Welcome to BuzzFeed Sex Q&A, where you can ask us your awkward, confusing, gross, embarrassing, or thought-provoking questions, and we’ll provide answers from leading sexual health experts. Have a question about sex or sexual health? Send it to sexQs@buzzfeed.com.
2. This week’s question:
OK so this is beyond embarrassing to admit but here it goes anyway. When having intercourse, I can only last about two minutes until I ejaculate. As a gay guy who can also bottom, this isn’t the biggest problem for me, because when I bottom I never really address it. However, recently I met someone that I really like. The only problem is he is a bottom and I would love to top him, but I’m embarrassed by the fact that I cant last that long.
So my question is, what are some ways I can last longer when topping, receiving oral, or having intercourse?
3. Hi Bryan! First of all, this is a really common penis concern — regardless of age or sexual orientation — so you’re definitely not alone.
We’ve gotten a few questions like this in our inbox, so we checked in with sex expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D., founder of GoodInBed.com, and board-certified urologist Dr. Paul Gittens, founder of Philadelphia Center for Sexual Medicine.
Here’s what they had to say:
4. Premature ejaculation (PE) is a super common and treatable issue.
Let’s start with what it actually is. While there isn’t a definitive time frame for PE, experts agree it’s typically lasting less than 1–2 minutes from the start of penetration (whether that’s in a mouth or vagina or anus). And in order for it to truly be PE, the person must also be bothered by it.
But keep in mind that there’s also no “normal” when it comes to how long it takes for you to orgasm. “The average for men tends to be about 5–7 minutes, but it’s really a spectrum,” says Kerner. “Some men are in the 2–2.5 minute category, there are a lot of men in the 5–7 minute category, and a lot of men can last 10–15 minutes plus. You have to think of it as a spectrum of normal variation.”
5. And it’s helpful to understand some of the possible causes of coming too quickly.
Premature ejaculation can either be a lifelong thing or an acquired issue, explains Gittens. And there are tons of possible causes, ranging from psychological (you’re anxious about sex with a new partner), to biological (there’s something going on with your hormone or serotonin levels, or it’s an issue of inflammation or oversensitivity), to behavioral (maybe you’ve programmed yourself to ejaculate quickly during masturbation).
PE can also be linked to other erectile dysfunction issues, like having trouble getting or maintaining an erection, says Gittens. If you have a hunch about what might be causing your PE, it might be worth checking in with your doctor about that to find out more.
6. OK, so how can you actually make yourself last longer during intercourse? Well, there’s the squeeze-and-pause strategy.
This is when you get yourself right to the point of when you’re about to orgasm and stop, pulling out and squeezing your penis between the head and shaft to essentially hit pause. If you do it right, Kerner says, you might feel a few little orgasmic contractions in your pelvis, and release a little bit of pre-cum, but you won’t have a full orgasm.
“It’s sort of like the gun is loaded and ready to fire, and you’ve sort of nudged the trigger but you haven’t fired,” says Kerner. “When you do that, you have those two pelvic contractions, its signaling to your brain that you’ve had an orgasm and some of the blood will get released from your penis. You may lose a tiny bit of your erectile quality but it will actually cycle you back a couple of steps in the arousal process.”
Obviously this can take some practice, so Kerner suggests trying it during masturbation first. Then, instead of feeling embarrassed about whether or not you’ll come too quickly with a partner, just let them know you want to try this cool thing where you try to last longer and basically have multiple orgasms.
7. You could also try a desensitizing spray made specifically for penises.
Products like Promescent are lidocaine-based numbing sprays you can use before sex to decrease sensitivity. The goal obviously isn’t to make your penis totally numb, so Kerner suggests starting with 2–3 sprays and going from there.
“It’s a tradeoff, but you can taper it so it’s just a little numbness,” says Gittens. “The penis is a pretty sensitive organ. You’re getting sensation from the head, from the shaft, and you’re getting sensation from feeling your body against your partner’s body.”
8. You could also use your refractory period to your benefit.
The amount of time it takes for you to be ready to go again after an orgasm varies from person to person, and you might be able to go for longer the second time around. So keeping your typical refractory period in mind, you might want to try masturbating a little while before you plan to have sex, suggests Gittens.
Or, if your refractory period is super quick, you could also just work your first orgasm into foreplay, then focus on your partner while you recover for round two.
9. Or you could just put less emphasis on the actual intercourse and spend more time on everything else.
Sex isn’t all about penetration, so that’s a pretty limited way to define how long you’re ~lasting~. Take the pressure off your penis and start off with your hands or mouth or sex toys, says Kerner. This way you’re adding time on the game clock, but you’re also probably making the sex a lot better.
“For men who do last in the 1–3 minute range, focus on a lot of foreplay that gets your partner into that 1–2 minute window, too,” says Kerner.
10. But maybe don’t try to think about baseball or math or your grandmother…
It’s a common strategy, but it’s not a great one. For starters, it’s taking you out of the moment completely. Chances are your partner would prefer you to be present and focused on them for a short amount of time than thinking about your grandma while pounding away for 15 minutes.
But trying to distract yourself with other thoughts can also just stress you out. “Trying not to think about it just increases the anxiety you’re experiencing,” says Kerner. “And anything you do that creates anxiety could increase the propensity to ejaculate.”
11. The bottom line: Try not to stress, talk to your partner about it, and check in with your doctor if it’s getting really frustrating.
“There’s a lot of shame with this,” says Gittens. “Premature ejaculation is not the fault of the partner nor is it the fault of the person experiencing it. It’s a sexual problem that occurs in a certain number of individuals and there’s definitely help out there that they should reach out for.”
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