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I come way too soon and I just can't deal!

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Chris asks:

This question is about Premature Ejaculation, nowhere on the internet will give me any free advice or help so I really appreciate some real advice on thus one. I'm 20 years old and I have a girlfriend.

We been having sex a lot, when I get to see her, (she lives in another city in the time being but when I do see her), the tension is high in our sexual urges and have a lot of it. I have a very confused penis as it would last normally (let's say 10 minutes) but then more often it goes out of control and I ejaculate to soon.

She is very supportive and tries to go slow or is patient when I have to stop every 5 seconds. But come on, this isn't sex. I'm fighting a battle every time. I try to relax and use different condoms for sensitivity but I still get the same end result PE! I do know I have a high sex drive ( I love the idea of sex a lot) she is hot and the fact she wants it all the time is hot too but I find sometimes it makes me a bit nervous because of my problem.

I know in my past I do get stressed, sometimes I don't sleep regularly, or get the proper exercise as needed, and I got a lot on my mind but I know others like that and they don't have PE or at least tell me that. When I was with her I wasn't stressed or anything and I still get it. Can you please help me.

Heather Corinna replies:

I can certainly do my best. Let's start with the basics.

Thing is, "premature ejaculation" is actually not the best term in the world, because it is seriously vague and incredibly arbitrary. I can tell you that I run too slow, for instance, and what you're likely going to ask me is "Compared to who?" or "For what?" Those are sensible questions. For instance, I may answer that I run too slow to catch the bus when it's four blocks away (something I found out last week, as a point of fact). If that's the case, you'd likely just tell me to get to the bus stop a bit earlier, right? Or, I may say that I run too slow compared to Florence Griffith Joyner, but you'd probably tell me that most people do, not everyone can be an Olympic athlete, and whatever is the right speed for me is probably just fine.

Intercourse -- let's not say sex when we mean intercourse, and I'll explain why in a bit -- is "real" or is sex no matter how long or short any given guy lasts. And on average for a guy your age (between 18 and 30), just so that we can make things a bit less arbitrary and more clear, the amount of time from the start of intercourse to ejaculation is around six minutes. Kinsey studies found that a majority of men of all ages reach orgasm within just over two minutes a good half of the time. In other words, sounds to me like you're pretty darn normal here, and do bear in mind that even over the next decade, you'll likely last a little longer with every year. So, overall, I'd be inclined to say that this isn't really an issue of PE -- which again, is a really dumb term anyway, but at this point, is generally defined as a literal "minute man," a guy who only lasts around a minute -- but an issue of you not feeling satisfied when it comes to what you want or expect and what is happening.

When you wrote, "That's not sex!" I said to myself, "It sure isn't," but probably not in the way you'd think.

Intercourse all by itself, no matter how long it goes on for, isn't what I'd call sex in a holistic way. For most couples, for partnered sex to be something very physically and emotionally satisfying, it's about more than one activity. This idea that what sex is is an hour of nothing but intercourse is really inaccurate.

For most couples having super-duper-fantastico sex together who include intercourse in that sex, it's more like a little of this activity, a little of that one, then some intercourse, maybe a little break, then a little more of this thing, a little intercourse again, then more of that other thing. You might also want to bear in mind that most women, even if they really enjoy intercourse, are not going to reach orgasm from intercourse alone no matter how long you last, and plenty of women's ideas of a good time very much is NOT a half hour of solid vaginal intercourse. That's not all that surprising, since most of our vaginas don't have sensory nerve endings like other parts of our genitals and other parts of our bodies. Plus, on average, it takes women longer to reach orgasm than it does men, so for most heterosexual women and men, men are coming before their female partners, especially when things are only about intercourse. So, for those reasons and more -- whether you have an erection that lasts two minutes or twenty during intercourse -- mixing it up is a good idea and is more of what sex is all about.

An extra bonus of mixing things up like that is that you may well end up lasting longer without it feeling like some sort of interruption. Too, since y'all are long-distance right now, so you're bound to be even more lusty than usual when you see each other, why not give your penis time to adjust by starting with sexual activities that are only receptive for her, like manual sex or oral sex for her? Not only will that likely be enjoyable for you both, you're bound to feel less pressured and stressed about all this when you know she's getting off regardless. You might also want to talk to her about what ALL she likes sexually. In the case that she expects to only orgasm through intercourse, her expectations may need some adjusting, too. It may also be helpful to just talk some of this out with her really honestly.

Mind, if you're not feeling satisfied yourself, that's not a nonissue: it's just as important as your girlfriend feeling satisfied. So, what I'd suggest are a few things, beyond mixing up your sexual activities. The biggie is that you bridge reality and fantasy, and accept that most men don't maintain an erection for much longer than you once intercourse begins, and that's totally normal. That only has to impede on your sex life if you don't adjust your expectations to meet the reality of real people's bodies most of the time. So, you might want to explore other activities for you, as well. Too, if you just very badly want to extend your time a bit -- understanding that when I say a bit, I mean just that -- some men find it helpful to masturbate right before a date, so that they get that second erection that often tends to last longer.

And above and beyond all else? You've got to just relax, brother. Give your penis a break, and give your self-esteem a break. Like I've said, it sounds to me like you're within a totally normal window here, and just need to adjust your expectations, and how you think about what sex is and what it's supposed to be like based on reality, not fantasy. The pressure you're putting on yourself may well not only be impacting how your body is responding, it's also going to make even good sexual experiences less good than they could be. Sex is a whole-body thing: it should never be reliant on one small part of one partner's body, and even when it does and that "works," it tends to be pretty sexually limiting for everyone.

In case you need to hear it, what anyone who knows from anything about great sex will tell you is that the partners they remember most, with whom they usually had the best sex ever, all have in common isn't usually about how a given body part of theirs looked or performed. The best partners are simply usually the most creative, the most imaginative, the most communicative and the most responsive. Nobody's genitals can give them those things, that's brain and heart stuff, and when you really like a sexual partner, when they really turn you on, you're really comfortable being yourself with them and you're invested in pleasure for both of you, that best-sex-stuff is actually pretty darn easy, especially since it also happens to be the really fun part. I'm not just saying that to make you feel better, either: that really is what people tend to report.

Okay? So, take a big breath. Chill out. Focus on just enjoying each other and on what feels good for you both. Give your poor penis a break, and know that it's all seriously going to be just fine -- and likely more than just fine -- if you just let it.

I'm tossing you some links to a few more pieces which will give you some additional information I hope will round this out so you can see where I'm coming from, and get yourself in a better spot.

Heather Corinna • Scarleteen Founder, Editor & Advice-Slingin' Sister • Author, S.E.X.

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