Boyfriend takes a long time to ejaculate

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend has trouble ejaculating, usually taking a long time. I was wondering if it could have to do with his constant masturbation during most of his young life. Could it be that the problem is me? Is there a possibility that we can improve the situation?


Dear Elle,

There is no standard for how long it takes a man to reach orgasm, so the fact that it takes your partner a long time may just be how his body works. Is it possible that your boyfriend may be more familiar with orgasming by himself than he is with you? He may be used to the grip of his own hand (or whatever method of self-stimulation he prefers), which is different from the sensation of vaginal muscles during intercourse. Generally speaking, a history of masturbation is not enough to suggest difficulty with reaching orgasm with a partner.

Other possible causes of delayed orgasm in men and women may include the use of drugs, prescription or otherwise. For others, it takes time to build trust with a partner, to feel like you can really "let go."  Have you asked him if there's anything you could do sexually that would make him feel more aroused and lead to orgasm — ways he would like to be touched, held, or talked to? How about discussing any medications that may be contributing to the situation? What about discussing what has worked for him in the past? Open communication between the two of you can build trust, a deeper connection, and may be a step toward finding a mutually satisfying place regarding orgasms in your relationship.

It's important that you don't take his lack of orgasm as a personal affront — thinking that you are not arousing him. On the other hand, if he feels this is a problem, he may choose to see a sex therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) can provide referrals to sex counselors and therapists in your area. Focus on your sex life as a unique experience, rather than fall back on preconceived notions or expectations of what should be occurring sexually.  By working together it's likely that you will find what works and produces the right magic.  Have fun experimenting and enjoy the journey.

Last updated Apr 29, 2015
Originally published Feb 16, 1995

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