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Premature ejaculation conditioning and how to reset it

If you last longer during foreplay and masturbation, why does intercourse trigger ejaculation? Understand your PE conditioning and how to overcome it.

Kris writes:

I have always masturbated quickly (often very quickly, say 1 minute), and i think that’s why i have had PE since my first time. I am now 23, and have begun to masturbate more slowly and enjoyably, where i can last 20-30 minutes with a fleshlight without porn. This has also given me more intense orgasms. Since then i have not had sex due to performance anxiety.

But how can it be that i always cum very quickly with penetration but not oral sex. It also happens when watching porn, so it must be something mental. With penetration though, the last time i did not cum quickly, because we waited 5-10 seconds after penetration before movements. Then it took 2 minutes before ejaculation.

Can it therefore be some sort of automatic response i have built up, and how can i overcome this?

Thanks for sharing your experience Kris, and for asking such a good question.

First things first – you’re doing everything right. Your masturbation style may have been maintaining your premature ejaculation conditioning. By deliberately slowing down, you’ve proved that your body can stay in the arousal zone for longer. And you’re enjoying the extended build-up of pleasure too.

Rushed masturbation (especially in our teens) is often considered to be the cause of PE. I’m not sure this is the case. Time to ejaculation is influenced by a whole bunch of factors.

Genetics, serotonin levels, anxiety, attitude and sexual skills all play their part. Some men naturally last longer than others. But for men that don’t, they are missing a trick by routinely jerking off quickly. They aren’t giving themselves the opportunity to decondition their ejaculation response. They aren’t getting used to soaking up physical stimulation and surfing waves of pleasure.

So Kris, good work there. And now you want to carry this success over to sex with a partner, of course.

To answer your next point, yes many guys find that they last longer when receiving oral sex. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Here we are, watching ourselves receive an intensely hot experience. Why doesn’t this tip us over the edge quite as rapidly as intercourse?

Positioning is a factor here; receiving oral doesn’t require the weight support and pelvic movement of intercourse. We’re sitting back and receiving, and our muscles (particularly around the pelvic area) are significantly more relaxed.

Remember that pelvic thrusting naturally primes the pump for ejaculation; hence why most male mammals move in this way. Random fact: for white-tailed deer, a single pelvic thrust does the job. Guys, things really could be worse.

I know, I know. What about when we’re lying on our backs, receiving intercourse and she’s doing all the work? Even if their pelvic muscles are relaxed, many guys find that they still come quickly in this scenario.

Well, this brings us to your observation that penetration is triggering an automatic response. I think you are onto something here.

Yes, for many guys the rush to ejaculation after penetration is habitual. As I mentioned, the reasons for this habit are manifest. But once it has been experienced a few times, lifelong premature ejaculation tends to set in. It becomes expected and feared, ramping up our tensions even more.

Consider how you feel in your body when you envisage yourself penetrating your partner (or even watching others in action on a screen). Can you sense the heat, the intensity, the butterflies just by imagining? Consider the pressure, the self-talk, the thoughts and worries that typically flood in.

And that’s just the layer that we’re conscious of. Below this, a frenzy of neurological activity is kicking off. Performance anxiety, fear, pattern-matching to past experiences, self-judgement, fight or flight. All accompanied by intense physical sensation and the rush of brain chemicals that ensues.

Is it any wonder that willing ourselves to slow down doesn’t work in the moment? Automatic pilot is already activated. This is premature ejaculation conditioning doing its thing.

So how can we learn to take back control? Fortunately, we have plenty of options.

Here’s another thing that you are doing right: pausing on entry. This is known as sexual acclimatisation, and it’s an effective technique. Pausing buys you valuable time to adjust to the sensations, the feeling of PIV. You are doing this well before the point of no return, which is essential of course.

I’d suggest you wait for a bit longer, maybe 20-30 seconds. Yes it can feel like a long time suspended there, so get creative and get your partner on board. Tease, talk, kiss, look into each others eyes and breathe in sync. Do the small things that maintain the vibe but don’t overstimulate. Then begin to move slowly at first, really take your time.

This is a novel experience for many guys, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a good look too; banging away from the off can signal desperation and immaturity. Leave that to PornHub.

What else can you do? Understanding the true nature of ejaculation ‘control’ can make a big difference.

I also recommend working on relaxation and incorporating some mental rehearsal into your masturbation routine. When you’re in the groove, try to envisage yourself progressing through the stages of sexual interaction with a partner (current or future).

Take your time and picture touching, foreplay, pausing on penetration, initial movements, using different positions, angles and speeds.

This will feel unfamiliar at first, but it can be enjoyable to incorporate this into masturbation. It’s vastly more sensual than death-gripping ourselves to orgasm while trying to find the right video thumbnail.

With all of these techniques, we are looking to counter-condition the old reflex. Sexual arousal will always put you into a ‘special mode’, an automated neurological response. This is a good thing; you wouldn’t get hard without it.

Our aim is to change our association with this response, from event expectation (penetration and ejaculation) to activity expectation (penetration being part of an activity that happens for a duration of time).

In my therapeutic approach, I distil this down to three elements: relaxation, awareness (of our arousal and of our partner) and optimal movement. When we tackle all three, we change the conditioning of premature ejaculation. Lifelong PE is no longer lifelong.

I’ll be posting some more on this combined approach, with my aim to make it as self-help as possible.

But to reiterate, Kris:

  • Keep up the slower masturbation and try to add some mental rehearsal, as vividly as you like.
  • Continue to pause right after penetration – this is a sexual skill to cultivate.
  • Keep working on relaxation, breathing and lowering performance anxiety held in the body.
  • Enjoy having sex regardless of timings, with plenty of foreplay and connection. It’s not all about lasting, after all.

I wish you every success moving forwards.

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