Darren’s story: Is relaxed movement the holy grail of managing PE?
I really appreciate all of the information available on your page. It’s been an excellent source of information for me, as well as place of comfort, where I can relate to what other men have experienced and feel a sense of normalcy.
I have struggled off and on with PE since I was a teenager. I’m now 33 with a wife and family. I know stress has a lot to do with PE, and surely there’s enough of that to go around these days.
I don’t always have issues with it though, there are times where I can last longer than my wife for whatever reason, but the majority of the time I find myself finished well before I would like to. I have definitely experienced the feelings of guilt and inadequacy as a partner, which I know gets me into a negative feedback loop of stress and anxiety.
I have been practicing mindfulness, meditate daily, eat well and am extremely active. I have been practicing being more methodical when masturbating, trying to feel the ebb and flow of arousal like you mention in your blog and that has actually worked, as far as lengthening masturbation time goes.
I envision myself going through the whole act of sex, foreplay included. However it hasn’t yet translated into the bedroom yet. I seem to have trouble controlling the rush of excitement I feel when I see my wife naked!
Even when I try to slow down my breathing and relax, I feel like my sensation is heightened to the point I can feel my PC muscle tensing up at times. I feel like that happens more when it’s been a while since intercourse and I’m less sensitive when the frequency is a little higher.
You mention movement a lot in your blog, being the holy grail of managing PE, but I was wondering if you can explain how to effectively move without becoming overstimulated? Like how should we be moving?
Don’t get me wrong I love making love to my wife and this issue has never deterred me from that, sometimes I just wish I could find that locus of control or figure out what it is that allows me to last for longer periods of time (15-20 mins) vs the typical 2-3 minute sessions.
Many thanks Jason, and I understand if you don’t get to all of these emails. Just writing this about helps.
Thanks Darren for getting in touch, and I’m pleased that you’ve found this blog helpful.
That rush of excitement when you see your naked wife says good things about your relationship. Long may you experience it!
But I take your point. We want to work with our excitement and keep it in check. You’ve become better at doing this solo, but your senses are flooded with stimulation when your wife participates.
This makes it difficult to maintain that delicate balance of relaxed arousal. Those oh-so familiar worries creep back in and before you know it, you’re fighting with your ejaculation reflex. Sounds about right?
Recruiting your imagination during masturbation is rehearsal for reality, so you’re doing sterling work. But I agree that it takes time and persistence for our physiology to get the message. So let’s consider what else might help.
Frequency is a factor, so spend quality time with yourself as often as your schedule and energy levels permit. We lead busy lives and masturbation releases tension between sex sessions with our partners.
I strongly advocate making time for relaxed, slower masturbation without the distraction of our phones. There’s more to ‘resetting the clock’ than cranking out an orgasm. Experiencing the arc of sensation, the ebb and flow of arousal – all of this helps train our autonomic nervous system to get more accustomed to sex as an activity over time.
You make a good point about sexual movement, and this is something I discuss in detail with clients. There’s a common assumption that sex should just come naturally, so my body should just know how to move during sex. This isn’t so for the majority of guys.
Some of us don’t move enough. Some of us lurch and lunge like sacks of potatoes. Some get all frenetic and breathless trying to emulate porn.
Let’s just say that a bit of self-training in coordination and flow can go a long way.
Exercises for overcoming premature ejaculation
Sexual confidence is a skill we can all learn. In coaching, I break this down into three components: relaxation, awareness and movement. You’ve been working on the first two, Darren, so let’s see what else you can practise on the movement front.
Kegel exercises are popular but somewhat misunderstood when it comes to PE. Involuntary ejaculation is not caused by a weak PC muscle, and training the muscle does not enable guys to power through for longer.
By all means do kegels (your bladder will thank you in later life). Familiarise yourself with how it feels to fully relax your PC muscle. The key benefit is learning how to maintain that relaxed feeling during lower-body movement.
For example, you could do a few kegels while walking and keep your PC muscle relaxed as you continue to move. Or while gyrating your hips to simulate sexual movement (more on this below).
This way, you’ll be better prepared to calm the tensions you feel in the PC muscle when your arousal ramps up. It’s perfectly doable to move and thrust whilst staying relaxed down there.
This is effective before you reach the point of ejaculatory inevitability, when you notice those initial tingles.
With all of these PE exercises, it’s worth remembering what’s going on at the physiological level.
The parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (our resting, relaxed state) takes care of getting an erection in the first place. Then as we become more stimulated and excited, the sympathetic branch (activated state) takes over and drives us to ejaculation.
For guys who experience PE, this process feels rapid and more involuntary than they’d like.
If we stop moving, the whole process pauses and resets a bit. But as every guy here knows, constantly stopping and starting can be tedious and frustrating (especially for our partners).
Again, we want to keep moving while staying sufficiently relaxed, and this balance is the holy grail of overcoming PE. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Deeper, slower breathing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Next time you feel your PC muscle tensing up, check your breathing. Is it rapid and shallow? Maybe you are hardly breathing in that moment? That’s the sympathetic nervous system doing its thing.
So remember to breathe: deeply, abdominally and with a longer out-breath. Do this before sex and during. Exaggerate it a little if need be. A deep moan of ecstasy is a slow release of breath and your partner might even enjoy hearing you in the raptures of passion.
How does this relate to movement? Well, one approach is to synchronise your movement (whether your hand or your hip thrusts) with your breath. That way, you’ll be keeping both your thrusts and your breaths in a sensual low gear.
So as an exercise to accompany masturbation, get used to breathing in sync with the movement of your hand. You can play with different tempos, mix it up and notice how that feels and how it helps to delay the onset of ejaculation.
Sometimes less is more, and this certainly applies to sexual movement.
Upon initial penetration, guys tend to start banging away for their country. I get it. This feels hot and if we’re over a certain age, the intense stimulation allays our fears of going soft.
But it’s also a surefire way to ramp up excitement levels and engage the sympathetic state sooner.
So a slow start is way to go. Take your time and allow your penis to get acclimatised to the intense sensations of being inside your partner. Combine this with some sensual teasing and stroking and it’s all good.
But this doesn’t necessarily feel natural, does it? We don’t see this in porn, do we? That’s why rehearsing this slower start during masturbation is essential. Maybe you’ll use your hand with some lube or get creative with a fleshlight.
Ease in, with slow and incremental movement. Feel that balance of tension and relaxation through your entire body, remember to breathe. This takes a bit of patience and getting used to, but many guys find it a useful exercise for transferring skills into partnered sex.
Minimising muscular tension
As we approach orgasm and ejaculation, the sympathetic nervous system engages like an automatic pilot.
Bodily functions that we have no direct control over go into overdrive. The complex interplay of neurology and chemistry is amazing and mind-boggling, all occurring beneath our conscious awareness.
For the purposes of this conversation, suffice to say that we experience a rise in blood pressure and contractions of the prostate and PC muscle. That’s the tensing up that you feel down there.
So when we thrust too quickly, we risk over-stimulation and an early finish. But did you know that the way we thrust our hips can be an accelerator too?
Many guys position themselves or move in a way that engages a lot of lower-body musculature. Take good old missionary position, for example. Thrusting this way can place the quads, glutes and back muscles under tension. And here’s the thing: sustained muscle tension engages the parasympathetic nervous system sooner.
I’m summarising here. All of this is covered in great detail by sexologist François de Carufel, PhD in his book Premature Ejaculation Theory, Evaluation and Therapeutic Treatment. Carufel’s approach to PE treatment is focused on moving in ways that reduce muscular tension, with many detailed examples and exercises.
Here’s a simple exercise that demonstrates the concept:
Position yourself on your hands and knees, preferably near a mirror. Shift so that your arms and your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
1) Now round out your back, like a cat stretching (or deadlifting with spectacularly bad form):
2) Now arch your back and push out your butt:
Repeat this a few times. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll notice that you are rotating your hips in a thrusting movement that doesn’t generate tension in your back or thighs.
You can incorporate the relaxed breathing with this movement. When you round your back, exhale (imagine blowing out a candle). When you arch your back, inhale. Try this a few times, keeping your breathing in sync.
Again, notice how this feels in your whole lower body and back. Try relaxing your PC muscle too and you should notice it feels easier. This isn’t a practical sex position, but an exercise in freely thrusting your pelvis while maintaining relaxation.
Contrast this movement with the way that you’ve been doing missionary (or any other position) and see if you spot any difference in muscle tension. If so, your homework this week is getting used to this adjustment.
Many of us are trying to figure out why sometimes we last longer and sometimes we really don’t. The more I work with clients, the more I appreciate the variety of factors: latent stress levels, mood, tiredness, self-talk, expectations, sexual frequency, time of day, partner interaction (it’s not all on us guys, after all). The list goes on.
Relaxation, awareness and yes, movement are the key elements that we have sufficient control over. When they learn how to cover these bases, the vast majority of guys experience very positive results.
Thanks again for sharing, Darren. Keep up the mindfulness and relaxation; the benefits are manifest. I hope these tips prove useful and remember to breathe!