I don’t have time to fix my PE

Daan wants to up his sexual stamina, but his life is all family and work. How can he find the headspace to even get started?

Daan writes:

Thanks for this good website. It is sensible and doesn’t treat me like a dumb teenager.

So from what I understand, I should stop relying on delay spray.

Instead, I should work on doing kegels (not during sex), deep breathing, muscle relaxation and keeping a calm attitude towards sex. I should try not to tense up my lower body. I should communicate with my wife more about my difficulties and how she feels about it all.

The trouble is this: I’m married with 2 kids, a busy job in IT systems support, a house that constantly needs fixing, senior parents who need my support. I don’t get time to work on this issue. I know that I need to, but I don’t get any personal space. I’m lucky to get 20 minutes to read my book.

Here’s what I do right now to last as long as I can: I aim a couple of squirts of delay spray (Promescent) into a condom, wear the condom for about 15 mins and then I remove the condom and rinse it off my dick (otherwise my wife will be numb too).

This helps a bit, it’s quick and parks the difficult conversation for another day. I will probably gain an additional 2 minutes, especially if I stop a couple of times during sex and try to control myself. We try to have sex once a week, if my wife and I can find the energy.

So to my question: do you have any advice for finding time to work on my premature ejaculation? It needs to fit with all my other family priorities. This might sound like I’m making excuses so I can continue to avoid the work and effort, I just don’t know.

What I know is that I don’t wish my marriage to go on like this. It looks perfect from the outside and in many ways it is, but in private there is a big hole of dissatisfaction.

I don’t think my wife reaches orgasm and we are stuck. I would like to be confident and use different positions but I know it needs work. If I park this too long, I’ll be too old or my marriage will be beyond help.

And now I need to attend my morning meeting. Do you see how it is?

Thanks for sharing Daan, and I totally see how it is. You’ve summed up a situation that men will definitely relate to.

Carving out the time (and the privacy, and the precious headspace) to up our sexual game is a challenge. Facing up to the layers of cringe and internal embarrassment requires steely determination, and that’s just the start.

So let’s cut ourselves some slack here; no wonder we park it and focus on the day-to-day. Much respect to any guy who gets this far.

Now there’s nothing wrong with using a bit of delay spray. But just as you’ve experienced, Daan, it’s a band-aid solution. At least it helps a bit; a lot of guys don’t get any benefit and then they feel even more stuck.

Whether we find a workaround for our PE or not, I think the other thing that typically happens is compartmentalisation. There’s the sex that we fit into our busy schedule (routine, a bit underwhelming but still better than nothing) and the sex we carry in our imagination (hot, sustained, lots of sweaty positions and orgasms to the max).

There’s nothing wrong with having a vision, of course. But the longer this reality vs fantasy split goes on, the more we resign ourselves to it. We aren’t living the turned-on life, apart from when we watch porn (on our phones, in the toilet). I bet this is the experience for our partners too.

So without further ado, here are my tips for finding time to bring those orgasmic imaginings closer to reality:

Shared expectations: bring her on board

Overcoming premature ejaculation requires setting expectations.
Changing the way that you go about sex requires a strategy, some effort and some patience.

Psychologists say that on average, it takes 66 days to develop a new habit. The good news is that there’s plenty of ways we can make this happen, and we can certainly enjoy the process.

We’re talking about developing a life-skill, so why should there be a quick fix? Athletes can be helped by supplements and fancy gear, but there’s no substitute for training. That’s the only way to develop a natural flow-state.

Share your vision with your partner and tell her that you are working on this. Let her in on the plan. She will appreciate it; this is a team-effort after all.

You have more time for this than you think

Relaxation is key, and so is regular rehearsal of it. Driving to a meeting, cooking dinner, fixing the drains. There is always an opportunity to check in with our bodies.

How is my breathing (shallow and small or deep and full)? How is my jaw (clenched tight or calmly relaxed)? How about my shoulders, back, quads and butt? In this moment, can I release tension through my entire body? Can I move around yet stay relaxed?

If you’re trying to get used to relaxing your body during sex, it makes sense to develop the habit outside of the bedroom. Our aim is for relaxation and interoception (noticing the more subtle signals from our bodies) to become habitual.

Learn the art of open focus

To accompany the release of tension in our bodies, we can learn to relax our focus of attention too. Now this might sound a little esoteric, but bear with me – this is a fundamental technique for longer-lasting sex.

Many of us guys approach sex in attentional overdrive. Maybe it was all that teenage anticipation and wanking. Maybe we can’t quite believe our luck when that hot girl lets us in. Perhaps we put sex on a massive, mental pedestal.

Whatever the reason, we are conditioned to get way too excited too quickly. It’s a subconscious alarm; sex gets our nervous system screaming “OMG this is happening”, even after years of marriage.

Then we fixate on trying to play it cool. You know the feeling: the closer we get to ejaculation, the more we obsess over trying to delay it. This has the opposite effect, right?

The fix is not thinking about baseball or prime numbers. It is learning the skill of broadening, opening our mental focus.

Whether it’s sex or running or reading, we can practise being aware of our environment, the sights and sounds, the temperature, our sensory input in balance with the activity we are engaged in. There are constant opportunities to develop this habit outside of the bedroom.

When we are getting it on and approaching ejaculation, opening our focus is vastly more useful than panicking about coming too soon. I’m going to put together more information on this skill and how to learn it; it helps a lot.

Claim your personal space

Daan, you are entitled to a bit more private time. It’s a fundamental human need.

Let your loved ones know that you are taking 30 minutes out. Call it meditation or mindfulness time if that helps sell it. Close the bedroom door. Use headphones and let it be known that you are going offline for a while.

Whether you want to read up on sexual technique, do a relaxation exercise, masturbate with some edging or simply chill out, you are entitled to have this time. Locking yourself in the toilet for a rushed, distracted wank is not going to cut it.

Let your family see that when you emerge, you are refreshed and engaged with them. The benefits go far beyond overcoming PE. You’ll have more capacity to contend with life.

Mix up your sexual repertoire already

So you are on a learning curve, a process of building up your skills and confidence. But you’re still going to have sex with your wife in the meantime. How can you mix up that old routine right now?

Your first instinct might be to dip into your sexual imagination and think hotter, heavier, ramp up the action. This is all good, of course. But it’s possible that what you and your partner need right now is quite the opposite.

When busy couples find a precious opportunity for intimacy, they might be tired and conscious of time but they are also gagging for it. The sex can be a frantic, breathless release of pent-up sexual energy.

‘Maintenance sex’ is often the guy trying his hardest to squeeze the most out of the moment, over-horny and over-stimulated. No wonder it doesn’t last very long.

If your routine looks a bit like this, consider small ways to prolong the passion. Make foreplay a priority again. Tease, play and rediscover. Take time to ride your sexual energy, rather than rushing to release it.

Use your words to facilitate this. Make suggestions, express your desires and invite your wife to do the same. Start small if you like. Get used to sex being a fun, extended activity and not the ultimate display of your masculine worth.

Another tip for busy couples on date night, courtesy of sex-podcaster Dan Savage: fuck first. Instead of filling up on wine, pasta and profiteroles and then attempting to stoke the fires of passion, do it the other way around. In the sexual afterglow, that lasagne will taste even better.

So I hope these are some helpful pointers.

As mentioned above, I’m in the process of putting together a training plan based on my tried-and-tested work with clients. I’m aiming this to be as accessible and doable as possible. Feel free to subscribe for updates.

Ultimately, overcoming PE is about replacing an old, conditioned approach to sex with a new set of skills and self-belief. When this is incorporated into our everyday, the reconditioning can really happen.

I hope this encourages you to unpark your aspirations, Daan. You can start work on this today.


If you’d like to ask Jason a question or share your experience, feel free to get in touch.

Disclaimer: this site is run and moderated by Jason Dean, a qualified psychotherapist. But he is not your psychotherapist. All content and comment is an expression of opinion, not a medical diagnosis or consultation.

All content is for information purposes only, and is absolutely no substitute for medical advice from your own GP or NHS Choices. Please see the full terms of use.

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