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Hi, Yana!

I’m a 22-year-old woman in a hetero relationship with a guy I’ve been seeing for almost a year. We have a loving and communicative sex life, but are perplexed by a persisting issue! When we are fooling around, he occasionally ejaculates early and/or unexpectedly. He says it still feels like a full orgasm, but sometimes doesn’t even feel that good. We’ve had a hard time identifying when and why it happens. Hopefully you can help provide some insight!

— Prematurely Perturbed

Dear Prematurely,

Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual dysfunction plaguing the penis, affecting around 30 percent of men. You’re right to be curious about why this might be happening as getting down to the root of this issue is key to treating it: is the spark lighting this early lift-off fuse in his head or in his … other head?

Culturally and socially, men’s sexual issues tend to be medicalized — think the popularity of the little blue pill — while women’s tend to be viewed psychologically, socially, and relationally. This is congruent with the sexual story most of us are fed as youth, which centers the male sexual experience quite literally around his erection and orgasm while women are left to achieve orgasm through relational means (via gaining the comfort to give direction, receive pleasure, and initiate conversation about how this here clitoris actually works).

This does a disservice to all and in this case, has set your boyfriend up to feel extra failed when his erection pops then flops, as our standard sexual world can’t possibly orbit around a flaccid axis, right? Wrong!

Erections are just one tool in our sexual arsenal and making sure to not forget fingers, mouths, and toys is a great way to interrupt the cyclical nature of any sexual “dysfunction.” Meaning, if and when the cork does pop early, remember that the pleasure party doesn’t have to stop, which will take the pressure off next time and won’t reinforce the narrative that he and his penis are responsible for all the fun and/or ruining said fun.

There are physical and psychological causes and treatments for premature ejaculation…continue reading…