Men’s sexual problems
Men, in general, talk about their sexual conquests but not their sexual concerns. They tend to keep up the strong male image, including the impression that they are fantastic in bed and that they have no problems (except they “can’t get enough”). Yet, males usually feel responsible for sex–for approaching the woman, arranging the place, skillfully handling the foreplay, and producing both orgasms. Moreover, too many macho males think sex is all that really matters in a relationship; sharing feelings and problems, being tender and caring, doing things together that she likes to do, getting to know each other deeply, etc. are seen too often as silly women’s stuff. These men just don’t get it: good loving is not in the penis, it is in the heart and the mind. If sex were just coming to a climax, then we’d just masturbate. Sex is a mental-interpersonal process, not just a brief physical act. With males having all these responsibilities, misconceptions, and sexist attitudes, the truth is men have a lot of sexual problems.
The males who have a hostile, chauvinistic attitude towards women are responsible for much of the rape, abuse, and harassment of children and adult women. About 2 million girls are sexually abused by a father, brother, or other relative every year, another 3 million by rapists and child molesters. By 16, 20% of all girls have become victims of incest. In addition, about 25% of all college women become victims of rape or attempted rape, 60% of the time it was on a date. These statistics reflect very serious sexual-hostility problems in men. Sexual abuse is discussed in chapter 7 because it is selfish aggression, not love.
With more women insisting on equality and becoming more sexually active and sophisticated, men are becoming more interested in being well informed. They are realizing their differences with women. Several books about male sexual anatomy, sexual functions, sexual techniques, sexual communication, sexual diseases, sexual problems, etc. have become popular (Purvis, 1992; Doyle, 1989; and especially Zilbergeld, 1992).
On confidential questionnaires, half of all males say they are not happy with their sex life (many complain about their wives). Most do not seek professional help, but in the privacy of a therapist’s office, the most common problems of males are “I can’t get it up” and, essentially the opposite, “I come too quickly.” Most males have had a few experiences with a weak or partial erection, especially when drinking, tired, rushed, lacking privacy, or with a new partner. Anxiety is a common factor here. When the male is unable to get an erection over 25% of the time, it is called “impotency.” Reportedly, most erection difficulties start with a physical problem, such as diabetes, drug and alcohol use, and high-blood-pressure medication. So, see an urologist. There are injections for impotency (Eid & Pearce, 1993) if it can’t be cured any other way. Psychological reactions to impotency add to the problem, of course. Most of the cases with erection problems can be helped by physical and psychological treatment combined.
An average, normal male has several erections every night, even at age 65 the penis is erect an hour and a half every night! If erections do not occur after being checked and treated for physical problems, then psychological treatment is needed. Most therapists treat an erection problem by (1) teaching the male to satisfy his partner without using his penis and (2) having the partner stimulate the penis repeatedly (without intercourse or ejaculation) until the male gains confidence it will work. The relationship may also need to be worked on. There is a self-help book for this problem (Williams, 1986). A variety of psychotherapies are effective about 2/3rds of the time, reflecting the role of psychological and interpersonal factors. But don’t overlook the physical causes; they are important.
Anxiety is when for the first time you can’t do it a second time; panic is when for the second time you can’t do it once.
Ejaculating quickly and intensely could certainly be considered a sign of potency, rather than inadequacy. But if either partner wants the female to climax during intercourse with stimulation only being provided by the penis, then quick ejaculations are a problem, called “premature ejaculation .” Almost all males occasionally ejaculate sooner than they’d like. Perhaps 20% of males consistently have difficulty controlling their ejaculation, but only 20% or less of that group seek help with the problem. It can be changed.
Several things might be helpful with premature ejaculations: (1) use a condom to reduce the stimulation, (2) have one or two drinks before sex, (3) think about other things, (4) ejaculate twice (usually premature ejaculations are no problem the second time), (5) satisfy the partner in other ways and, then, both enjoy the male’s quick, powerful climax, (6) avoid deep thrusting by letting the tip of the penis massage clitoris and play at the opening of the vagina or by leaving the penis fully inserted and concentrate on rubbing the pubic areas together (whatever feels good to the female), (7) stop stimulating the penis before reaching “the point of no return” and relax a moment, and (8) use the squeeze technique. The latter method involves squeezing the penis (fingers on top and thumb on bottom) right behind the head or near the base. This is done just before reaching the “point of no return” (when ejaculation can’t be avoided). A hard squeeze reduces the urge to ejaculate. In this way the female partner can teach the male to keep an erection. Masters and Johnson claim a 96% success rate. Kaplan’s (1989) self-help book, How To Overcome Premature Ejaculation, is recommended.
There are other male problems, such as being unable to ejaculate in the vagina or taking a long time to do so. These are rare but treatable, usually by a sex therapist. There may be relationship problems. But, a desensitizing process might be tried first involving these steps: (1) masturbating alone thinking of your partner for a week or so, (2) masturbating in front of partner during the next week, (3) being masturbated by partner for another week or so, and (4) being aroused by partner to near the point of ejaculation and then inserting the penis in the vagina. After successfully ejaculating inside the female in this manner several times, the fears usually disappear. This procedure is successful in about 75% of the cases (Masters, Johnson & Kolodny, 1985).
For more information about the treatment of premature ejaculations and impotence, call 312-725-7722. Another problem, sexual addiction, is more common among men than women (see Carnes, 1991), e.g. over 50% of men think about sex every day (or several times a day) but less than 20% of women do. General references are Pervis (1992) and Zilbergeld (1992).