Emotional and Psychological Causes – 1

Emotional & Psychological Causes Of Slow Ejaculation 

Very often, delayed ejaculation is a mystery, even to men who can’t ejaculate. After all, they seem to be aroused, they have a firm erection, and they feel ready to have intercourse.

For these problems to be accurately described as delayed ejaculation, we’re looking at a situation where a man can make love for prolonged periods of time but doesn’t actually come while doing so.

One thing to be clear about before we go any further is that delayed ejaculation isn’t so unusual. I estimate that about 1 man in 12 experiences some degree of difficulty reaching orgasm and ejaculating.

Video – Slow Ejaculation


But Can Emotional Issues Really Stop A Man Coming?

delayed ejaculation has an emotional cause
Surely emotional and psychological factors can’t stop ejaculation? Well, yes, they can….

I have met a lot of men who think that emotional factors couldn’t possibly inhibit ejaculation. I mean, it seems so unlikely.

Could the mind really be able to inhibit something so powerful as the male urge to ejaculate? Could that really be possible?

Yes, it certainly could, and if you think about the way emotional factors can cause a man to lose his erection, this might become easier to understand.

A common observation about male sexuality is that a man’s penis springs into life at the slightest hint of getting into bed with a partner. But it’s also true that an erection can disappear in an instant, due to anxiety, anger, or downright fear.

I think most people would probably find that quite understandable, even natural. And it’s not much of a stretch to believe that a similar process might be at work with delayed ejaculation?

The reality is that “the penis never lies”. This is an old saying which basically means that whatever your hidden feelings around sex, your body, your partner, or having sex, your penis will reveal the truth, no matter how much you might want to hide it from yourself.

So for an adult man who experiences difficulty in ejaculating during intercourse, the presence of an erection may, for example, suggest a willingness to please his partner. But the absence of ejaculation and orgasm may indicate a deeper truth: he isn’t really sexually aroused. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of men reading this, men who have difficulty reaching climax during intercourse, were shaking their heads in disbelief.

And I totally understand that response. The idea that a man isn’t reaching orgasm because he’s not very aroused, seems “hard to believe”, at the very least. But there is a lot of evidence to support this viewpoint.

So Why Would Emotional Issues Cause Difficulty With Ejaculation?

Before we go on, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that there are some physical causes for delayed ejaculation. One of them is Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome. 

This is a grand name for a situation where a boy has learned to masturbate using excessive stimulation to his penis. This could involve very intense pressure, or fast hand movements. It could even involve thrusting against the mattress.

man self pleasuring
Idiosyncratic masturbation can be a cause of delayed ejaculation later in life.

You can see quite easily that if a boy’s learned to stimulate himself in this way, it’s obvious that his penis is rarely going to get the same level of stimulation during lovemaking with a partner. Oral and vaginal stimulation during lovemaking certainly don’t offer the kind of pressure and intensity that this sort of masturbation does.

So it’s obvious that a lot of men have conditioned their bodies to respond only in a certain way to a certain type of stimulation, and the very fact that they can’t get that stimulation during intercourse means they can’t reach orgasm. Read about this and other physical causes of DE here.

But I think most delayed ejaculation is caused by emotional issues, and it’s these we’re going to look at here.

Even though ejaculation is a reflex response in the body, the process of intimate sensual and sexual arousal with a partner is very definitely a mental and emotional process. 

And, as you probably know very well, arousal has to reach a certain level (the point of no return or “ejaculatory inevitability”) before the ejaculation reflex will happen.

Now, it is important to understanding delayed ejaculation to know that a man can have an erection and still not be aroused. I think a lot of us men know this anyway, because we often develop an erection and yet subjectively we don’t feel sexually aroused.

And this seems to be a key thing among men who have delayed ejaculation – difficulty reaching climax during intercourse.

They have an erection, but they are not aroused.

Man sitting despondently on side of bed
Who comes first – you or your partner?

Another key fact is that guys who aren’t able to come easily during sex often seem to be highly motivated to give their partner an orgasm.

In fact, these men (and you may be one of them) are very conscientious lovers. Regrettably, however, they may have no idea how to satisfy themselves during intercourse.

All of the work they do during the intimacy of sex is about pleasing their partner.

And while it’s certainly possible to imagine that pleasuring a partner could be satisfying for a man, we need to look a little deeper.

What could an urge to sexually satisfy your partner at the expense of your own pleasure mean? 

Emotional And Psychological Causes

Masters and Johnson – two sexologists back in the 1950s who were pioneers of sex therapy – said that the most common causes of delayed ejaculation were:

  • factors like relationships, life events, personality traits and sexual behaviors
  • developmental factors like traumatic childhood experiences around sex
  • conflicts of gender identity
  • troubled relationships between parents and children or between parents
  • negative family attitudes towards sexual matters
  • anxiety, fear, depression, guilt, shame and anger
  • low self-esteem
  • lack of sexual information or influence of cultural myths
  • a very poor body image
  • fear of relationship commitment
  • sexual performance anxiety
  • disassociation and spectatoring during sex
  • rigid religious attitudes and pressures which cause sexual guilt or avoidance of sex
  • hostility towards one’s partner or oneself.

Relationship Issues: Self and Partner


Disgruntled man and partner talking
How’s your relationship?

Relationship issues almost certainly have a role to play in causing delayed ejaculation.

They may not be the whole explanation, but they are often are a large part of it.

A man who holds ambivalent feelings about being in a sexual relationship may not be very aroused during sex, simply because he isn’t excited about sex. 

And sometimes fear plays a part, too. Fear, whether conscious or unconscious, leads to inhibition. And that may mean a man won’t let go psychologically. He simply isn’t engaged or interested enough with sex, or with his partner. 

And sometimes there may simply not be enough stimulation or excitement for a man to reach orgasm.

This could be because the couple are not feeling loving, intimate or excited, because they are become bored, or because they hold more active feelings of anger and resentment. 

Emotional Causes

Psychologists suggest lifelong delayed ejaculation can be explained by fear, anxiety, hostility, resentment and relationship difficulties. DE which pops up later in life is called “acquired” DE.

So when we try and understand where a man’s sexual problems come from, it might be helpful to know if his problems with climax are generalized or situational (in other words, are they specific to certain places or activities or partners). And also – is his delayed ejaculation an acquired or a life-long problem?

This may affect how treatment is approached.

Speaking of which, various  treatments have been tried for men with delayed ejaculation, including vibrator stimulation, sexual exercises, and psychotherapy.

Masturbation exercises have also been used delayed ejaculation, along with psychodynamic psychotherapy, marital therapy, CBT, sexual skills training and psychotherapy.

But What Does All This Mean?

Often men who experience delayed ejaculation had a strict upbringing in which sex was pretty much a taboo or shamed subject, and who admit to a tendency to be controlling in their own lives.

Needless to say, this sexual energy is often sublimated into other areas, so, for example, many of these men have a great deal of drive which has taken them to the top of their chosen professions.

However, this tendency to be over-controlling is often inwardly directed rather than at others – especially when it comes to sex. (There’s some useful information here on power and control during sex…)

These men may believe it is wrong to let go and show emotion, and they may have difficulty in showing their emotions in general. (Some useful information here on showing your feelings.)

In short, they find it difficult to “let go”and move into the flow – whether it be the flow of feelings or the flow of sexual energy which leads eventually to the release of semen in ejaculation.

Thus delayed or retarded ejaculation becomes a symbol of an internal emotional process which centers on a man’s inability to let go and experience free-flowing emotions in both life and, more specifically, in sexual matters.

There are some other factors at work, too: somtimes men may fear pregnancy, they may have some vaginal aversion, and they may have some degree of latent homosexuality.