and CEO, shares, gadgets aside, solid support and communication can help facilitate sexual pleasure for both the person with PE and their partner. “The attitude of the partner is fundamental in helping to reduce the performance anxiety that most men with premature ejaculation suffer from,” she says.
Below, Trabajo and Dr. O’Reilly share their best tips on how to deal if your partner has a premature ejaculation problem.
If you’ve ever wondered “how can I help my partner with premature ejaculation while still getting pleasure myself?” follow these 7 tips.
1. Show concern for the situation without being alarmist
“It’s necessary to talk about it openly and truthfully,” Trabajo says. “Communication in the sexual sphere is key, and sharing in your partner’s fears will help you both to realize that, often, those fears are unfounded.”
Essentially, your comfort and assurance to a partner struggling with PE may help them realize you aren’t judging them, which may help them relax a bit more during intercourse. “You may assume that they want to last longer for their own pleasure, but they may hung up on lasting longer for your pleasure,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “Once they’ve clarified what they want, ask them what you can do to support them.”
A good starter question for opening the conversation is simple: “Do you want to talk about it?” If that answer is yes, move on to other supportive questions. “Would you want to work through some exercises together?” “Would you rather start on your own?” “Do you want me to slow down, speed up, change angles, take breaks, or is there some other physical approach that might help?”
2. Reorient your relationship
“Couples can turn the moment of sexual encounters into a fun and playful activity, without setting objectives or goals,” says Trabajo. “In these cases, sexual relations should be for and to enjoy—not associated with performance.”
3. Don’t get hung up on the erection
“You don’t need an erection to have pleasurable sex. And if you don’t need penetration,” says Dr. O’Reilly. ” In fact, if you have a clitoris, you’re more likely to orgasm from non-penetrative sex play anyway: oral sex, fingering, rubbing and grinding, using a vibrator or a pleasure air toy. Sex doesn’t stop because the penis ejaculates.”
4. Suggest seeking professional help if you feel doing so would be beneficial
Feel free to express if you believe seeing a sex therapist, doctor, or some other kind of expert would be helpful. “Partners are first-person witnesses of this condition, and they usually are the ones to give the final push for those experiencing PE to seek help from a professional,” says Trabajo.
5. Be kind and focus on the positives
“It’s very important to avoid hurtful comments or to make comparisons with previous partners,” Trabajo says. “This type of on-the-spot reaction will only aggravate the problem and any progress.”
Dr. O’Reilly also suggests that you focus conversations about sex on what your partner is doing right and where they’re succeeding in satisfying you. Fill them in on what they’re good at doing, when you feel most aroused, what brings your climax to the next level, and when you feel the most connected. Positive reinforcement is powerful here.
6. Keep it moving post-ejaculation (with consent)
“If your partner ejaculates and you still want to keep going, let them know,” Dr. O’Reilly says. “Show them what you like. Tell them what you love. Take them by the hand or the hair and guide them. Focus on your own pleasure, and learn to be a taker.”
7. But respect your partner’s boundaries
Even though navigating PE together can provide an element of closeness, your partner is entitled to moments of privacy if they so wish.
“We must accept if our partner wants to go by themselves to a professional or face treatment without the collaboration of the partner,” says Trabajo. “Many [people] feel that this way will be easier for them to overcome fear and shame.”
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