As far as bedroom issues go, premature ejaculation, when your partner comes too soon, is a pretty common phenomenon, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. For both partners, it can be frustrating and disheartening, even though reaching orgasm too quickly is, in most cases, not a dealbreaker, and it certainly isn't a problem that's "unfixable."
Unfortunately, men who experience premature ejaculation and other erectile dysfunction problems may feel emasculated, self-conscious, or less worthwhile as a sex partner. Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle that the reasons for premature ejaculation can vary, but things like anxiety, a health condition or medications, or even a habit of getting off quickly during masturbation can all impact the time it takes a man to orgasm.
The most important thing to remember, Levine says, is that you and your partner should tackle any sexual issues as a team, and you should be careful of saying things that might make your partner feel even more anxious about a problem that's already difficult to grapple with. While there are things you can do to help him last longer in bed, it's also not an issue that can be fixed overnight, so be patient and understanding as you work on it together.
If your partner comes too soon and is expressing disappointment or frustration with himself, here are five things to say to show your support without being insensitive.
1. "I'm Still Attracted To You."
Because society's notion of masculinity
is so intrinsically linked to sexual performance, a man who is prone to premature ejaculation might feel that he's disappointing you and that you will lose your attraction to him. It's (hopefully) common sense not to say something harsh like "You suck in bed," but the value of reaffirming how attractive you find your partner should not be forgotten either. Sincerely complimenting him and both telling and showing him you're still sexually turned on by him will help eradicate some of his insecurities.
2. "I Love That You Satisfy Me In Other Ways."
It's imperative to understand this yourself as well as remind your partner of it: Sex does not have to be over after he ejaculates. While premature ejaculation can be a sexual obstacle, having your partner finish you with his hands or mouth or a toy will help him realize that, while he works on lasting longer, there can be satisfying sex for both parties in the meantime. Levine says the key to being a good partner in this situation is to "support each other and do what it takes to let the other feel sexually satisfied even though it didn't happen the way they hoped."
3. "We Will Find A Solution Together."
The most important thing you can do for your partner is form a united front: Your sex life belongs to both of you, so he shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of this issue all by himself. Rather than brushing it off and saying, "Don't worry, it's fine," you should actively seek a solution with him, so he doesn't feel as though it's "his fault." Depending on his specific circumstances, you could even offer to attend sex counseling sessions with him, so the two of you can communicate about your needs, wants, and desires to get to the root of the issue.
4. "Is There Anything I Can Do To Help During Sex?"
Aside from offering to help him with any of the long-term methods of combating the issue (medication, therapy, masturbation retraining), the best thing you can do in the heat of the moment is ask him what he needs to help slow his arousal during sex. Maybe he wants to try the stop/start method
so he doesn't get worked up too fast, or maybe he wants to change positions more often so he has a small break every so often. He could also try condoms or gels designed to "desensitize" the penis — whichever options he wants to try, you should be supportive and enthusiastic.
5. "I'll Be Here If You Want To Talk About It."
If your partner feels uncomfortable or ashamed with you being directly involved in resolving this issue (i.e. he doesn't want your company on doctor or therapy visits), it's still crucial that you voice your willingness to listen if he should ever need to vent or communicate his problems. Levine emphasizes that you should be empathetic to your partner's situation, and not place any blame on him. At the end of the day, you're both a team, and you should express that you're there for him in whatever capacity he wants you — but don't press the issue so much that he develops even more performance anxiety.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions to make him last longer in bed.
Image: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle