Popular Questions from "Understanding Male Sexuality" e-mail

Here are the most frequently asked questions from the "Understanding Male Sexuality" web site in recent months, and the answers that have been provided.

How can I lengthen the period of time it takes me to achieve orgasm?

Ejaculation is "premature" whenever a guy believes that he could last longer. In many instances, in male-female intercourse, it also becomes an issue of whether or not the guy can delay orgasm long enough so his partner can have hers.

Anyone can learn ejaculatory control, but it takes some time and practice. In part, it involves learning exactly where the "point of inevitability" occurs and stopping stimulation before that point is reached. The best reference on the subject I have found is Bernie Zilbergeld's book, "The New Male Sexuality," which should be available in nearly any public library. Any bookstore should also have it, or can order it for you. There is the "start-stop" technique and the "squeeze" technique, and these may be used alone or in combination. In addition, the exercises contained in the book should be fun for couples to learn. Every guy should read Bernie Zilbergeld's book, cover to cover. There is more discussion on developing ejaculatory control in my other paper as well. Finally, check out this internet reference on premature ejaculation.

I keep trying and trying to have an orgasm with my wife (or girlfriend) and despite hours of trying, nothing happens! I can maintain an erection, but I do not have an orgasm nor produce ejaculate. What is wrong?

Delayed orgasm is in some ways the opposite of premature ejaculation. There could be any number of causes. Once inside the vagina, there is often not that much direct stimulation of the penis, as the vagina billows out. The stimulation may be more psychological than physical compared with stimulation in masturbation. The guy who "expects" it to feel similar to what masturbation feels like may be surprised. Direct stimulation of the underside of the tip of the penis (the frenulum) is usually enough to cause an orgasm and ejaculation very quickly. Some experimentation with sexual position such that the underside of the tip of the penis may be worthwhile. During deep penetration, the tip of the penis comes in contact with the cervix, resulting in orgasm.

Also, many guys are so "worried" about doing everything "right" and worried that they are not going to be able to come (particularly true if the guy "failed" the last time), that they forget to concentrate on their own sensations and feelings. The result: no orgasm! The solution is to relax and enjoy the situation you find yourself in and quit worrying about when you are going to have an orgasm. If you are able to do this, chances are, the orgasm will occur right on schedule!

I've met this wonderful girl, and have now known her for a few months. She and I tried to have sex for the first time a few nights ago, and, embarrassingly, I wasn't able to get an erection? What is wrong? I love her very much.

My usual advice in this kind of a situation is to let the relationship ferment and smoulder a bit more. There is no rule that says intercourse much take place within a specific length of time--like within a few months. It might be fun to explore every form of touching other than intercourse. Try what was termed "heavy petting"--at least that is what it was called when I was in high school! Part of the trick here is to get really comfortable with your partner, so that you are less worried about pleasing her and can concentrate also on your own feelings and sensations.

I would like to increase the volume of ejaculate, or the distance I can shoot. Is there any way I can do this?

The prostate gland, seminal vesicles and other associated glands are only capable of producing a specific amount of fluid during each ejaculation-- approximately a teaspoonful, on average, although this varies somewhat from one guy to another. If a man has frequent orgasms--more than one a day, the volume will likely be reduced somewhat. Delaying orgasm for 48-72 hours may result in some increase in volume. Beyond that, the fluid is simply reabsorbed by the body. Maintaining good overall general physical health cannot hurt, and some have argued that some vitamins, particularly vitamin E, may also be helpful.

The distance semen is shot is of little practical consequence. Some guys can shoot further than others. The muscles that contract during orgasm can be exercised and toned by doing "kegels." Instructions for doing these are also found in Bernie Zilbergeld's book.

I am married to a 50 year old male. He is a wonderful man but has very little sexual drive. He is in very good physical condition and does not have any problem obtaining an erection. He has never had a problem with impotence, but he has no sexual appetite. Sometimes there are months with no sex between us. I know that he is not having an affair or anything like that. I try not to pressure him, but I am at the end of my rope. I feel cheated and undesired and I know the problem is not me. If you have any information for me I would be grateful.

I have received a number of letters similar to this one. The causes could be physical, psychological, or a combination of the two. I always suggest a thorough physical before focusing on potential psychological causes. Such a physical should focus on any kinds of medications being taken regularly. There are a number of commonly prescribed medications that have decreased libido as a potential side effect. Blood pressure medications can be a culprit, although the usual symptom with those is the inability to achieve an erection.(for impotence treatments, see the National Institutes of Health website .) The inability to achieve an erection is also a symptom of low grade adult-onset diabetes, so all of these possibilities should be checked.

Many men in their early to mid 50s undergo a type of male menopause, not the same as, but analogous to, the better known female change-of -life. The underlying causes could be attributed to changes in the levels of various hormones, including testosterone and related compounds. A doctor can check this. Often the symptoms go away on their own, but sometimes this can take years rather than months.

If all possible physical causes have been ruled out, psychological solutions can be explored. Often, sexual boredom sets in after a number of years. Doing the same old things in the same old ways can get tedious and sexually uninteresting after a number of years. The trick is to introduce some new activities in the relationship. Many couples find a short vacation together--away from the pressures of daily life--helpful. Explore with each other fantasies that each of you might find interesting. Perhaps there are some things your husband would like to try in the sex department he has not yet had the nerve to ask you about. Listen carefully, and let him play out these fantasies with you if possible. You might suggest that he reciprocate in your fantasies. This can be fun and interesting for both of you to introduce some new activities into your sexual relationship, whatever the two of you might agree upon.

I am married (or have a girlfriend) but sometimes I think about (fantasize about or have dreams about) having sex with a guy. Is this normal? Is there any simple way I can rid myself of these thoughts and fantasies?

This is not a simple question to answer. Debate still rages as to proportion of the male population that is only turned on by someone of the same sex. The estimates range from 3-10 percent of the population. The vast majority of these guys claim they "knew" from a very early age that they were gay. Many of these guys have never had any sexual experience with a member of the opposite sex at all.

Another portion of the population is not at all aroused by any same-sex situation, no matter what that particular situation might be. Statistical data on the portion of the total male population is extremely difficult to come by, and I suspect that most surveys overstate the true number to a significant degree. My best guess is that the percentage of the male population which falls into this category is no more than 20 percent.

That would leave 70 percent or more of the population--the largest group by far--in an in-between category. The majority of these individuals could potentially be aroused by or occasionally fantasize or perhaps even dream about having sex with a guy. In the America On Line chat rooms, these guys are called gay "curious." Obviously the vast majority of these guys have wives or girlfriends and live ordinary heterosexual lives. They do not in any way act on their fantasies or curiosities. Still these fantasies about other men do not simply vanish. Most of these guys, however, if quizzed, would say they "prefer" sex with a women despite their interest in or curiosity about gay sex.

A portion of this group, however, does eventually decide to act on the fantasies in some way. Some married guys occasionally have a "night with the boys" where the "boys" engage in mutual masturbation. And instances where a guy divorces his wife--often after raising a family--to take up life with another guy are not uncommon. Also, a share of the group are what I term the "true" bisexuals--actively engaging in sex with both male and female partners. Many of these guys, however, are very unhappy emotionally.

The same-sex fantasies are very common--it's likely that a significant majority of guys have them. There is no "magic" pill to remove them, and they are likely there for good. It's popular for the gays who claim they "always knew" to believe that everyone who has some same-sex fantasies is really gay. I do not believe conclusion to be at all accurate. For individuals who fall in this large in-between group, sexual preference does involve a degree of "choice" and is not necessarily predetermined by the influence of nature alone.

--© 2006 David Sebringsil sebringsil@aol.com

Go to Understanding Male Sexuality

Go to Sex and Human Life