No matter how hot it is, sex is messy business. And by messy, I don’t just mean the aftermath, the sweat or what happens when naked bodies get together — I mean the whole act of it. The tough fact to face is that even when both parties really (really!) want to have each other, there are many messy but common sex problems that happen along the way. From finishing too early or too late to mismatched sex drives, even happy couples will have to navigate the bedroom territory with sensitivity, patience and well, endurance.
If you’re experiencing any of the issues below, it may be tough to decipher if what you’re dealing with stems from a physical issue or a mental one. Most experts agree that before you start seeing a therapist, it’s important to rule out anything medical, first. “A sexual issue can be a number of things. It can be a functional issue, a lack of sex issue, a wanting sex issue, or infidelity,” psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LPCC says. “Functional issues can be physical or emotional. If your physician has figured out that there is no medical reason, we are probably looking at issues of anxiety surrounding performance.”
So how do you know if the issue you’re experiencing is mental, physical, or maybe a mix of both? Sex experts give their best advice below and make sure to see a physician before doing anything extreme. But first, check out our video on how to last longer in bed:
1. Unable To Get Or Maintain An Erection
While you may think that erectile dysfunction aka trouble getting or staying hard is only for middle-aged or older men, there’s a growing prevalence in men under 40, so it's nothing to be embarrassed about. For most young guys, the issue can come from an unhealthy diet and exercise, or a low testosterone level. If you’re active and your t-level checks out though, it may be a mental issue surrounding performance anxiety or even by watching too much porn. To help overcome this issue, sex expert, Eyal Matsliah tells Bustle that they should try masturbating without porn and without ejaculation, teaching themselves how to arouse more naturally. Dr. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and sex therapist tells Bustle that therapy can help most men with a mental block causing erectile dysfunction from stress, worry, or anxiety.
2. Finishing Too Quickly
While penis-in-vagina sex lasts around five minutes on average, if your partner is consistently finishing quickly, they may need to build up their sexual endurance. For this issue, your partner may be experiencing hypersensitivity and needs to be introduced to intense pleasure gradually, instead of all-at-once. “Try a technique called ‘sensate focus’ where you learn to deal with more and more stimulation over time, until you can finally have sex at greater lengths and strengths,” Martinez says. Condoms can also help prolong sex and having your partner spend more time masturbating to build their time.
3. Mismatched Sex Drives
So you want it in the evening, she wants it in the morning. You’d prefer a handful of times a week, while he’d like it every single day, a few times a day, if he could. The majority of couples will deal with mismatched sex drive at some point in their relationship, and it’s totally normal. For this issue, the key to success is communication. “The couple needs to be open about what each of their drives and needs are, and then they can talk about it and find a happy medium where both feel OK about the amount of sex that they are having,” Martinez says. “They also might agree to supplement the actual act of sex with other acts to take care of the partner’s needs.”
4. Inability To Get Wet
For some women, even when you’re really turned on, you might not seem like it down there. Levels of wetness are different for everyone, but if you’re typically pretty dry, experts recommend seeing a physician to rule out any medical issues that could cause this issue. If all is well, Martinez recommends using lube or spending more time on foreplay to get you more in the mood. Matsliah also says spending more time masturbating can help you figure out what zones turn you on the most, and thus, you can show your partner how to make you moan.
5. Not Being Able To Orgasm
If you feel like you’re trying everything and your partner is trying everything and you’re still not orgasming, it can wreak havoc on your relationship. “If she is not able to get to the point of climax in the time the partner is able to maintain, you actually want to do the same thing, be verbal, say what you like and need that can help you move this along,” Martinez says. It may also be helpful for women to seek a sex therapist who can help them relax in the bedroom, and for their partner to realize that you may need more time than they do.
Whether mental, physical, or both, remember that these issues are nothing to be embarrassed about — or impossible to overcome.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Giphy