Delayed Ejaculation and Intimacy

How delayed ejaculation can make a couple less intimate – and what to do about it

We have discussed the “technical” aspects of delayed ejaculation, and how they can be treated. What we now need to do is acknowledge the difficulties that a couple can have in their relationship as a result of a man’s erectile problems. Therapists who work with men in this field know that for many men the onset of delayed ejaculation means the end not only of sex but also of intimacy – indeed, some men who finally decide to seek treatment have not had intercourse for several years.

Sadly, it’s all too clear that the majority of men who have some degree of erectile difficulty and who give up sex with their partners also find that emotional and physical intimacy, including cuddles and kisses, also come to an end at about the same time. delayed ejaculation bring an end to both intimacy and sex.

One of the reasons why is that men feel it may be wrong, inappropriate or embarrassing to offer any kind of intimacy to their partner if they cannot follow this up by completing intercourse. This belief system might lead a man, for example, to move away when his partner tries to be affectionate, even if she offers physical contact in a nonsexual way.

And of course men who want to avoid sex, just like women who want to avoid sex, can be extremely creative about how they do it: this might include going to bed at different times or even sleeping in separate beds. And partners often collude in an unspoken agreement to avoid the subject or reality of sex.

And sometimes a woman will respond to her partner’s delayed ejaculation by avoiding intimacy. Her rationalization tends to be that it is better to avoid anything could be interpreted in a sexual way since she doesn’t want to embarrass or humiliate her male partner by starting any activity that would once have led to sex.

It’s also quite easy for woman to switch off her sense of sexual desire altogether and become asexual: there’s a clear decision here to avoid intimacy and also not to do anything that might bring up the subject of sex, or rather, make the couple face the difficulties that are now associated with sex such as the male partner not becoming physically aroused enough for sexual intercourse.

Yet here’s the problem: intimacy is essential to human relationships, both on a physical level and on an emotional level. Intimacy refers to any connection that reinforces our sense of being valued by our partner, of being appreciated, of being cared for. It can take the form of gentle touches, hugs or cuddles, spontaneous kisses, lying in each other’s arms, and many other nonsexual physical touches; it can also take the form of intimate discussions, trusting your partner by revealing your deepest thoughts and desires, and of course by telling them or showing them that you love them.

Unfortunately, many men believe that intimacy equates to sex: and that’s a belief system that means that if they cannot get an erection which is hard enough for sexual intercourse, they’re very likely to withdraw from any kind of intimate touch.

Another difficulty which compounds the problem is that many men feel that asking for physical affection like a hug is somehow unmanly, or a least seems like admitting a weakness, or admitting that they need support — in our society, as you know, men are brought up to believe that they have to be strong, competent and capable (and probably independent as well).

So whether or not you’re a man with a difficulty getting hard, or a woman supporting such a man (or indeed a man supporting such a man), it’s important to understand that even though sexual intercourse may not be practical, there are plenty of other ways in which you can reinforce your relationship by demonstrating to your partner that you love them and feel affection for them.

And, should you wish to be sexual, despite your delayed ejaculation, the first step in establishing exactly how you can express yourself sexually in these circumstances is to talk your partner about what they appreciate sexually and what would satisfy them. Women can often be unclear about what it is they require around sexual intimacy, so an open discussion about what she would find sexually rewarding is important.

If you can move away from the model of foreplay followed by intercourse to a different model, then you are likely to be able to establish a degree of intimacy and affection which keeps your relationship stable and perhaps even reinforces it. This might, for example, involve foreplay followed by oral sex, or perhaps a sexual massage: the point is that it doesn’t really matter what form sexual contact takes — what matters is that, if you so choose, it continues so that emotional intimacy is reinforced.

A key factor to understand here is that if you actually stop touching each other, your chances of successfully re-establishing a sexual relationship are diminished even further. The difficulty is that distancing yourself from your partner is a very common side effect of being diagnosed with delayed ejaculation, especially when either member of a couple is too anxious, stressed, or uncertain about how to raise the issue with their partner. So, while the information which follows may appear to be simplistic, it’s really rather important if you want your relationship to survive the diagnosis of a man’s delayed ejaculation.

There are some easy and simple ways that you can maintain closeness before, during, and after treatment for delayed ejaculation.

First, you have to compensate for the absence of sex within your relationship by increasing the level of physical affection, intimacy, and touch. So, for example, you may want to increase how often you hold your partner’s hands, spontaneously reach out for her, or cuddle up together on the sofa watching a movie; you should certainly always have some kind of physical embrace before you go off to sleep in bed. The point is that this kind of touching doesn’t have to be a precursor to sex. It can be simply about showing your partner that you care for them and that you’re thinking about them.

One of the benefits of this is that you feel a deeper bond to each other. However, it is necessary for you to do this for several weeks before you’ll see really positive results. Even so, it’s good to do it because if a man has had delayed ejaculation which have affected the couple’s attitude to sex, perhaps establishing an association between intercourse and stress or performance anxiety, then this kind of gentle touching will help you both to re-establish a more relaxed frame of mind, which in turn will lead to a better atmosphere for sexual contact when the moment is right.

You should certainly take your progress towards sex slowly: whether or not you’re aiming to have sex, kissing and cuddling, and sensual stroking and caressing can stimulate each other’s bodies in a way that allows you to regain a sense of physical arousal; that’s good because the stimulation of physical arousal is a much more reliable way of becoming erect than using mental arousal or fantasy. But for sensual touch to work, you certainly have to engage in it with your full attention and intention placed in the touch you give to each other.

It’s no use trying to offer – or for that matter receive – touch if half your mind is on something else outside the relationship and beyond the immediate interaction between you and your partner. So bring your full attention and focus to your touch; if you’re the person receiving the touch, you also need to bring your full attention and intention to the act of receiving. It’s almost as if you’re placing your whole focus at the point of physical contact between you and your partner.

If you’re allowing your mind to wander, you’re effectively saying to your partner that you’re not interested in what they’re doing, or that you’re defending in some way against establishing greater closeness with them.

 In such cases, it can sometimes be helpful to pause and have a brief discussion about exactly what’s going on for you both: of course you do need to be fairly emotionally literate, and familiar with your thoughts and feelings, to be able to do this. If you have any sense that this is beyond your abilities or your comfort zone, it might well be a good idea to obtain the help of a psychosexual therapist.

Gentleness and sensitivity are also essential in this process as you begin to re-explore, or perhaps recover, a level of intimacy and affection which you lost some time ago. As you explore the feelings and emotions that come up during this kind of sensual contact, you’ll be able to assess what’s happening much better, both in terms of what you find arousing, as well as what you don’t.

And, for the process to be really helpful and useful in establishing intimacy and connection between you both, you need to be able to feed information about your experience back to your partner in a non-judgmental, non-critical way.

It’s also important that you revive romance within your relationship, especially when your sense of intimacy is being much reduced or perhaps even lost altogether in the face of erection issues. This isn’t a problem – and one good way of doing this is to cast your mind back over your relationship with your partner to the past times when you recall the heady sense of romance you once enjoyed. Work out what made you feel good, what made you feel alive, in fact, what made you feel passionate and joyous.

Remember that sense of romantic love for your partner which made you do all kinds of madcap things without thinking? Nowadays you don’t have to go that far: you can simply revive romance with a shared walk, or by taking time for the two of you, or by enjoying dinner together, or by going out together, or by leaving short affectionate notes and love letters for each other, or by buying your partner an unexpected gift, or by cooking dinner for him or her. You see the point?

It’s about showing your partner you’re thinking of them, that you love them, that they’re important to you: all these things will boost the self-esteem you get from your relationship and make it much easier to engage in sexual activities when you are ready — which is just as true for the man as the woman, even if he doesn’t have an erection.

There many reasons why delayed ejaculation may develop. But sometimes the challenge that you face is simply about growing older. if this applies to you, keep in mind that sexual activity only changes with age, it doesn’t stop.

Yes, it will take a man longer to get an erection, and for good or bad it will take a man longer to reach the point of ejaculation (which is perhaps a good thing for some men!); and this means you need to take more time over foreplay, you need to have use much more sensual touch to arouse the man, and you need to be much more creative in your lovemaking.

It also goes without saying that you need to communicate more openly – all of which, by the way, is a great thing because it leads to a much more enhanced sense of pleasure during orgasm.

You probably realize that if aging is the issue you face, then acceptance of change with age is the key to allowing your sex life to continue in a way that satisfactory to both you and your partner. If you remember your youth, you may recall becoming sexually aroused with almost no stimulation at all — in fact, for many adolescents and young men it just seems to happen spontaneously. As you grow old, especially as you grow into your 50s and beyond, you need to adapt what you’ve been doing to a slower sense of sensuality — and especially, you need to start touching each other more.

It’s hard to emphasize how much different sensual touch can make to both intimacy and the possibility of full sexual contact. Some men who haven’t had intercourse for eight years will be able to get an erection and enjoy sex after using a program of sensual touching for only three months. 

One of the most important reasons why you should make an effort to maintain your sex life is that most of us don’t attach any less importance to sex as we grow older, so if you’re not actually having regular intercourse (no matter how infrequently), your self-esteem may well decline.

It’s important that you get good advice and information about treatment options. You can find such a treatment program here. If you don’t enjoy a healthy sex life in your 50s, 60s and 70s, there’s a real danger that you’ll lose the sense of intimacy between you: and that is something which should actually be growing stronger as you grow older.