Premature ejaculation: advice for self-conscious, introverted men

Is there something in your personality that causes your PE?

Shy man with girl waiting behind him

Here’s a theory from the annals of psychology for you.

Men who experience premature ejaculation – who are on the quicker side – might have subconscious feelings of hatred towards women. It’s their way of teasing and denying pleasure to women.

That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? It’s not an explanation of early ejaculation.

Men who ejaculate sooner have also been considered narcissists. Selfish men, solely focused on their own pleasure.

hmm. There are narcissistic men having selfish sex and not thinking of their partners; it’s a thing. But this accounts for a small minority, I would venture.

So if you experience PE, chances are you’re not a narcissist or a secret woman-hater. Especially if you’re taking the effort to read content like this. That’s reassuring, I hope?

But is there something about your personality that causes your PE?

Well, quite possibly.

Let’s start with men who are less likely to have sexual difficulties: extraverts. Outgoing, extraverted men have more sex and enjoy higher sexual satisfaction.

This is a massive, sweeping statement of course. But research suggests there’s something in it.

Also, men with the personality trait of openness. Guys who are open to trying new things enjoy sex more. They’re more open about their desires and fantasies. Maybe their fears and difficulties too.

And men who are more on the conscientious side. They put in the effort to do things well, they pay attention to details. Like that detail of their partner enjoying sex too.

So even guys who are naturally wired to come a bit sooner – because there’s often a biological, genetic aspect to PE – are better able to work with it and find sexual satisfaction if they have these positive traits.

Introverted, overthinking men are more prone to premature ejaculation

We can be too conscientious about sex. Perfectionism and overthinking is a common factor in premature ejaculation and sexual difficulty in general.

I see this all the time with the guys I work with. Trying too hard, over-complicating things. Experiencing self-fulfilling prophecies over and over again.

And the opposite of extraversion – being more introverted, more self-conscious – is a significant factor too.

Multiple studies have linked shyness and social anxiety to premature ejaculation. In a 2006 study, 85 men with PE were assessed for some level of social phobia. And would you believe, 47% of them met the social phobia criteria.

In a control group of guys without PE, it was 9%. Social fear is high in the mix.

Shy, self-conscious men are more prone to performance pressure, low-status feelings and low sexual confidence – even with partners they’ve been with for years. These things runs deep and severely limit our sexual potential.

Self-conscious men are often less experienced too, less likely to meet partners. So they feel even more excitement and pressure around sex.

I know, we’re making big generalisations here. What about the 53% who didn’t test as socially phobic? Sexual function is complicated, but research like this tells us that self-consciousness before and during sex is a common bugbear.

Introvert: check. Overthinker: check. So what can we do about it?

Maybe you enjoy your own space. Perhaps you tend to analyse things a little too much. But you want to open up and enjoy sex with your partner too.

Do you need to change these aspects of yourself? Are you going to need loads of inner work and therapy?

No you don’t. Phew.

Your powers of analysis serve you well in multiple areas of your life. And you can’t turn these powers off, even if you try.

But when it comes to intimate adventures, you can channel your resources a bit more helpfully.

Common advice for self-conscious types, in bed and in life, is to be more in the moment. Less monitoring your appearance and performance and worrying about what other people think. Less selfing, in other words.

Your external AND internal environment

In the gym or in bed with your partner, tune in to your environment – both internal and external. The sights and sounds and of course, the sensations. During sex, the intense sensations and the way they make you feel.

Self-talk and self-monitoring and ‘am I doing this right?’ – we all do it. But it can be consigned to background noise. Breathe and notice.

More ‘what is‘ and less ‘what if‘, as one of my psychotherapy teachers used to say.

Guys often respond, quite understandably, with ‘yeah but if I let myself get too into sex, I get all carried away and I ejaculate.’

Absolutely – we need to have some awareness of how aroused we are, how close we are. And that can be part of tuning into sensation. It has to be really.

It’s the skill of knowing when to change down a gear, in good time so you don’t panic. Balanced with knowing when to focus on sensation and enjoy.

When you know how to consciously cool yourself down, without stopping and starting all the time, without teetering on the edge of orgasm, you feel more confident that you’ve got this. It’s a fine balance, I know – there are sexual skills to learn here.

This might be a very different way of experiencing sex and it takes practice.

Sometimes this advice backfires. It adds to the pressure and the self-talk: ‘Come on, be in the moment, breathe, observe, be present, confident…‘.

That’s stressful, difficult. So some training in advance really helps.

Training to balance your sexual focus

Bring some openness and relaxed curiosity to your solo masturbation.

I think you’ve heard this before. Put the porn down and get into your body. Get used to feeling your sensations while using your sexual imagination.

Fantasise, think about your actual partner, all the things you can enjoy together. And not just ‘I’m with my partner giving them a good pounding and lasting as long as I want‘.

I’m an advocate of positive thinking, but we need a bit more here.

How else can you give pleasure and enjoy your arousal? Remember: openness to experiences, to sensations.

And take in the scenery, even in the most mundane, day-to-day activities. Get your focus of attention directed up and outward a bit more.

When you notice thoughts of ‘do I look ok, am I doing this right, am I ok?‘, see if you can let them rumble away in the background. No need to pay much attention to these doubts. No need to get all involved with them.

This is mindfulness. Noticing the moment, and your place in this moment, without judging. It’s a skill to practise and develop, day to day.

Otherwise, we’re never realistically going to draw on it during sex. So there’s your motivation.

It’s your personality, so embrace the resources you already have

Techniques like this help lower anxiety, manage the churn of our thoughts and open us up to our true potential.

Where we might have been misusing our resources – our imagination, our sensitivity and our innate desire to do things right – we can learn to use them more effectively.

Personality is part of the puzzle. The guys I work with, who struggle with PE, tend to be introspective. They are thinkers and analysers, and they have immense resources too.

You’re reading this and the same applies to you. I hope this brings some helpful ideas and insight.

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