Every Man Faces It
We live in a culture that exaggerates the idea that sex should be spontaneous, perfect, and great every time. In addition, men are socialized to be sex machines: know everything there is to know about sex, be free from any sexual anxieties, and have no concerns about sexual problems! Talk about pressure! The reality is that 100% of men will have some sort of sexual dysfunction sometime in their life. A season of sexual dysfunction is completely normal and solutions to problems are within reach. This article will address common male sexual dysfunctions and strategies to deal with them.
Where do Problems Come From?
Sexual problems can have several causes, such as stress, a physical health issue, side effects from medication, and a relationship problem. Sexuality is complex and your issues may involve multiple factors.
With time, attention, openness, and tender care, you and your spouse can work together as an intimate team to address the sexual health concerns. Working together in this way can be profoundly uniting too!
Fitness & Sexual Function
Men’s sexual health is anchored in a fit, healthy body and emotional health. Our mind, body, spirit, and sexuality are interconnected. In short, what’s good for your body, spirit and mind is good for your sexual function too!
Regular and healthy sleep patterns (such going to bed and waking up at regular times) contribute to being psychologically rested, which in turn promotes sexual desire and function. Establish a rhythm of relaxing before going to bed and aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep each night.
The second most important physical factor for sexual health is exercise. You don’t need to be a pro athlete here. Your sexual system is essentially a vascular system (connected to your heart), so anything you do to strengthen your body and heart improves your sexual function.
Eating Habits & Healthy Weight Range
Having a healthy sexual body is tied to eating and weight management. First of all, a healthy weight range helps you have a positive body self-image. Second, a lot of sexual response is connected to touch and a healthy weight range will help your body respond to touch better. Third, being overweight can lead to medical problems that affect your vascular system (your heart) or require medications that interfere with sexual response.
Alcohol & Drugs
Many men have learned to be sexual while drunk. However, from a physiological perspective, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that reduces sexual response. In the long run, alcohol abuse causes erectile dysfunction and inhibits sexual desire. Some men have learned to use alcohol as a crutch to manage their anxiety around sex rather than deal with the cause of their anxiety head-on.
The evidence for effects from drugs on sexual function is less clear, but there is evidence that marijuana and cocaine appears to inhibit sexual desire with chronic use. Smoking is particularly harmful for your heart, respiratory system, and your delicate blood vessels in your penis. There are no positive physical, psychological, or sexual benefits of smoking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner would like. Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint. Estimates vary, but as many as 1 out of 3 men say they experience this problem at some time.”
There can be multiple reasons why men experience premature ejaculation, such as:
- Anxiety about sex, such as your performance
- Relationship problems
- Past sexual abuse
- Guilty feelings that increase your tendency to rush through sex
- Worrying about premature ejaculation
- Stress in other areas of your life, inhibiting you from relaxing and focusing on the encounter
There can be biological factors involved as well, such as abnormal hormone levels or an infection or inflammation of the prostate.
Treating Premature Ejaculation
There are many things you can do to work through premature ejaculation issues. It’s best if you and your wife can work together as an intimate team to come up with the best plan together. Some things you might want to try include:
- Address relationship problems, sources of stress, or anxiety around sexual performance.
- Slow things down during sex. Learn to savor the pleasurable sensations of intercourse.
- Use the Pause-Squeeze method. Start sexual intercourse as normal, but before you feel ejaculation come on, you or your wife squeezes the tip of the underside of the penis where the glans (head) and shaft come together. This will reduce the urge to ejaculate. Practice this enough times and you’ll train your body to control ejaculation without squeezing.
- Be mindful & aware of your arousal levels. Get accustomed to what it feels like when you reach the point of inevitability (the point where ejaculation is going to happen).
- Have sex with the wife on top position (Cowgirl). This position has less direct penis stimulation and helps you to last longer.
- Strengthen your PC muscles. Strong PC muscles help you develop ejaculatory control, or in other words, help you control your body’s response to stimulation that leads to ejaculation. Practice Kegel exercises every day. (Check out the Intimately Us app to learn more about Kegal exercises)
- Focusing on other forms of sexual play for a while to take the pressure off performance or anxiety
- Another option is to masturbate (in a healthy way) a few hours before when you expect you’ll have intercourse. This delays your body’s ejaculatory response later.
- Use a condom, which reduces sensitivity.
- There are also products such as “delay spray” that desensitizes your penis to sexual activity. Although these products may help in the short term, learning how to manage your sexual arousal is best in the long term.
- Talk to your medical doctor about short-term SSRI medications which can help with premature ejaculation.
Erectile Dysfunction is when you have trouble getting and maintaining an erection. It’s normal for your erection to wax and wane a little while making love, or to have a harder time keeping an erection as you age and your body’s systems become less efficient. It’s also normal to not be able to get an erection when you want from to time to time. If it’s an ongoing issue for you and your marriage, however, you might want to get some help.
The process for you to become aroused and your penis to become erect is complex and involves many factors. For instance, the microscopic smooth muscles relax to allow more blood to flow into your penis tissue. Anxiety, stress, discomfort, or other factors that inhibit your ability to relax are usually the most common reasons for erectile dysfunction.
It’s not uncommon for a man to experience erectile dysfunction when he’s worried about what his spouse thinks of him or how well he’s performing sexually. Relationship issues can also affect your ability to get an erection. External factors such as work stress can also have an impact on your ability to maintain an erection.
It’s less common but physical issues can affect your ability to maintain an erection, such as:
- Heart problems. Your sexual response is largely a vascular system, so maintaining a lifestyle that’s good for your heart is key to a healthy, erect penis.
- Tobacco use
- Excess alcohol
- Low testosterone
Maintaining good health, learning to manage your stress, losing excess weight, getting enough sleep, and keeping your relationship with your wife strong are excellent long term solutions to overcoming sexual dysfunction.
Since the turn of the century there have been many drugs have become available to address erectile dysfunction. Talk with your wife and a trusted medical professional if it’s the right solution for you.
Inhibited Sexual Desire
Inhibited Sexual Desire affects 1 in 6 men. It’s when you lose desire for sex, usually because of a loss of self-confidence or frustrations about one’s ability to get and maintain an erection or perform.
The sad fact is that in 90% of marriages where the husband experiences inhibited sexual desire, not only does sex stop in the relationship, so does flirting and playful & erotic touch. It’s usually unilateral and unspoken as well due to an “intercourse or nothing” mindset.
The best way to revitalize sexual desire is to make sex less about orgasm and performing (as a pass/fail test) and instead more about a time to share intimate & erotic touch, play, and talk. Work with your wife as an intimate team to find a blend of new ways to arouse and each other.
Ejaculatory Inhibition is when you can’t ejaculate through intercourse. This affects 1 in 8 men over the age of 50. Like other forms of sexual dysfunction, there may be many reasons why this is the cause — such as fatigue, depression, side effects of medications, and so on.
One of the common causes is excessive masturbation, and where the man values solo sex over couple sex. This makes intercourse mechanical and routine, where it is no longer exciting and arousing. When orgasm from intercourse isn’t attained, the results are frustration and a loss of erection. This viscious cycle reinforces the man’s ideas that he prefers masturbating over couple sex, making the problem worse.
The key is to work together to transition to intercourse (mutual pleasure) over self pleasure alone. You can use a blend of erotic fantasy, arousing touch, and couple-interaction to build anticipation and arousal. Another helpful tip is to wait for penetration until his arousal level is closer to the point of orgasm.
An Intimate Team
Like every other important component in life, you have to put time and energy into your relationship to keep it vital.
You and your spouse can work together as an intimate team to create a plan for how to overcome sexual dysfunction. Your plan might involve things like:
- Seeing a doctor about side effects of medications
- Making erotic touch and playful, positive couple interaction a priority
- Set aside time to discuss what you need to do individually and as a couple
- Plan a sensual date or romantic getaway
- Have realistic expectations when it comes to sex. About 5% – 15% of all encounters are going to be duds — not every sexual encounter needs to be earth shattering!
- Take time once in a while to have a “his” night and a “her” night, where he or she is the primary focus for arousal. This helps a man (and a woman) reinforce what kinds of touch he likes and get comfortable with his arousal pattern.
- Keep your sexual relationship vital. Try new things together. Make sex fun and playful! Keep making sexual requests and explore your sexual potential. Make sex an energizing way to nourish your bond & relationship.
If you are still concerned about sexual dysfunction, maybe try out one of our coaching options to get support and help with your specific situation!