Is your man always crossing the finish line before you do? Are you left feeling frustrated? Is this putting a damper on your sex life? According to sex and relationship therapist Marissa Nelson, you’re not alone.
“If you look at the statistics, men and women orgasm at completely different times. If you look at men, they orgasm anywhere between five to seven minutes on average and perhaps three to seven minutes depending on age. For women, that’s 15 to 20 minutes, sometimes more. Women naturally take a longer time to warm the body up and experience some sexual pleasure, arousal and then orgasm. So if you’re dealing with a guy who is five minutes and a woman who is fifteen to twenty minutes, of course, there’s often going to be discrepancies.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this cruel trick that mother nature has played on us, and Marissa has the answers.”
Rule out any possible medical issues
“It’s so important for people to understand that if you’re in a relationship, it’s the couple’s issue, and the couple has to deal with it together. That means we should work towards ruling out biology. Let’s make appointments at our doctors and gynecologists and neurologists just to make sure that everything is where it needs to be. That should be something the couple is doing together.”
Forget about the orgasm (for now)
“We must shift the focus away from sex being about performance and orgasms to being about pleasure. Sex and sexuality are about intimacy and pleasure. It’s a place that you go. It’s something that you experience. That has to happen with surrender. That has to happen with openness. And it has to veer away from, “Oh my God, it’s been five minutes, and he came, and now I’m upset.” This happens a lot with the clients that I see. Sometimes, the guy ejaculates and the woman is still horny and aroused, and she wonders what to do with that sexual energy. There has to be a place where the couple focuses on pleasure.”
“The best way to shift the focus away from chasing an orgasm is to extend foreplay, which will increase pleasure. A lot of couples do not spend a lot of time on foreplay. They just jump into the main event. Women need that stimulation that turns the body on and essentially makes sex more pleasurable, so you don’t experience issues like vaginal dryness or discomfort or pain during sex, which happens often. You have to be able, as a couple, to come up with some sort of new way of exploring one another. Explore with touch, you know, different types of sensations, licking and biting and all of these different ways that we can rediscover our partner and enjoy the sexual experience outside of the orgasm.”
Take the pressure off of him
“The other thing for women to understand is that when it comes to men, outside of men just naturally finishing quicker than women do, a lot of times we can be tipping into premature ejaculation. If this is the issue, a couple of things need to happen. First, women need to be aware of this: excluding any biological factors like hypertension, diabetes, low testosterone—anything that’s going to affect biological and physical sexual functioning—erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are often anxiety based. They’re rooted in anxiety, especially with Black men.
Black men have been conditioned to think that as a Black man, sex has to be about performance. It has to be about satisfying your partner and pleasing your partner, and that’s very entangled in their sense of manhood and their sense of self. But what happens when you’re in a situation with a partner, and you ejaculate before you would like to? Well, then that creates panic, that creates anxiety, which creates self-doubt. You know, ‘Oh my gosh, I came, and I can’t believe that that happened.’ And then, the mind chatter starts, and now he’s wondering if he pleased his partner—not to mention if the partner has a reaction to it. What happens after he ejaculates? Does the person just get up and walk away? Does the person not say anything? Does the person do their own thing? That can be a part of that feedback that then creates anxiety.”
Get out of your head and encourage him to do the same
“What I tell a lot of my clients is that if it’s the guy, we have to examine where this anxiety is coming from. I teach them to shift the sexual experience from thinking about performance and taking some of that pressure off. When there is more engagement and pleasure and play and enjoyment, and you’re doing that with your partner, it will be a process, but you’re having fun. You’re not in your head. With sexuality, you cannot be in your head. You have to be in your heart. You have to be in your loins. You cannot be in your head, and that’s what a lot of people do, and then they wonder why they’re not having the sex that they want to have. Well, honey, you are all in your head. You can’t be thinking, and thinking, and thinking, and thinking. You have to be feeling and experiencing.”
Tackle the issue as a team
“I can’t tell you how many times I have people come into my office like, ‘He doesn’t want to have sex or she doesn’t want to have sex. It’s their fault. I’ll be out in the waiting room.’ I’m like, ‘No, no, no! Please have a seat. Come on in, this is part of the growth!’ I really think it’s important that people move away from thinking, ‘Oh, my partner has erectile dysfunction. Oh, my partner doesn’t want to have sex. It’s their problem. They need to change.'”
Be willing to do the work
If the couples need to relearn ways of engaging each other with pleasure, that is what the couple is tasked to do. If the couple has to work on nonsexual touch—some people only touch each other when they want to have sex—then that’s what they have to do. If every time you touch me, it means that you want to have sex, I’m going to be skeptical every time that you touch me or try to be affectionate. It may be that couples need to learn to explore intimate and nonsexual touch to increase trust and vulnerability to have sex, then that’s what needs to happen. Couples need to be able to have these courageous conversations about sexuality and have a lot of empathy, openness, and compassion. Look at it through the lens of curiosity as opposed to criticism because that will kill the openness and the lines of communication going forward, and you don’t want that.
About Marissa Nelson: After years of serving as one of Washington, D.C.’s premier couples and sex therapists, Marissa Nelson and her husband decided to pack their bags and move to the Bahamas. There, Nelson founded Intimacymoons Couples Retreats, which offers specialized training in emotionally focused couples therapy, relationship therapy, and sexual health. To learn more, visit www.intimacymoons.com, www.instagram.com/intimacymoons, or www.twitter.com/xoxotherapy.