Helping your husband with Performance Struggles

Whatever struggle or frustration we face in our marriage bed impacts both of us.

Just like you would want your husband to be part of the solution when you have trouble reaching orgasm, we need to be part of the solution when our husband wants to last longer, or has a hard time keeping his erection.

Imagine the pressure that your husband’s penis faces every time you have sex. As women, we can lay there making lists in our head and just going thru the motions, but our husband has a huge flag that either rises to the occasion, or leaves him feeling like a failure. Husbands also tend to shoulder the responsibility of making sure we have an orgasm. Honestly, if our head is not in the game, there is not much they can do. Add unrealistic expectations that if they just last long enough we will experience orgasm during intercourse and we create a pressure cooker that can make many a man fire prematurely, or lose his erection.

But the best reason to help your husband with his struggles, is so the two of you can have better sex. I don’t mean simultaneous orgasm during intercourse. I mean sex where you actually see each other, hear each other and feel each other.  Sex where you don’t spend all of your time worrying about whether you will last long enough or if your erection will wane. Sex where you actually connect.

Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety is the number one reason for any sexual dysfunction and many times we may not even realize that it is happening. I think there are multiple ways that wives can help reduce anxiety for her husband…

Give him options – there are other ways to enjoy sex besides intercourse. Song of Songs is filled with all kinds of delight. Open up the possibilities by learning to enjoy oral or manual sex – not just as foreplay – but as the main event. Don’t over emphasize the importance of intercourse. There is no hierarchy of orgasmic experiences.

Take the pressure off – Ultimately your husband cannot make you have an orgasm. You are responsible for your own body, just like he is. Yes, he should be actively involved and it is a shared experience, but take ownership for yourself. Let him know when it is just hard, or your head is not in the game, and thank him for caring.

Create a plan B – just because he finishes during intercourse does not mean sex has to be over. Don’t let intercourse become him worrying, “Am I going to last long enough?” and you worrying, “Am I going to make it?” Come up with a plan B  – an easy way for you to finish afterwards – then you both can enjoy intercourse and stop worrying.

Focus on connection – One of the best ways to get out of our head is to focus on our 5 senses. To actually see each other, smell each other, and feel each other. Pull him towards connection by making contact with your words or eyes. Simple phrases like, “hey”, “can you feel me?”, or “I see you” work great.

Do what you can to reduce anxiety and stress during sex. Be flexible, take ownership for your own stuff, keep things light hearted and enjoy whatever happens.

Some other things to do to help him – 

Get him to relax – To have an erection or to maintain ejaculatory control men must keep their Kegel muscles, pelvis and legs relaxed during arousal. Often men tighten these muscles as a way to control their ejaculation, or to try and pump up their erection – but it is the opposite of what works. Doing Kegel exercises will help men have the conscious control they need to relax their muscles. You can help during sex by reminding your husband to relax when you sense tension in his legs, pelvis or Kegels. You can also set up a signal, like touching him in a certain way to remind him.

Increase his orgasmic threshold – When men struggle with premature ejaculation they tend to shy away from foreplay because they think they are going to save themselves for the main event – intercourse. This strategy backfires because as they become accustomed to less stimulation, their trigger becomes more sensitive. We need to take the opposite approach and train them to handle more and more stimulation. Manual or oral stimulation, where you can closely tune into his arousal levels are a great way to increase his orgasmic threshold. See if you can get him to last 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and work up to 20 minutes. If he can last during the more intense stimulation of manual or oral, then it should translate into lasting longer during intercourse. If he is not lasting longer, then anxiety is acting as the trigger during intercourse.

Help him gain confidence – Erections can come and go during lovemaking and when husbands stop worrying, their body will respond to a loving involved wife. Take him on an exercise to gain confidence that if he just relaxes, then his body will respond. Use oral or manual sex to take him back and forth from non-erect to erect and progressively more aroused. Show him just how amazing his penis is.

Don’t leave him thinking that if he just thrusts long enough sex will be great for you– Only 30% of women reach orgasm during intercourse without extra stimulation. Your husband needs to know and understand the thrusting that feels good to him may not work all that great for you. Read our post on Positions and Movement  to help figure out what works for you.   Focus not just on movement but on connection. More than likely the movement that feels good to you will be less stimulating to him so that he will last longer.

Work with him thru a book – Many men avoid dealing with their struggles for years. If you feel stuck in this area then talk to your husband and let him know you want him to be able to really relax and enjoy sex. Buy Sexual Healing by Barbara Keesling Ph.D. and start a step by step program with exercises for the two of you.  It will not only help any performance struggles but will help the two of you to really connect during sex. Don’t wait for him to buy it, or even to read it – just get it, read it, and gently suggest the two of you give it a try.

Working together to help make sex great may be one of the most intimate things you will ever do. It requires loving conversations, self-assuredness, and being a servant. Don’t do it because you want to fix him, but because you want to connect with him.

 

Comments 4

  1. The above analysis and advice is good, but I would include two other components. The first is the emotional factor. The second, and perhaps most important, is the spiritual element. The book, Pursuit of Passion, calls this “Perfected Love Making” and I love the way it explains God’s role in making sexual intimacy so much richer.

    Will it help with either husband or wife struggles? I don’t experience most of the above problems, so I hesitate to answer. But we do have some other issues – mostly related to aging. We find that having God present in our marriage along with emotionally/spiritually connecting is paramount for truly great sex. I therefore believe it would help those who are struggling. And prayer should be added to loving conversations as well.

    Having been away from the Lord for years and missing out on how much better our marriage could have been, I can’t stress enough the importance of the spiritual element. God wants to be included in EVERY aspect of our marriage, not just the bedroom. Doing so will not only reward us with better sex, but a stronger marriage.

    • Thanks for the comment. Of course an emotional connection and spiritual connection is super important. I would say that is the case in every thing about our sex life, but I may not mention it in every article I write.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    I especially liked this post because it has both husband and wife taking responsibility for their individual and mutual sexual satisfaction rather than laying guilt trips on each other — that is so much more creative and proactive.

    On another note, I’ve read the book Sexual Healing by Barbara Keesling and agree that it is an excellent book. However, you should know that Barbara drew a lot of the material for the book from her prior experience as a somatic sexological bodyworker. The modalities of her work included therapeutic and instructional erotic massage on her clients which she explained in the introduction to the book.

    It’s kind of interesting to see how people in the world can make valuable contributions to the study of increasing positive sexual intimacy even if we might disagree with the methods that they utilized to gain such knowledge. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • Becky,
      Thanks for the comment. I did know that Barbara Keesling worked as a sex surrogate for 10 years but she also went on to earn a PhD. Even though I in no way condone sex surrogacy, she obviously has a heart for helping people and has a wealth of first hand experience. For 10 years she helped people with real struggles and saw what worked and what didn’t work. I am actually a big fan of her books and am currently reading one called All Night Long How to Make Love to a Man Over 50. I find most of her writing respectful and accurate. And yes, I would agree valuable information can be gleaned even though we might not agree with the methods. Actually a lot of the information about sex has been gleaned thru less than ideal situations – even Masters and Johnson.

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