If you’ve tried to tackle your PE but without success, keep the faith. This story is part of the mistakes men make series, identifying the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Carl’s story: good intentions
Carl was on a mission to build up his stamina. As a 27 year old runner and gym-goer, he had no problems in the fitness department but always wished he could last longer in bed. He’d been using the edging method for several months after reading about how it can help with premature ejaculation.
Here’s how it worked: when Carl masturbated, he tried to take his time and relax as much as possible. When he felt like he was approaching orgasm, he would pause the action for 30 seconds to cool things down. With an eye on the clock, he would repeat this as many times as necessary to reach his target time. His dream duration was 30 minutes, but there was a long way to go.
Such a training routine can feel a bit strict and regimented, and Carl’s penis didn’t always want to cooperate. So he would watch porn on his phone to get himself horny. This had the desired effect, but as the edging sessions went on he would find himself increasingly distracted by the abundance of porn on his favourite tube site.
Carl would spend time clicking through thumbnails to find ‘the scene’, or forwarding through videos to get to the best bits. He would stumble across more outlandish stuff that he couldn’t resist checking out. He easily got sidetracked him from the task in hand.
On a good day, Carl could edge for quite a while. But it felt more like a porn session than the personal development routine he was aiming for. He couldn’t help feeling distracted, numb and a bit disconnected
If his girlfriend was in the house, he would also find it impossible to relax. He couldn’t really say why, but this ritual felt like something he had to keep secret. His girlfriend always said she was cool with porn, but he felt embarrassed nonetheless. This added to the distraction.
When Carl had sex with his girlfriend, it was difficult to tell whether the edging was helping or not. Maybe he was lasting a bit longer, but sex didn’t feel noticeably more satisfying for either of them.
According to Carl, “I knew that edging could help with lasting longer… every PE book and website I’ve seen talks about edging in some way or another. But I felt that any gains were being cancelled out by the pressure of the routine, all the porn and stressing about staying hard enough to do it.”
What’s going on?
Fact: edging can be helpful in overcoming PE. It helps us build awareness of how our sexual excitement feels both physiologically and mentally. It joins up these elements, so we can pause stroking when we detect our point of no return and sense when we’re sufficiently cooled down to go again.
In effect, we’re training our bodies to enjoy the journey to orgasm and get used to delayed gratification. And there are physiological benefits to masturbation too. It relieves stress and helps reset the clock in between having sex with our partners.
Edging, or mindful masturbation as it is sometimes known, is indeed recommended by sex therapists. It’s an exercise in self-management, deep breathing, muscle relaxation and a positive, calm mind. On all of these counts, we can see how Carl’s edging routine didn’t quite fit the model. And that’s the case for so many edgers out there.
For starters, guys tend to fixate on staying hard. It’s not so easy to get turned on by our own hand, especially when we’re not 15yrs old any more. We need stimulation, and porn comes to the rescue. That endless supply of sweating, heaving, high-definition visual motion. Penis in one hand, phone in the other. It’s a trancelike state we’re all familiar with.
This becomes a porn session, and any awareness goes out of the window. We’re not in touch with our internal arousal and experience. Hence the strange combination of tension and numbness that Carl experienced.
When this becomes habitual, we are training ourselves to hold on whilst engrossed in porn and scanning thumbnails. We condition ourselves to be even more dependent on the visual stimulation of porn for maintaining an erection. This isn’t going to go well for real sex with our partners.
Carl also experienced flashbacks to early masturbation shame. It’s impossible to relax and breathe when a part of us is reliving the anxieties of getting caught wanking to porn. Many men carry that old instinct to get off as quickly as possible before mum comes up the stairs. Again, replaying this isn’t going to help in our adult sexual relationships.
What works better?
Edging feels great, I know. But if you want it to also help with your PE, make it a pleasurable, stress-free experience that isn’t sponsored by PornTube. I recommend tapering off the porn, maybe viewing some to get hard and then putting the phone down and letting your imagination take over. Or limiting your viewing to softer stuff, like naked models or glamour shots.
Either way, we need to refocus on our bodily sensations. Get creative, use some oils, lube or invest in a tenga egg or fleshlight. And if you do go soft at any point, don’t stress. Relax and take the opportunity to try a different stroke or movement. Have the confidence to know that you can get hard again, and it’s not a catastrophe if it doesn’t happen this time. You can always pick up where you left off later.
By dialling down the porn, we can enjoy much deeper sensation: slower breathing, noticing muscle tensions around our pelvis, the tingling waves of intense arousal, movement variations and calm, confident sexual experience. I’ll be writing more about these techniques, including more advanced skills for moving arousal around the body and staying in the zone of confidence and control. All of this can be practised during masturbation, laying the foundations for richer sexual experience.
When we’re not zoning out to an endless torrent of porn, we’re also not making unhelpful comparisons between ourselves and the performers on the screen. Or worrying about getting caught. Or failing to notice that we’re using the death grip to maintain some form of reluctant hard-on.
Ultimately, we’re not disconnecting from our own sexual potential.
Takeaway tip: I recommend that guys make masturbation and edging a shared activity with their partners. Teasing and being teased is hot. Communicate with your partner, keep it fun and get over any embarrassment about self-pleasure in front of her. Sharing in this way will work wonders for your relaxation and body confidence, both key elements for lasting longer at intercourse.
Takeaway tip 2: When you masturbate alone, stop with the frantic 2-minute quickies. Aim to last for a minimum of 10 minutes, even if this requires multiple pauses. This is another simple way to condition your physiology and get used to the idea that sex lasts longer.
With a little more focus, edging and start-stop masturbation can be beneficial for guys who struggle with PE. Something else that I should mention at this point: don’t become too fixated on the clock. This applies to masturbation and sexual encounters in general.
Sure, lasting longer gives us more time to connect with our partner and give everyone an awesome time. But it’s not the holy grail. Guys who can last for hours are not necessarily fantastic sexual partners – any woman will confirm this. Our main focus should be enjoying ourselves, pleasing our partners and living to our full sexual potential. Dealing with any timing issues is just one of a multitude of skills we can develop on this journey.
Carl continued to edge his way to mastery. When he took his phone out of the equation, he immediately became more aware of his bodily sensations. With a bit of practice, he learned how to breathe out tensions that he’d never noticed before, and ride the waves of sexual stimulation.
Fully relaxed and connected, Carl lasted longer and had better orgasms too. The sacrifice of all that porn was worth it.