Making it last 

Q: I have a significant problem I hope you can help me with; premature ejaculation, which has already cost me my marriage. I started experiencing coitus at age 28 (I'm 36 now), and I can count on one hand the completed sexual experiences in my life. No sooner does my penis enter the vagina than I ejaculate; I never have the opportunity to enjoy sex. My wife left me after she suggested I must be homosexual (I'm not!) and called me names like Mr. Five Minutes. A physician said it might be because I was still "new to the game" and I would have to learn ejaculatory control, since my body may still be getting accustomed to coitus. But it is difficult when your wife does not cooperate with methods such as the squeeze technique because her attitude is, "you're a man, you're supposed to know certain things." I've tried using benzocaine, which only served to irritate my wife. I even tried Kegel exercises upon the suggestion of a colleague — to no avail. I was provided Zoloft to induce anorgasmia (big joke!), given Viagra (another joke, as I have no problem gaining erections, just maintaining them); used homeopathic and ayurvedic products — to no avail. I even stepped up my exercise regimen. I plan to marry this girl I'm now involved with, but I can't live with the thought of disappointing her. Can you help me? I don't want to continue like this, and I don't want to continue throwing good money after bad.

A: Learning ejaculatory control is no more difficult than learning not to pee in your pants, and you learned that before you were 4 years old. You don't need your wife's cooperation, although it would have been nice to have had a more supportive (and less sharp-tongued!) partner. How long your erection can least has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation. Alas, there are gay men and bisexuals who suffer from too-eager ejaculation. All the things you tried have been of help to some men, even if they did nothing for you. You really need to start from the beginning. You can rent or purchase Sinclair Institute's video "You Can Last Longer" (www.bettersex.com) and you can find yourself a sex therapist to teach you how to deal with this issue (www.sexhelp.org). He or she will give you a series of exercises you can do on your own which will improve your ability to hold your erection as well as educate you in all manner of lovemaking techniques that do not rely on a stiff penis.

Q: My boyfriend is not pleasing me at all, especially orally. I have bought toys to satisfy myself. I don't want to cheat on him. What should I do? I am starting to think about women.

A: I hope that was a non sequitur and not an inference that any woman will know best how to give head to another woman over any man. That’s blatant nonsense. If your boyfriend isn't doing things the way you want them done, let him know exactly what to do. Demonstrate on a fig or half a peach (which should entertain your fellow grocery shoppers in the produce aisle.) Rent an erotic video and offer a running commentary of what looks sexy to you. Praise what he does well. Bring your toys to bed so that the two of you can play. If you're thinking about women, think away. It's common to fantasize about possible partners not already in one's repertoire, but don't blame it on your boyfriend's poor performance. They are two separate issues.

Q: I am a 24-year-old male who can't stop masturbating. I do it at least twice a day. I mostly feel my sexual hormones in the morning and at night. Please tell me if there's a way I could stop this habit. I do have a girlfriend and I'm afraid to ask her for advise. Are there any bad side effects from this habit?

A: Yes, worrying. Twice a day for a healthy young man is not extraordinary. You won't break it or wear it out. I don't know what you imagine your girlfriend could advise you, except maybe accommodate you sexually more often. If that's the case, ask her. If not, either enjoy your solitary play or the way anyone goes about breaking any habit — nail biting, smoking, television watching, and even playing with yourself is to find something else productive to do with your hands at the times you're most likely to indulge. Ever consider taking up macramé? Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she can not answer questions

Speaking of Love & Sex, Ask Isadora

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