Happy Orgasm Day! Let's Talk about Sex

Did you know that "Orgasm Day" is an official holiday? It may not be marked on your calendar, but the mayor of a small town in Brazil recently signed a city council bill proclaiming May 9 Orgasm Day with the goal of improving relationships between married couples. They spent the day talking about orgasms from many points of view, even having a panel discussion on premature ejaculation (PE), a topic that's typically kept hush-hush. Clearly, sex is not the taboo subject in Brazil that it is in many other parts of the world. In fact, the mayor of the largest city, Sao Paolo, is a well-known sex therapist.

Even though I talk about sex all day long in my private practice, when I first heard about Orgasm Day, even my own natural reaction was to laugh. There's nothing wrong with finding this news humorous as long as we also recognize its serious side. After all, though we are all born sexual creatures, most of us remain embarrassed by the subject of sex. That's why, despite the constant bombardment of sexual content in the media, we still don't talk about it enough with our sexual partners. That communication is critical to our sexual satisfaction and to our relationships. This Brazilian town held a panel on premature ejaculation, but how many couples experiencing it actually talk about it? Quite a small percentage, I would guess.

The reason for this could also be due to the fact that the term has such a loose definition. In a recent study, hundreds of wives used stopwatches (yes, stopwatches) to time their husbands in bed in order to determine the difference between "normal" and "premature" ejaculation times. Because men have no individual frame of reference, some of the men who participated and lasted under three minutes felt ashamed for being unable to restrain themselves for longer, while others who lasted under three minutes were unaffected, figuring that was a "normal" duration.

In my opinion, PE is more mental than physical '- sustaining the erection can be learned '- and so I don't consider it a significant problem. Some men with PE have never felt the need to last any longer. And while some of them may be selfish, only caring about their personal satisfaction, others simply make sure their partners are satisfied in other ways. Since most women require sufficient clitoral stimulation to orgasm and can't have an orgasm from intercourse alone, whether a man lasts one minute or 30 won't really make a difference for his partner. But if a couple considers it to be a problem, and they both stick their heads in the sand like ostriches and pretend it doesn't exist, then they'll never escape the PE rut.

Thankfully, this subject may come to the forefront soon, much in the same way that erectile dysfunction became easier to talk about when drugs like Viagra went on the market: There is currently a drug being tested that would help men with PE. So women who may have been hesitant to bring up the subject before '- most likely in order to protect their man's ego '- might now be willing to say something since they'll have this pharmaceutical solution to offer.

But it's important to remember that Viagra created problems in some relationships because women felt pressure to engage in sex on the command of a pill, instead of when they were ready. If a drug for PE makes it to market, it's possible that too will create problems. For example, many men will face pressure to prolong the time they take during intercourse. But whether we're talking about erections or PE, the same advice applies: Sex is an act that takes two partners, and any communication about these topics '- even if you're uncomfortable mentioning them '- will lead to improvements in your sex life.

Assuming this PE drug is proven safe and does go on the market, how would you bring it up so that your man (who may only go to the doctor if he's broken several bones) makes an appointment, gets a prescription and then gets it filled at the pharmacy?

In order to gather the courage to have this conversation, just imagine how much better your love life will be once he's gained control of his ejaculations '- then just sell him that very same vision. I don't need to tell you that the bedroom '- both before and after you have sex '- is off-limits for this discussion; you need to find a quiet and appropriate time. So here's a creative idea: Find a movie that has a long lovemaking scene, bring home the DVD and, after watching it together, say something like, "That could be us if you'd consider getting these pills." There's no need to even mention anything negative about his current sex skills; odds are good that he already knows he suffers from PE. Just offer him a glimpse into a future that holds the potential for him to be a better lover. Then slip him a note with the number of a urologist. You might even casually mention that once he has the prescription, you'd be happy to pick it up for him, so that he can avoid facing the pharmacist.

Regardless of whether this drug is approved, my point here remains the same, and it's very simple: If couples discuss their needs and work at them together, they should be able to make improvements. Communication is the first step toward resolving any sexual issues between you and your partner '- or even making a great sex life outstanding. So mark your own Orgasm Day on your calendar (in fact, why not be bold and make it every Tuesday?), and celebrate the potential power to please each other that you and your partner each hold '- if only you're willing to talk about it.

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