Wednesday, April 24, 2024

TALKING SEX: When fast is too fast

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Was it good for you? This is a phrase that many men dread asking after a sexual encounter. However, in my view a man gets top marks for caring about whether his wife or sexual partner enjoyed the encounter – so it’s important to ask.

The only challenge is that many women do not give an honest answer. We say “yes honey it was really good” even though in our brain we are screaming “No . . . seriously. Is it really over?” God bless the woman who can answer honestly and still spare feelings.

Why is the Barbados Family Planning Association so interested in this footnote of a sexual encounter. In a nutshell, because sexual health matters to us and the honest answer to this question by a man or his partner can make a world of difference if a couple is affected by premature ejaculation.

First of all let’s get some context. According to the Mayo Clinic the average sexual encounter is five minutes. This tickled me as an avid reader of romance novels where an encounter can be an entire chapter.

Premature ejaculation occurs in men where they ejaculate faster than they intended to. Men reading this will be asking themselves – what man hasn’t had an exciting and stimulating encounter and then out of pure exuberance reached the finish line before the gun went off?

How exactly as a man do you know if you have a problem?

It’s a problem when every time you start to have sex you have an ejaculation within one minute of penetration. It’s a problem when you are unable to delay ejaculation nearly every time you have intercourse. It’s a problem if you are embarrassed about your sexual prowess and your sexual encounters are becoming frustrating leading you to want to avoid them or to try under the counter remedies to maintain an erection. It’s a problem for you and it’s also a problem for your partner (whether they say so or not).

It’s also not a problem that you should play with thinking that it may go away. What we now know is that premature ejaculation is a common problem and extremely treatable. However it’s important to understand the illness. In talking to men about this I realise that many think that it’s a psychological problem.

A “concentration thing,” one told me. Concentrate on not losing it. Indeed for a long time it was thought that it was a psychological problem and men were taught mental techniques on how to delay the feeling. Indeed psychological factors can play a role but issues are often deep-seated such as guilt about having sex or early experiences of having to hide and rush to have sex.

Other issues that play on the mind and can result in “super fast outcomes” include fear of losing the erection due to erectile dysfunction, so you rush to get the pleasure. In other words there may be reasons why a man may be rushing to the finish line.

We also know that biological factors can play a part as everything from abnormal hormonal levels, abnormal brain chemicals and abnormal reflex activity can cause premature ejaculations. Illnesses such as thyroid or prostate problems can impact this area. Medications for common illnesses such as heart disease or hypertension can also interfere with erections and cause a rush to complete the sexual encounter for fear of failure. Whatever the cause, whether psychological or biological there are treatments to avoid the likely complications of premature ejaculation. These complications include relationship stress or problems with fertility if you are trying to make a baby.

The range of treatments are wide and varied. So it is important to prepare for your encounter with the doctor to get the best recommendations.

The Barbados Family Planning Association runs a men’s clinic on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with doctors, counsellors and a panel of therapists whose mission it is to support men with their health needs.

Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland is the executive director at the BFPA. The health clinic can be reached at 426-2027 or bfpa@caribsurf.com.

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