I have had this problem for 12 years and nothing I have tried – from medication to yoga and therapy – has helped. It is ruining my relationships with women

I am 27 years old and have been battling premature ejaculation since I first had sex at 15. It was one of the main causes of my seven-year relationship breaking up, and has left me feeling insecure about my relationships with women. I have tried everything from medication (paroxetine) to yoga (vinyasa yoga to control breathing, as well as tantric yoga) to seeing sex therapists and changing my diet. Nothing seems to work. Sex is a huge part of a relationship and is one of the main ways to express your love, but I have faced nothing but frustration in this aspect of my relationship with women.

It is usually possible to learn to delay ejaculation by identifying one’s point of “ejaculatory inevitability”, then practising the art of taking a controlled pause before it overtakes. It is best to first try this “stop-start” technique during masturbation. Once a man is able to halt his race to ejaculation during self-pleasuring, he can try to achieve it during manual or oral stimulation by a partner, or during intercourse – ideally beginning with what is, for him, the least exciting.

This latter part of the protocol is best tried with an understanding and willing partner. And on this note, it is worth remembering that not all women enjoy prolonged intercourse; in fact, some much prefer to have a short period of thrusting – especially those who mainly reach orgasm through manual or oral stimulation. In fact, if you learn to pleasure partners to orgasm without engaging your penis – before or after you have ejaculated – they will be highly satisfied and are unlikely to complain about shorter intercourse.

You seem to have erroneously come to simply labeled yourself as an “early ejaculator”’ when you are a man with a wide range of attributes that must make you desirable to a partner and worthy of love. Try, therefore, to gain a broader perspective regarding all your positive qualities, and appreciate what you can contribute to a relationship.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela Stephenson Connolly on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms


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