Slow man

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Dear Andrea:

My male friend ( I'm a woman) and I have been together on and off for a little over a year. The problem is, it takes him a very long time to ejaculate. He is really turned on but it still takes a long time. Is it me or him?

Love,

Slowpoked

Dear Slow:

An eternal question, but a bad one. Do you really want to know whose "fault" it is, or how to fix it?

Your letter raises more questions than it asks. The big ones: Has this always been an issue for him? Is it true of all activities, or only intercourse? Did he happen to start taking antidepressants around the time this started? Oh, and one more: Who is this a big problem, you, him, or both? It would be great to hear that it's a problem only for you, since then I could say (in the nicest way possible, of course,),"Get over it."

Yes, it's a problem if intercourse drags on way past your turn-on, past any orgasms that might have been achieved or are still achievable, and straight into "getting sore now, that was great, thanks, now get out." But a dysfunction (not that there is one) isn't one unless he says it is. One hopes he is not blithely sawing away while you lie there in increasing discomfort. But if he's happy with the status quo, you're kind of stuck.

So better for you if he's also feeling frustrated. It would be great if we could blame Prozac or one of its relatives, and that he could easily switch to a different but equally effective medication. So make sure he isn't taking anything that could cause delayed gratification, and then, assuming he isn't, we move on.

Next: is he only a slow-poke when penises meet vaginas, or is it a universal thing? If it's only intercourse, then we blame intercourse. It's too something for him: too dry, too wet, too loose, too condom'd, too shameful, not shameful enough ... who knows? Men are fragile creatures. If he easily gets off on hand jobs, blow jobs, or any other sort of jobs, then your job is to figure out what he likes about the other sensations and try to recreate them.

Now let's say that it takes that long no matter what you're doing. What about no matter what he's doing? Like when you're not there? Much as masturbation can be used to unlearn premature ejaculation, it can cause the post-mature kind. Some guys are so good at getting themselves off that, frankly, no partner can compete. People — male, female, and otherwise — can get habituated to a particular, usually very strong and very focused sort of stimulation and find it hard to respond to the more diffuse and occasionally off-target sensations another human is able to provide.

The cure for this, oddly, is also masturbation. But instead of doing it efficiently, like most people do, you take your time and learn to respond to slightly less exactly-the-way-I want-it-when-I want-it stimulation.

None of this is going to happen unless you two talk about it, though.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

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