3 Common Reasons Men Struggle With Orgasm Impotence — And What To Do About It

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3 Common Reasons Men Struggle With Orgasm Impotence — And What To Do About It

Not being able to orgasm can be distressing for anyone, regardless of gender. But for men,  it can be especially taxing.

The male orgasm is often portrayed as both easy and explosive — watch any porn film out there and this becomes abundantly clear.

Because of this, the difficulty of reaching orgasm for men is perhaps one of the most stigmatized sexual issues.

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Not only are these difficulties rarely discussed in society at large  but within the sexual research community, they are seldom studied. Perhaps because delayed ejaculation is quite uncommon.

It’s estimated about one to four percent of people who identify as men experience delayed ejaculation . Compared to the 30 percent who ejaculate prematurely, the number is small.

For this four percent, the difficulties arise when having sex with someone. Getting off on their own is usually easier.

Not being able to orgasm is tough and can lead to low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, and relationship issues.

Men I see in my practice as a sex therapist tell me that they feel like less of a man.

So, if you're a man experiencing impotence and sexual dysfunction, know that there are solutions — be it through sex therapy or trying certain techniques and exercises.

First things first, why do some men find it difficult to reach orgasm?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about orgasm difficulties, it’s important to establish what we mean when we talk about difficulty reaching orgasm.

For men and people with penises, orgasms and ejaculation usually occur simultaneously. But, in fact, they are two separate events.

This means you can ejaculate without having the orgasmic experience. This is known as a "dry orgasm" — an orgasm without ejaculation. Most people experience ejaculation and orgasm at the same time.

Experiencing difficulties orgasming every so often is completely normal. Our sexual function fluctuates, which means things like sexual desire, erectile function and orgasm abilities, change.

If your difficulties aren’t a regular occurrence, chances are they’ll resolve themselves swiftly.

But if it’s been going on for a long time or for as long as you can remember, it is most likely what the scientific community refers to as "delayed ejaculation."

Though we don’t know enough about delayed ejaculation, there are some things we do know, which allow for treatments that can be effective.

The key here is accepting that it might take a little while to work through and that the solution lies in first understanding why it’s difficult for you to ejaculate.

It can be tempting to skip the "why" part and jump straight to the "fix-it-please-I’m-losing-my-mind" part.

But, in order to find a fitting solution, you need to know the reason why delayed ejaculation is happening.

Without taking this crucial first step, you run the risk of trying things that don’t work, losing motivation and — in the end — feeling worse off than you did before you tried to do anything about it at all.

With that said, here are the 3 most common reasons men struggle with orgasm impotence and what you can do about it.

1. Your sexual fantasies are more exciting than actual sex.

If there’s a big difference between the partnered sex you’re having and your sexual fantasies during masturbation, it’s likely one of the reasons you’re having difficulty orgasming with a partner.

Perhaps you’re masturbating to fantasies about someone else besides your partner, which is very common. Or you fantasize about people with a specific body type that your partner doesn’t possess.

You might even be fantasizing about people of the opposite sex or sexual activities that you and your partner never or seldomly do together. Or perhaps you’re using porn to masturbate to.

Watching pornography is common and for some people, it’s not only used as an exciting visual aide — it’s also used as a tool for distracting themselves from negative or troubling thoughts, be it on a conscious or subconscious level.

When not watching porn, these negative thought patterns can come creeping back  when you're having sex with your partner,  inhibiting orgasm.

This isn’t to say people who easily reach orgasm always fantasize about their partner or never watch pornography.

In most men, the distinction lies in the difference in levels of arousal during masturbation compared to sex with a partner. And this is, in part, caused by the discrepancy between sexual fantasy and real-life sex.

The level of sexual desire experienced during sex with a partner just can’t compare to the desire during masturbation, be it with pornography or without it.

And the strong effect this arousal has on us offers distractibility from negative thoughts, too.

2. The technique you use during masturbation isn’t used during sex with your partner.

Difficulty orgasming with a partner is usually somewhat a question of technique, regardless of your gender.

Usually, the technique used during masturbation is difficult to emulate during partnered sex. Perhaps, you stimulate yourself vigorously, apply a large amount of pressure, use an intense speed, or stimulate a certain spot extensively.

The specific way you masturbate might make it difficult to reach the same intense stimulation during sex with your partner — that is, if you’re not masturbating yourself during sex.

There’s nothing wrong with having one specific way of pleasuring yourself. It only becomes a problem when your masturbation technique conditions the response.

Your body and brain learn one specific way to have an orgasm, which simply cannot be replicated with a sex partner. At least, not through common practices such as intercourse or oral sex.

It’s not only the technique in and of itself.

If you’re not informing your partner about how you need to be touched during sex to actually reach orgasm,  the lack of communication is also contributing to your difficulties.

3. You have performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety  is  a pesky little phenomenon that is usually one of the main culprits in all sexual problems — and impotence is no exception.

Anxiety about reaching orgasm can easily occur when you meet a new partner, if your spouse reacts negatively to you not being able to come, or if you feel the pressure to perform because it’s expected of you.

We don’t talk about it a lot,  but the way we portray male sexuality can also have a huge negative effect on those who identify as men.

Men are seen as sexually potent, always raring to go, and their orgasms are seen as inevitable and easy to achieve.

It doesn’t take a sex therapist to understand how emotionally difficult this can be.

The male orgasm is often portrayed as the "end" of sex. Its existence is a sign of pleasure taking place, perhaps partly because male orgasm is visual as it mostly coincides with ejaculation.

Not being able to live up to the idea of a man who readily ejaculates  —  not too quickly, but also not too slowly  —  can take a toll on both your libido and your erection. And when you’re not in the mood, it can be near impossible to orgasm.

If you’re unhappy because you find it difficult to orgasm with your partner or even during masturbation, keep in mind it’s perfectly okay not to always have an orgasm.

If you choose to work on it, it should be because you want things to change.

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Here are 4 ways to have better sex if your impotence and sexual dysfunction are making it difficult to orgasm.

1. Take a break from masturbating.

One way of making it easier to orgasm during sex with a partner is through not masturbating for a time. This might not sound like an appealing solution, but hear me out.

When you take a break from pleasuring yourself, you’re lessening the effect of the conditioning of your orgasm abilities.

The less your brain and body make the connection between your masturbation technique and orgasm, the easier it may be to orgasm with a partner.

2. Mix up your technique.

If you’re not interested in pausing masturbation for a while,  try mixing up your technique instead.

You could use a different hand when pleasuring yourself, or try using less speed and pressure. When you do this, you’re likely to find it difficult to reach orgasm in the beginning .

But, don’t fret!

Remove the pressure to orgasm by simply stating that you can masturbate but not reach orgasm. This can do wonders for your performance anxiety — both during masturbation and partnered sex.

And once the performance angst is gone,  you’re more likely to reach orgasm.

3. Increase arousing thoughts during sex.

Most of us need to feel turned on in order to orgasm, especially for those who experience male difficulty reaching orgasm — it’s important to maximize arousal during sex.

An easy way of doing this is to incorporate the fantasies you use during masturbation  into sex with your partner. This can increase sexual arousal and help get you over the tipping point and actually orgasm with a sex partner.

4. Communicate more.

Tell your partner what you want and need during sex — not only in order to orgasm, but also to reach peak arousal and maximize overall pleasure.

If your partner doesn’t know how to pleasure you to orgasm or what you like during sex — the chances of an orgasm happening are slim.

It can be difficult to talk to your partner about sex,  but with a little practice, it actually gets easier  and less intimidating.

Try telling your partner:

  • What sexual practices turn you on (i.e., oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or even BDSM)
  • What technique works the best for you to orgasm (i.e., what pressure is needed, what speed is needed, or if there’s a particular area that’s especially sensitive)

Sometimes words don’t cut it, so don’t be afraid to show them during sex  and help them truly get the hang of it.

Experiencing delayed ejaculation can put a strain on your relationship and take a jab at your self-confidence and self-esteem.

But remember, you’re not less of a man for having difficulty in reaching orgasm — there’s nothing wrong with you.

However, if you want to change this pattern so you can have better sex, try taking a break from masturbation, mixing up your masturbation technique, fantasizing during sex, and communicating about what you need sexually.

It won’t always be like this, and things will be better.

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Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer whose writing on low libido, communication, and intimacy has been featured in YourTango, Babe, The Tab, Glamour, and more. Learn more about Leigh on her website and download free materials about sex and relationships.

This article was originally published at Therapy by Leigh. Reprinted with permission from the author.