Whose fault is it that he can't finish what she started? 

"Ejaculatory incompetence" doesn't make for sexy bedroom talk

Hello! I am a 22-year-old woman who in November began dating a 24-year-old man who hadn't had sexual contact with another person in three years. While he's a bit rusty with foreplay, he is patient, very energetic, and extremely willing to learn and demonstrate what he has been taught, which has been all to my multiorgasmic benefit.

So what's the problem? He can't come. At all. There's pre-ejaculate for days but nothing else, although he had no problem coming the first time we had phone sex. I'm not Jenna Jameson, but I am tighter than airport security. Vaginal sex hasn't helped, though, and I've used my best oral tricks to no avail. There's not enough Altoids or tongue flicking I can do to bring that dick down.

I should note that he is uncircumcised; could that be a factor here? I can't help but think the problem is me, though he insists otherwise. And while he says my pleasure matters more to him, we have a great emotional connection and he is one of the best lovers I've ever had, even with his three-year hiatus, and I definitely want to return the favor.

Any thoughts? Thanks so much in advance. I think you are hilarious and insightful!

— Close, But No Cigar

Dear Close,

You need to tell him what I tell my partners when we're having problems: "It's not me. It's you." Seriously, your boyfriend has something called "ejaculatory incompetence." What a terrible way to phrase it, huh? I can't believe I didn't come up with it first.

Basically, it's an inability to orgasm in the presence of another person. The National Institute of Health reports that up to 4 percent of men suffer from it. Ejaculatory incompetence is mostly caused by psychological factors rather than medical conditions. You didn't say if he can ejaculate when he masturbates alone. If he can't, book a doctor. If he can, keep reading.

The biggest cause of ejaculatory incompetence is a perceived loss of control.

Basically, your boyfriend has an internal conflict between his conscious desire ("I want to come inside her") and his subconscious unwillingness ("If I let go, she's in control. She'll dominate me. She'll own me. I'll be her slave. She'll consume me. I WILL DIE").

Really, it's lousy self-talk when you're fucking.

Remember, "subconscious" means below the level of conscious awareness, so your boyfriend doesn't even know that's what he's probably thinking. The stupid thing is, the inability to ejaculate with a partner happens to lots of guys who are "emotionally available" in every other way. It's just that somewhere along the line in their sexual life, they made a decision to protect themselves. Some guys can't come at all in the presence of a partner; some only during intercourse, some only with self-service. Different doors are locked in different houses.

I know it doesn't make sense that he'd be unwilling to do what he desperately wants, but you only have to look at the millions of men who are pee-shy in public bathrooms to understand the phenomenon. They want to pee. Their bladder is bursting. But they just can't do it unless they're alone. They're fighting his fight: A conscious desire subverted by a subconscious fear.

The solution? Reframe his thinking from "I want but I can't" to "I want but I won't." There's a big difference between can't (an inability) and won't (an unwillingness).

He has to consciously "undecide" a subconsciously made decision. He has to convince himself that he won't lose control or end up your emotional slave if he ejaculates in, on or around you.

None of this is easy to do. I suggest he seek out a sex therapist — they have a tremendous success rate with this condition. Here's a list of Atlanta therapists.

Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at sexorcist@creativeloafing.com. Mike is the author of a line of gay dating ebooks and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.

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