We Need To Take Pressure Off The Penis (or Why Premature Ejaculation Shouldn’t Be A Boner Kill)

Debbie Herbenick, a sex writer for Salon wrote an extremely thoughtful article about Premature Ejaculation (PE) underscoring the fact that it’s not women who get the most upset about PE but the men who experience it. Now this isn’t too surprising, men who experience PE are often under the false belief that the length of time they can engage in coitus is positively correlated with their level of masculinity or some other self defeating idea. Women who’s partners experience PE tend not to rate PE as a major problem nor do they describe it as hindering their sexual satisfaction. It’s men who believe that their inability to contain their excitement is leading to a decrease in their partner’s pleasure.

Here’s the problem as I see it: Our culture is placing too much emphasis on the penis. Vaginal penetration is only one way to have sex, ask any LGBT person. Furthermore, most studies conclude that the vast majority of women can only reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation. A man’s ability to last has nothing to do with his ability to bring his female partner to orgasm. A man’s ever erect tongue and fingers are more than sufficient to please his partner. Why is the penis seen as this amazing tool for female pleasure. Sure vaginal intercourse feels great for most women but so does cunnilingus. As a man (read: as a person who doesn’t know what he’s talking about), I’d venture a guess that vaginal intercourse is as much about feeling connected to ones partner as it is about physical sensations in the eyes of many women. I’d also posit that women might gain a lot of satisfaction out of pleasing her partner and making him come. It’s possible that maybe, just maybe, her ability to get him off lightning fast makes her feel extremely sexy and a good lover, just as it would if the roles were reversed and he were getting her off in no time flat.

Herbenick makes a really great point at the end of her article. Many of the men who have what is called Situational PE came to orgasm quickly due to their high level of excitement and arousal or feelings of romantic attachment. It is seen culturally as a good thing when women are able to come to orgasm quickly because they are so turned on that they can’t hold back. The fact that the exact opposite is true in the eyes of some men seems unfair and often untenable.

Finally, I wouldn’t be able to finish a post without mentioning sex education and Herbenick sums up some of my strongest opinions about sex education perfectly.

I mention this because larger cultural conversations about sexuality education often get stuck focused on issues related to teenagers, condoms, abstinence and politics, and, in my view, we need to talk more broadly about sex education. Young men and women who fail to learn about human sexuality (whether from parents or teachers) grow into adults who still don’t know anything about human sexuality. This doesn’t just mean that they don’t know how to use a condom correctly or how to prevent or treat chlamydia. It means that, unless they learn about sex along the way, they likely won’t know how to make sense of their own or their partner’s sexual pleasure or whether they are sexually “normal” (a heated term, and something I am asked about regularly: “Am I normal?”).

Relevant to PE, a lack of sex education means that men often think they should last longer than is humanly possible for most men or wanted by many women. It means, too, that if they try and fail to last longer, they may feel badly about their own bodies or sexual response. If they try and succeed at lasting a long time, they may run the risk of contributing to uncomfortable or painful sex for their partner. Data from our National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior show that about 30 percent of women (compared to 5 percent of men) experienced pain during their most recent sex act.

Sex ed has been so poor for so long that we now have generations of poorly educated adults as well as teens. Sex education isn’t just for teens. That’s like saying English is just for teens and if you don’t know how to speak it by the time you’re out of high school then tough luck. We are a culture of people where sex is a second language.

Via Salon

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