Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sexual Concerns Part 2B: Men’s Guide to Getting Your Groove Back

“We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it”
William Hazlitt, 18th century author

During the past week, we were favorably reviewed by Janesguide.com ("staff choice") as well as several European sites; and as a result, we've had another huge influx of readers. So in addition to welcoming you newbies, here’s a note about how to get the most out of this blog. As regular readers can attest, you might find it a bit different from others you’ve read because my intention is to be both entertaining and educational. Each new post is based on information presented in the previous one; so to get the maximum benefit, I recommend you begin with the introductory post from August and read forward from there.


Calling all men! You have suffered in silence long enough! Most of the popular literature has been focused on female sexuality, while references to male sexuality have been limited to Viagra, penis mechanics, and such. If you listen to the radio or read the newspaper, you’re bombarded by ads from the pharmaceutical/medical industry asking whether you’re performing “up to par” (one can only imagine what below par might be, brrrr!), whether you want better performance, stronger erections (and what exactly is a “weak” erection?), to last longer, etc. The implicit message seems to be that you’re supposed to perform, not complain or question, and be content because you’re “getting some.” Pleasure? What’s that? Not only does this do a huge disservice to men, but it also leaves you vulnerable to exploitation by reinforcing the idea that this is what you should want. And if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?

Performance is the enemy of both pleasure and fun. The #1 cause of male sexual concerns is that many men focus on their performance rather than on their pleasure.

Picture this: You’re an actor, shooting a scene in which you’re eating a succulent gourmet dinner. You’re focused on your lines and technique, but not on the food. How much do you think you’d enjoy the actual meal? Well, sex is the same: if you focus on performance, you’re just working; and with an attitude like that, you miss all the fun.

Oh, sure, sometimes performing can be enjoyable; but eventually it’s just work. Have you bought into this model? If so, you might have discovered that sex is beginning to feel like a chore instead of fun. The first step in letting go of this attitude is educating yourself. Read The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld, a classic and still the best book on the subject. My male students swear by it. It will also help you to open up and share your concerns with a partner. Some men assume their partners want them to perform, but that usually isn’t the case. You might find there’s more room for flexibility than you assumed.

To develop erection reliability: Do you feel you always have to be in charge and it’s up to you to initiate sex? How do you feel about this? Are you comfortable telling your partner what you need? Try exploring any conflicts you have about being sexual as well as any past negative messages regarding some aspect of sex or what being “manly” means to you. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that men sometimes just want to be held, kissed and stroked. Also ask yourself whether you’re angry at a partner or resentful.

If none of the above is true for you, see a urologist for a check-up to rule out any physiological factors getting between you and your experiencing pleasure. Also note that in general, if you’re having erections at other times, e.g., upon awaking (“morning wood”), that's an indication that there’s probably nothing physically amiss. Of course, too much alcohol or other drugs can also affect erection.

To last longer: First, slow down during self-pleasuring and unlearn that old pattern of getting in fast before you blast. Try teasing yourself by stimulating yourself just to the point where you feel you’re about to orgasm, then backing off and relaxing, and then beginning again. “Lather, rinse, repeat.” This will give you a sense of control as well as teach you to recognize your own point of “orgasmic inevitability.”

Once you feel in control of your orgasm, you can also examine whether you have any feelings of discomfort with being sexual—either with yourself or with a partner. These feelings of discomfort can create extreme conflict and cause you to feel the need to get it over with quickly. If you look at sex as something to finish quickly—get it up, get it in, get it off—you’ll need to let go of that old mentality. And naturally, any relationship conflicts can also contribute.

If you’re not having orgasms: OK, lasting longer isn’t quite your concern, but what if you’re just not orgasming, even with prolonged stimulation? Maybe that prolonged stimulation is actually causing you to “numb out.” Likewise, examine the activities you and your partner are engaging in and be honest with yourself about whether they’re still doing the trick for you. And be aware that just as with erections, too much alcohol or other drugs can inhibit orgasm.

Turn on; tune in: Also investigate whether you’re carrying any old messages regarding sex as something evil or dirty. In some cases, baggage like that can come back to haunt and inhibit your orgasms. One of my past clients had no memory of any negative messages until he got married and discovered that he was incapable of thinking of his wife as sexual. Examining this, he shared that he’d grown up in an extremely orthodox environment in which women were portrayed as sinful temptresses, and the boys in his class were warned about the “evils of the flesh.” The connection between his background and his current attitude never occurred to him.

If you lack desire or have low desire: Are you still turned on to your partner, or are you just going through the motions? Maybe you’re bored because sex has become routine. Or maybe you’re feeling like your partner doesn’t want the same things as you. How can you find out? ASK. In some cases, people totally turn off their desire for sex—regardless of whether they’re partnered—because they’re guilty, conflicted, etc. And for some people, sex just isn’t a priority. If this is true for you, be yourself and don’t worry about it. Don’t let anyone try to convince you you’re defective!

As I wrote last week, sexual concerns are often multi-causal; there may be several factors complicating your sexual enjoyment, for instance: anxiety (“What if she thinks I’m too small?!”), performance orientation (“I’ve got to be perfect”), and ignorance (“Women really want it hard and fast”).

Of course, education alone can’t always solve everything. After reading and trying the above, if you’re still having a concern, a clinical sexologist can help you decide on your next steps. If you can’t find one in your area, I’m happy to provide a referral.

The really cool thing is that as you become comfortable with your own unique sexuality, and cease trying to live up to some “ideal,” you’ll develop sexual self esteem. And no one can take it away from you!

Coming Attractions: Sexual communication, differing sexual needs, and other issues that may emerge in sexual relationships.

I would be pleased to answer any questions, and I welcome your comments.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J


  • At 9:43 AM, Blogger Ed said…

    Congratulations on the Janes Guide listing. I'm sure you've seen your stats rocket.

    I'm not sure that lack of orgasms is necessarily a problem for men - not for me anyway. I orgasm probably 50% of the time but I don't find it a problem. When it first started happening it was disconcerting until I realised that it didn't detract from the pleasure of sex. In fact, it's a bonus in many ways because I can go on for longer, and as vigorously as the rest of my body can stand. :) Maybe have sex several times in a day without having to worry about holding back.

    Also, I find that sometimes I can have 'dry orgasms' which I think must be like mini versions of the multiple orgasms that women have.

    I'm not sure why I don't orgasm so much now. I'm 46 and had a vasectomy a few years ago which might have something to do with it. Possibly also spending my entire sexual life trying to delay orgasm as long as possible might be a factor. :)

    Sometimes maybe rather than trying to 'fix' the 'problem' - or worrying about it - it's better to learn to live with it and take advantage of the silver lining.

  • At 12:45 PM, Blogger Dr J said…

    Hi Ed. Thanks for reinforcing how important it is to embrace your own unique sexuality and enjoy it--you epitomize the concept of sexual self-esteem. Dr. J


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