Sex & Relationships

6 Reasons Why Guys Can't Finish in Bed Sometimes

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Complaining to other women that your male partner takes too long to orgasm is like a magic recipe for producing eye rolls. Oh, your man takes a long time to finish in bed? Poor you! Why don't you complain about the diamond seat covers that you bought for your Maybach next, lady? But while our premature ejaculation-obsessed culture paints delayed ejaculation as some kind of wish fulfillment scenario for straight women, in reality, it can result in as much frustration and confusion — and put just as much stress on a relationship — as dealing with a proverbial "one minute man."

While the women telling you that delayed ejaculation in a partner is "a problem I'd like to have" are probably picturing some kind of erotic scented candle/chocolate/soft music type of scenario, in reality, dealing with a partner who has delayed orgasms can make you feel like there's a party in your vagina and everyone was invited ... and now you would like them all to leave so that you can go to bed, but you actually have to sit through at least 20 more minutes of this.

And there's more than just your vagina's immediate happiness on the line: when a guy can't orgasm, or takes a very long time, we can often feel like it's our fault, as if we are doing something wrong. The entire world is trying to get guys to delay their orgasm, and here I am, banging away for an increasingly joyless 45 minutes, to no avail. The obvious answer is that I AM THE WORST SEX-HAVER IN HISTORY, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong! A whole host of issues can affect a guy's ability to orgasm, and they can range from short-term problems to lifelong issues. Some of them have solutions, and some of them don't, but the important thing to know is: it's not your fault. But first, let's explain what delayed ejaculation is.

So, What Qualifies As A "Delayed Orgasm"?

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Technically, if he is taking more than 30 minutes to ejaculate, you have a delayed ejaculator on your hands. But even if your dude doesn't take quite that long, any sex that goes on way past the point of pleasure for you (and, quite possibly, him) can count. And a pattern of this kind of sex can put a ton of stress on the relationship, and lead to a reluctance to get it on. After all, who wants to bone down if you know it's going to end with your dude pumping away at your raw-feeling vag while you start to remember the plots of One Tree Hill episodes just to entertain yourself?

The 6 Biggest Causes Of Delayed Orgasm

Here are the six biggest causes of delayed orgasm in men, and the best ways to work through them and get back to getting your rocks off.


Lots of common medications can have sexual side effects, including delayed orgasm for men and women — ones that your doctor may not have bothered to tell you about. SSRI antidepressants — like Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and others — are notorious for messing with users' sex drives, and they can make orgasms difficult or even impossible to achieve. In fact, 30 to 70 percent of antidepressant users experience sexual problems of some sort because of the medication.

Benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used to treat anxiety like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, as well as anti-psychotics like Risperidone can have similar effects. Most blood pressure medications, as well as some anti-convulsant medications, statins, and other drugs used to control high cholesterol are known to delay orgasms, or keep users from having any orgasm at all.

What You Can Do: For some folks, switching to a med with fewer sexual side effects, like Wellbutrin, is an option. But in many cases, these meds are life-saving, and going off them isn't worth the risk. However, there are ways for couples to adjust to life with delayed orgasm — since most of the stress regarding delayed orgasms comes from our expectations of how exactly a man should be able to get off, rethinking your sex life, including whether penetrative intercourse needs to be the main dish every single time, can help take the pressure off for both partners.

Mental Health Issues

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Even if you're not taking meds, struggling with mental health issues can mess with your sex life on every front, including in the orgasm department. Anxiety and depression can lead to delayed orgasms, which makes perfect sense after you think about it — when you're depressed, simple acts of daily life like brushing your teeth or going to the grocery store feel like climbing a mountain, so how the hell are you going to get it together to get off?

What You Can Do: Getting your honey to get any kind of psychological help — from going on mood-stabilizing meds to engaging in talk therpay — can work wonders, both for your partner's orgasms and for their life in general (though, as noted above, meds can come with their own issues).

Miscellanious Health Conditions

Some chronic or autoimmune conditions, like multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism and diabetes, can come with a side dish of sexual dysfunction for all genders —sexual dysfunction that your doctor often won't bother mentioning. Short-term health conditions, like UTIs and other infections, can also keep dudes from crossing the finish line.

What You Can Do: Though it's often simply a matter of properly managing the condition (like remembering to consistently take the right dose of meds), this is a sitch where encouraging your dude to fight through the embarrassment and talk to his doctor can be a sex life/relationship saver. Though is can be terrifying to talk about sexual dysfunctions with a doctor, remember: these are people who spend all day dealing with blood and bile and death. Talking frankly about sexual issues is like a pleasant stroll through a park for them.

Performance Anxieties

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We think of "performance anxiety" as the fear of not looking like a stud in bed, which can certainly contribute to not being able to get off. But so can a whole host of other sexuality-related anxieties —like nervousness about becoming sexually active, emotional hang-ups for those raised in a culture that viewed certain types of sex as wrong or improper, overall anxiety about the general quality of the relationship, nervousness about getting a partner accidentally pregnant, or, if you're trying to conceive, nervousness about not getting a partner pregnant.

What You Can Do: Once again, pushing your boo to look into counseling — either traditional therapy or couples counseling — can help them work through some of these anxieties. But if the issue is that your relationship isn't working, the only cure for this disobedient boner is probably breaking up (sorry).


I know, I know. You thought booze was your friend in all things sexual! How could it betray you like this? But a 2004 study on booze and sex found that 11 percent of subjects had experienced sexual problems while using alcohol. In fact, some research has recommended alcohol as a treatment for premature ejaculation, which should kinda tell you all you need to know. And this is just referring to one-off, Friday night kind of drinking — chronic heavy drinking can also lead to consistent delayed orgasm. Booze, you are a fairweather sexual friend, indeed!

What You Can Do: Urge your honey to cool it with the sauce. Easier said than done, I know. But not only is it good for orgasmic problems — sober sexual encounters can be a positive for your overall relationship, self-image, faith in humanity, etc.

Masturbation Style

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If you dude spent the decade before he met you and your vagina gripping his penis as if it were an umbrella in a windstorm, then of course trying to orgasm from traditional intercourse will be difficult for him. Vaginas are strong but they can't, like, strangle a man, you know? A heavy-duty masturbation style involving a grip or speed impossible to replicate during sex with another human being is one of the most common culprits behind delayed ejaculation.

What You Can Do: Dudes who have developed a masturbation style impossible to replicate with actual partners can "reset" their baseline for sexual stimuli by refraining from jerking it for a few weeks, and then "retraining" their penis by switching to a masturbation style that's similar in pressure, etc, to sexual intercourse.

Yes, asking a dude to temporarily give up masturbating for you is awkward. But the end results are worth it! Plus, if you do it now, you can make his being able to masturbate again his Valentine's Day present, which is totally better than anything you'll find for him at Target.

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Images: Daniel Mitchell/ Flickr, Giphy (7)