Step 5: SOS! What to Do When He Can't Perform

Ready for the final step? So far we've covered three important bases when it comes to pleasing your man in bed: getting him aroused, pleasing him with your hands and using surefire tricks for oral sex. This lesson focuses on the main event: sex. Understandably, this is the area where some men have the most trouble, whether it's early ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. These three techniques are your best bet for getting back on track when things go wrong in the bedroom.

Does it happen to every guy?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (1999, Vol. 228 No. 6), 3 in 10 men suffer from sexual problems. Some of the most common male sexual complaints (or sexual "breakdowns" as I like to call them) are rapid or early ejaculation, loss of erection or inability to get an erection, and decreased sex drive. If your partner falls into the third category, revisit step 2 for new ideas on boosting his libido. For the rest of you, keep reading.

Change the language
The single most frequent question that I get from men is how to gain control during the sexual act with a partner. The term "premature ejaculation" is now out of vogue, which pleases me greatly. In counseling men with that sexual complaint, I have usually found that if they learn how to speak about their sexual breakdowns as something manageable and temporary, they can learn how to overcome them. For example, when a 40-something male says he has "premature ejaculation" I respond, "Premature for what or whom? Don't you mean you pop too quickly for your wife, or that you wish you could last longer?" Needless to say, in talking about such topics with your partner, it's important for you to use language that empowers him.

On the next page: Simple solutions for early ejaculation, ED and other erection troubles

Early Ejaculation
Here is an exercise that should help anyone with the classic problem of him achieving orgasm while you are just warming up (sound familiar?). Step one is to make sure that you receive ample touch on your clitoral area. Hopefully, that way you will reach an orgasmic state before he does. I know this may sound strange, but since multiple orgasms are possible for women, I always tell clients that if you get your first one manually or orally, it minimizes the potential problem of your partner not being able to bring you to orgasm during penetration.

Step two begins when he feels like he might come and neither of you is ready for your lovemaking to be finished yet. If this happens, have him stop all movement inside your vagina. Use your hand or a finger or two to form a ring around his erection at the base of the shaft and hold it for about 10 seconds. Once his urge subsides, you can continue your lovemaking. This should stop him from ejaculating too soon in most cases, but sometimes a man needs to practice this to really get it.

The truth is that most people, even guys, don't realize that men's orgasms have two phases: First comes the orgasmic release of blood flow to the penis; second is emission, the release of the seminal fluids. The emission phase is where a man often fails to exercise his control, leaving himself disappointed and his partner high and dry. One of the very best videos that shows the necessary skills is The Lover's Guide to Ejaculatory Control. The New Male Sexuality by Zilbergeld is another wonderful resource and contains sample exercises for a host of sexual issues.

ED and What to Do about It
A second common sexual breakdown is erectile failure, or erectile dysfunction (ED). Viagra, which works to prevent the loss of erection, is a wonderful option if you and your loved one are not averse to talking about this with a doctor (usually a urologist) and obtaining an often-expensive prescription for the little blue pill. It works! Despite the controversy over its safety, unless you are taking nitroglycerine or are advised by your physician to stay away from it, Viagra is the way to go for some couples. It is not an aphrodisiac, though, so if getting turned on or getting an erection is the issue, your partner should consult with his urologist to rule out anything on the physiological level, such as leaky veins, blockages or poor blood flow. Also, some medications may interfere with erections.

Maintaining an Erection
If you and your partner are having trouble keeping an erection, try using the squeeze technique (similar to the early-ejaculation tip above) at the base of the erect penis. This should help keep blood flow where you want it: in the penis. Another option is a ring that you place around the base of his erect penis. It should be wrapped snugly, using snaps or Velcro, so that it can actually hold the erection in place. When you're both ready for him to reach orgasm, just unsnap or rip away the ring. They are available at most adult stores. Other devices may work, but they require a doctor's prescription: injections of medicine pellets into the urethral opening of the penis; self-injections into a flaccid (soft) penis to make it hard; or simply using a penile pump. Natural supplements can also assist in the development of greater erectile capability. Vigorex and Top Gun are two that I have researched and recommend. Finally, a positive mental outlook helps. If you both relax and take off the pressure to perform, you may find that the idea of just enjoying the pleasurable sensations -- of kissing, caressing and other forms of foreplay -- and focusing on the moment may be all the cure you need.

On the next page: HOT Homework for Two!

Hot Homework for Two
Here's a simple exercise that will keep your love alive and deepen the skills that you have learned from this month's Love Lesson. Do this weekly, preferably at a time when all other pressures have subsided (such as late on a Sunday night or over a lovely dinner with music in the background -- after the kids have gone to bed or on a night when you've managed to get the house to yourselves). One at a time, take the "temperature" of your sexual relationship. For example, ask your partner, "So, how do you feel about how things are going for us in the bedroom lately?" Remember: This is not a time for criticism. If it's hot, then bless it for that. If it's lukewarm, talk about ways to heat it up. And if it's cool, decide on some specific ways to improve it or commit to seeking the help of a professional counselor. Anything from choosing a new book (such as one by Laura Corn, who includes fun, sexy exercises for couples) to writing in your journal should help, especially if you reread what you write each month and note your progress each time. You can also set sexual goals for the year or even the month; this will enable you to determine where you want to go and if you got there. What could be better -- or hotter -- than that?

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