Normal ejaculation for men?
October 2, 2007 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Male ejaculation question: My boyfriend takes a long time to ejaculate (40 minutes to an hour and a half, and sometimes not at all). He says its normal for him, and he doesnt mind. But i find it really frustrating having to go that long, and still sometimes have to stop with him unsatisfied. Is this normal?

He is not on any medication, or has any health problems that would affect this. I have tried talking to him about it but he always shrugs it off as not a big deal at all.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

No, this is not normal.
posted by The Gooch at 11:46 AM on October 2, 2007

Is sex / foreplay enjoyable for him from onset of erection through delayed ejaculation, or is he simply going through the motions?
posted by bjork24 at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2007

How long does it take him if he's masturbating? The comparison might be instructive re. his arousal level/types of arousing manipulation.
posted by OmieWise at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2007

How old is he? It's not abnormal in my experience. I'm wondering how many men the above posters have been with.
posted by desjardins at 11:54 AM on October 2, 2007

I don't think this is normal. I take a long time, but I can wrap it up in 15 minutes if I need to. An hour and a half is quite a while.

Does he masturbate a lot? Make him stop.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2007

He needs a blood test to see the level of testosterone in his system. Bonus = shots are available and it is not so bad as one would think.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:05 PM on October 2, 2007

He may be masturbating too much. Ask him to lay off entirely for a week or so, see what that does for you.
posted by hermitosis at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is very odd for a man to be unable to ejaculate for an hour and a half.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2007

Well, I think there's a difference between "Wow, this man really knows how to control himself!" and "Ouch."

And no, I don't think that the second - where he just can't finish in under 40 minutes - is very common.

Do you know for sure that he doesn't take recreational drugs? Some have this effect. Also, er, do you know if he-- there's no polite way to put this! Sometimes when men are used to helping themselves with the Death Grip, actual sex is not going to be as speedy.

I agree that finding out how long it takes when he's by himself is a good plan.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2007

I don't think this is as abnormal as a lot of people think.
posted by ob at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2007

Are you talking about 40 minutes of continual intercourse/stimulation? Or 40 minutes of foreplay, and starting and stopping and starting again sex. If its the latter, then yes, I would say 40 minutes to an hour and half is normal for some men, usually older men. If we are talking 40 minutes of continual direct stimulation, then I'm surprised he can even feel anything after that point.
posted by kimdog at 12:16 PM on October 2, 2007

I think a lot of the advice here is good. One somewhat different aspect of this to consider is that you are not under any obligation to make him ejaculate. Sex should be about having fun, whether or not that involves orgasms. If at any point during this marathon you find yourself becoming uncomfortable or in pain, stop!

To answer your question, I'd say not normal in my experience (hetero male).
posted by number9dream at 12:26 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

There's not enough information to go on poster. Normal is a very elastic term in sexual health, while the majority seem to be 12 minutes or under, there will of course have to be outliers.

But let's call a spade, a spade. Your worry really is: - he can't possibly find me attractive if he takes so long to come.

If you took away that worry where would you be?
I mean what man can maintain an erection for that long if he doesn't find you attractive? (discounting viagra use )

Age may play a role, and I don't know if he would have told you about some of the health issues. (this is what I mean by not enough info) Men still get very emabarrassed by anything to do with sexual health, and some men still fail to tell their SO everything.

Could he be on an SSRI without you knowing about it?, diabetes, does he drink a significant amount, other ill health, circulation problems?
The masturbation issue may play a role, if he has gotten used to a very complex arosual scenario for masturbation then "normal" sex may be so different as to just not do it for him.

However, the pure mechanics of plugging away for an hour and a half are mind boggling to the majority of us, I suspect (looks enviously at desjardins post!). Firstly start using lubricant, for you! Secondly, it is only an issue if you make it one. If you trust him and he says he's happy with this, I would simply ask him to get a general check up with his family doctor to rule out some of the more obvious ill health possibles.

If everything is normal and he is simply an extreme on the spectrum, count yourself lucky and look into ways of making it a plus, rather than something that you're worrying about constantly.
You don't say if it is a plus for you, can you orgasm more? Do you enjoy having more time to savour different sensations? With that amnount of time you can explore lots of different postions and techniques. Vaginal intercourse only would pall with this timeframe, but YMMV.
posted by Wilder at 12:33 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

But i find it really frustrating

How do does he feel about it? Why is it really frustrating to YOU?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:34 PM on October 2, 2007

Is he on antidepressants? Some have been known to make ejaculation difficult.
posted by sharkfu at 12:44 PM on October 2, 2007

There's a lot of psychology involved in male function. No way to really know from here.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:54 PM on October 2, 2007

If he is unable to ejaculate with an hour and a half of stimulation, then yes, that is abnormal regardless of what some people seem to think. There's a big difference between "can go for a long time if trying" and "can't ejaculate no matter how much he wants to".

Antidepressants would cause this. Are you absolutely sure he isn't taking them and maybe is just embarrassed to say so? If he is just shrugging you off that strikes me as a possibility.

Another possibility is he's jerkin' the ol gherkin' too often or much too hard. Not to be too graphic or anything but there are some guys who squeeze themselves so hard that it is difficult for "normal" stimulation to make them come.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 PM on October 2, 2007

The masturbation issue may play a role, if he has gotten used to a very complex arosual scenario for masturbation then "normal" sex may be so different as to just not do it for him.

Excellent point that resonates strongly with my experience. If he's kinky, he may need to be tied up or somesuch in order to reach orgasm. This is a subject you should broach if you intend to stay with this guy. He may be hiding this from you because he thinks you'll be squicked, or he's ashamed of it and that's why he's shrugging it off.
posted by desjardins at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2007

what's "normal" in this realm varies with age, health, length of relationship, and any number of other variables (some of which include the partner in question, of course).

while 90 mins is probably a statistical outlier, i'd say if he's happy (as he seems to be), and you're otherwise satisfied with his technique, try to let it go... we all know that not every woman climaxes every time with every act of penetrative sex -- i don't find it improbable that the same could be equally true of some men... once you've had your fill, so to speak, it's perfectly acceptable to let him finish himself off if he wants or both of you just call it a night. you don't need to feel obliged to ensure he climaxes every single time.
posted by modernnomad at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2007

Tangentally related AskMe.

Bullet point considerations:
  • This may be anxiety-related. Or: Sensory overload. (Blindfold?)
  • Try a new condom. Even if you're not using condoms, try something like Inspiral.
  • Do the legwork (STDs test + alternate reliable contraception) to switch away from condoms.
  • Change masturbation routines. (e.g. Mutual masturbation, masturbate with a condom, use different grips)
  • Schedule out some time, buy lots of lube and don't worry about it.
Also n-thing that this is more common than society lets on. Whatever you do, don't shame the poor guy. (If he reads this Ask Me, he's going to feel shamed. "Is this normal?/No this is not normal.") Just relate how the long sessions are affecting you or approach it in a, "wouldn't it be fun if we had a quickie... Let's figure out how to make that happen sometimes, too!" kinda way.
posted by Skwirl at 1:04 PM on October 2, 2007

while 90 mins is probably a statistical outlier

Given the average time from intercourse to ejaculation is 6-10 minutes, I should say so.

Yes, that seems fast to a lot of people. But it appears to be the case.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on October 2, 2007

Another tangentially related AskMe.
posted by Skwirl at 1:27 PM on October 2, 2007

Make sure you're communicating effectively with him about this.

I know if I were in your shoes, I'd find it frustrating because:

1) Sure, there's that whole, "doesn't he find me attractive enough?" thing.

2) I simply can't/won't go that long every time. 45-90 minute sessions, for me, are reserved for I-only-see-my-man-every-few-weeks situations. I just don't have the time/will/patience to go for anywhere near that long on an every-time basis. (But if you guys only have sex once a month, or some other relatively infrequent frequency, it might not be as big a deal for you.)

So to address #1, since you say that he shrugs it off as normal for him, it sounds like what you're saying is that he doesn't mind how long it takes, and that it has nothing to do with you, and you shouldn't worry about it.

But does he realize that this is just too long for you? Is he OK with going for 20 minutes or however long you want to go, and then stopping?

To answer your question, this isn't OMG abnormal, but it's not what I'd call normal. But this could be normal for HIM. This might have always been normal for him and it may always continue to be. Or maybe he's just taken longer and longer as he's aged. There's no way for us to know without more history on him.

What I think is important is that you communicate everything you're feeling about this, because sex issues ruin relationships.
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:31 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

When I was younger, this was my normal modus operandi as well, and I can say this: it wasn't a matter of me not wanting to ejaculate, or not being able to, or even not being attracted to my partners; for me, it was like going too long without eating.

Let me explain:

Eat a nice normal meal, then stop eating. For several hours. Eventually, you get hungry, then you get hungry. Then, a gut-wrenching moment or two later (right when you think you're going to puke) you're not hungry any more. At all. It's called Ketosis. And sure, you CAN eat, but suddenly there's no strong drive to do so.

I discovered this about my eating habits when I was in college, working on tech crews for television coverage of sporting events. We'd be working hard, and people would start talking about food, then we'd go through this and get back to work. My ability to do this without too much discomfort is likely one of the reasons I'm so thin.

So, back to ejaculation: sex is fun, and as a guy I'm under a lot of pressure to not come too soon. The thing is, I'd be having such a great time and doing such a good job of prolonging it, that suddenly I wouldn't feel an overwhelming urge to ejaculate any more -- it was as if I'd had the orgasm, but my genitals hadn't gotten the message. So onward and forward, as it were, still having a great time, but no longer feeling compelled to have an orgasm (and to be honest, once at that point the level of effort required to have one wasn't worth the effort.)

The nice thing about it was that I got a good reputation for such undertakings, not only for the duration, but because when you're not overwhelmed with the urge to orgasm, you can take your time and really be passionate about the other person and the things you're doing.

Over time I outgrew it, and if I had wanted to even back then (occasionally I did) I could simply let myself have an orgasm in a reasonable amount of time and be done with it. As it happens, though, I found it better to drag it out past the point at which I could, because (a) of the reputation it got me, and (b) sex is about more than orgasms, and I was willing to forgo the orgasm to have a lot more of the rest.

So if he's not worried about it, you shouldn't be, either -- but take him at his word when he says he's okay with it and ready to stop at any time. There's no need to turn it into a contest or something.
posted by davejay at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2007 [4 favorites]

Talk to him about it at some point when you're not having sex, or doing anything of a sexual nature. Let him know that having sex for that length of time makes you uncomfortable (both physically and emotionally). Go from there. It's not his problem, it's not your problem, but it's something that needs to be solved by both of you working it out (using words, not pink parts). Good luck!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:13 PM on October 2, 2007

does he use anti-depressants? Some of them have this effect ie: paxil.
posted by Deep Dish at 2:24 PM on October 2, 2007

There is a medical condition called delayed ejaculation. It is also sometimes referred to with the unfortunate phrases "retarded ejaculation" and "ejaculatory incompetence." (I'm not making this up.)

I usually have this problem when having sex. Several years ago when I complained about it to my doctor, he said, "And this is a problem...?" (Still not making this up...)

In my case, it's influenced by psychological/emotional factors -- it's not as much of a problem when masturbating, for example. I also use an SSRI, which may be a factor. This used to bother me, but I finally came around to my doctor's point of view. I could also mention that I am gay, and at times the "problem" has made me, um, "popular." (Do I have to repeat myself...?)

Anyhow, my point, bottom-line, is that sex is fun. I can have lots of fun even if I don't ejaculate, or if I wait or vary the type of activity while my sex partner rests up for another round. For me, the journey is more important than the destination.

My suggestion is that you two work on your communication. Experiment, try different ways of satisfying each other and making each other happy. to the contrary, it really isn't all about the "O" -- and there are lots of ways to get there in the end.
posted by Robert Angelo at 2:55 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have had sex with at least 5 guys who were like this, which is around 1/5th of my personal representative sample, so I'd say no, it's not unusual, but yes, it can be frustrating.

It's not like lube is the universal answer in these situations - let's say the female partner has already gotten her rocks off and gets super-sensitive afterward, or just plain turned off (sort of like how porn after orgasm is like, super gross and annoying when it was super hot just prior), and the prospect of having sex for another hour can be kind of depressing and frustrating, especially since it means one of you is going to have an unsatisfactory sexual experience.

At least a couple of these guys did have some nontraditional masturbation practices, so that might be a place to start. It could be they're used to a rougher sensation than what traditional intercourse provides, so a weaning to something maybe a little more gentle might help.

It will take some practice, and a lot of communication and honesty, but like most things, practice makes perfect. Sexual performance is malleable, and if you guys talk about it and work towards a common goal, you should be able to work something out.

Start off slow and gentle and see if he's willing to change up how he masturbates, and opt maybe for being in control more often, and use gentle techniques (orally, manually, as well as your traditional ol' in and out)
posted by mckenney at 3:35 PM on October 2, 2007

My boyfriend is the same way, and I don't see it as a level of incompetence or a short-coming. Through dialogue, I realized that women are trained to think that the act of sex always has to involve male orgasm. THIS IS SO NOT THE WAY IT HAS TO BE. Think about it...females don't come every time, so why should the guy have to?

It's been so freeing, to think this way. Sometimes sex gets to be just for me (which is awesome), and it also frees us up to experiment outside of just normal intercourse, which, when you're thinking about relationships in the long-term sense, can become mundane.

I completely understand your frustration, though. At first it feels like maybe you're doing something wrong because he can't finish, but it might be that he looks at sex the same way you do. It feels good, and it's enjoyable, but the orgasm isn't the be all to end all.
posted by messylissa at 4:25 PM on October 2, 2007

This is normal. I used to be like your boyfriend. OK, this is a bit detailed:

Did your guy recently lose his virginity? I had the exact same problem the first few times I had sex; luckily, my girlfriend was patient and didn't mind. I had two problems:
1) getting hard but losing it
2) getting hard but simply not being able to cum
I was definitely aroused by her and wanted to cum very much, but for some reason, simply couldn't the first few times. I think it was just anxiety or some unwillingness to "let go" with another person - it was the first relationship I'd been in with anyone, and for the past few years I'd suffered from pretty bad social anxiety.

With practice(i.e. more sex) both problems went away by themselves relatively quickly, and sex has been pretty great since then. Also, for some reason, back then I had an easier time with both problems when she was on top. I also think not using condoms would be a big help, if it all possible - or at least try the thinner kind; I like Durex Love.

I might also mention that I looked at porn and masturbated a lot before meeting my girlfriend, and had no problems whatsoever with staying hard/coming. I think it was a purely psychological thing, plus getting used to the different feeling of vaginal sex.
posted by pravit at 4:27 PM on October 2, 2007

See if he has any secondary sensual areas you can touch to add to his sensation. I'm pretty much like your boyfriend, except I've got trigger points. Seconding davejay, orgasm isn't too important to me. They're fun and all, and if they happen they happen.
posted by jet_silver at 4:28 PM on October 2, 2007

I can imagine that 40-90 min. is beyond comfortable. Datapoint from a straight guy; no not common at all.

Some thoughts:
- maybe there is something health/pharmaceutical/drug related but he doesn't feel comfortable discussing it
- in my experience using condoms can be so tight that any feeling is lost. (although even then 40 - 90 mins seems very long to me) Durex Avanti worked better for me. I'm not sure whether that's because of their being made of polyurethane instead of latex or general fit. Getting tested and using other contraceptive improves the experience a lot.
- explore the sexual physics: other positions may work differently based on your respective physiques. Have fun. Maybe start with normal intercourse and when you are nearing the end of your comfortable timeframe switch to mutual masturbation if that works better for him.
- maybe there's something psychological/emotional at play. Try to keep the act itself away from a problematic vibe. Generally that's not an aphrodisiac. (Although even then 40-90 min. etc. etc.).
posted by jouke at 5:45 PM on October 2, 2007

Normal in my experience -- 20-30 minutes is a "quickie" for me, 50-60 min is normal, 90 min is some good, long, weekend lovin but not practical most of the time. From my perspective, I'm having a great time, enjoying showing her a good time, and don't want it to end. Dunno if age is a factor for your guy, but I'm mid-30s now and have always been that way.

I've never had any complaints. On the contrary, any girl I've been with made me feel like a total stud for it. I can't imagine it being a "negative".

So maybe he just really likes sex. With you. :wink:

Bring lube!
posted by LordSludge at 9:21 AM on October 3, 2007

I don't think this is as abnormal as a lot of people think.

Seconded. It might just be a case of the yips. "Performance anxiety" is the technical term. Very common. More optimistic folks refer to it as "endurance."
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:02 AM on October 3, 2007

The range of personal male experience evident in this thread indicates that one can't simply say that it's uncommon. But keep in mind that those men for whom this is true will self-select to answer this question. So it's hard to tell. But I think it's a good idea to stay away from absolutes.

My own personal experience is that as a young man, teen to twenties, I could pretty much have an orgasm within a minute of actually starting intercourse unless I tried hard to avoid it. As I got older, this changed. I didn't have to try as hard not to come, and the average length of time increased anyway.

However, I can't really say what has been normal for me from the end of my twenties till now (I'm 42) because most of that time I've been on SSRI's (a very common type of antidepressant which includes Prozac). Once I began higher doses of Prozac, I began having extreme difficult having orgasms at all, no matter the length of time. The only times it hasn't been a problem have been when I've not had sex and/or (especially and) masturbated for a long while, and when I'm also pretty horny anyway. But this caused me a lot of misery until my doc and I adjusted the meds to lessen it. It's still a problem, though.

That said, I've always felt that there was a silver lining in the cloud. I learned to not think of my orgasm as the necessary and natural “purpose” of having sex. I learned to appreciate the whole process more. Which is something most men could stand to learn. And my partners haven't really minded so much, more orgasms for them, really.

I hate to inflame any insecurity you may be feeling, but does happen to be true that many men may experience some difficult having orgasms if they're just not that turned on with the sex that much. Personally, back before I had the problems from the SSRIs, I did notice in my twenties when I was married that having the same sort of sex over several years with the same partner wasn't nearly so exciting as the sex I had had previously, even though my partner was attractive, I was attracted to her, etc. This varies from man to man, and a lot of men don't have this unfortunate tendency. But it does exist. So it can be a factor.

Then there's the masturbation habits people have mentioned. I never noticed this, but my own habits have never been, shall we say, extremely optimized as I understand some men's are.

And a good number of other drugs can cause this problem, as well. I take a narcotic (codeine) regularly for my chronic pain, and it compounds the problem with the antidepressants. I'm not taking an SSRI anymore, partly because the combination would be completely intractable if I did.

Finally, female anorgasmia is quite common, less so than it used to be, but I mention it because I believe that there's a minority of men that I believe have similar problems for similar reasons. The reasons are complex. I think female anorgasmia is partly about women being culturally trained to be alienated from their bodies and their sexuality, along with sexual guilt, and partly the result of female anatomy and a culture which prefers the missionary position and, in the past, little foreplay—the combination which provides most women little real stimulation.

I think that the psychological aspect can come into play for men with anorgasmia, perhaps because of a certain kind of pathological religious upbringing that alienates a man from his sexuality, or possibly as the result of sexual abuse as a child.

On the physiological front, while most men, even most circumcised men, have very sensitive glans's, that's not true for all men, particularly not all circumcised men. My experience with women has been that there's a large variety of clitoral stimulation that “works”, from very light touching to vigorous rubbing. While I think most men have responses that fall within a narrow range of “quite sensitive and responsive”, it's not true for all men. Your BF may just need a certain kind of touch. A different position or some specific foreplay might make all the difference. And, finally, there's the possibility if he's circumcised that it created a lot of scar tissue that both reduces his sensitivity and perhaps creates discomfort that interferes with his sexual enjoyment.

These are all things you might consider. Good luck!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:40 AM on October 11, 2007

« Older Why don't all war memorials say 1918   |   Methatrexate experience? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.