It’s important to remember that reaching orgasm isn’t always the end goal of sex, and an orgasm, especially a male orgasm if you are a part of a heteronormative relationship where there is a statistically measured orgasm gap, doesn’t automatically mean the end of a sexual experience.
There are many different ways to experience sexual pleasure. If you and your partner(s) are happy and fulfilled, then there’s nothing to worry about. But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to explore how to increase your sexual pleasure, which could involve improving sexual stamina. Luckily, there are behavioural changes and health tips that can increase sexual stamina and lead to greater sexual pleasure.
Lasting Longer In Bed Isn’t Everything
Editor’s note: The interview linked below is limited in the way it addresses bodies and gender beyond the binary, and also focuses on heterosexual partnerings. We have included it as an insightful explanation of the premature ejaculation fetish and community.
It’s also important to note that not everyone wants to last longer in bed. Some people deliberately don’t seek to last longer, and some people with penises are training themselves to be one minute men, or people, as they believe this is beneficial to their sex lives or it fulfills a personal fetish.
In fact, premature ejaculation is seen in some circles as being a way to prolong and promote different kinds of sex that are perhaps more focused on a broader range of pleasures. As Surely Prematurely, moderator of a premature ejaculation subreddit and proud member of the ten second club, says in this interview with Pilot: “When you pull yourself back from that notion that you need to pummel your partner with your unrelenting stamina, you can get more sensual and intimate”.
How to improve sexual stamina and last longer in bed naturally
Sex is about so much more than just penetration. Taking it slow and spending time exploring each other with your hands, mouths and sex toys, across a range of different erogenous zones, can increase sexual pleasure for partners of all genders. Not all vulva owners can orgasm from penetration alone, so take the time to explore clitoral stimulation and oral sex. However, bear in mind that not everyone with a clitoris can enjoy direct clitoral stimulation so going straight in there can sometimes cut a sexual experience short. Communication is key.
Viewing sex as more than penetration alone can help take some of the pressure off. Even when penetration happens and doesn’t last long, that doesn’t have to mean that one or both partners have to feel unsatisfied with the sexual experience. There are lots of other ways to experience sexual pleasure. If the sensation of penetration is important, you can explore using a dildo or strap on to explore that for longer before switching to penetrative sex with a penis, if that is desired.
You could even try skipping penetrative sex altogether and focus on other kinds of sexual pleasure from time to time, such as playing with toys together, or sensual massage, or focusing solely on sharing oral stimulation.
Edging is the practise of stopping yourself from reaching orgasm right when you’re on the cusp or ‘edge’ of sexual climax. You can try it alone or with a partner to help increase sexual stamina. When you masturbate, it can sometimes feel like the goal is to reach orgasm as fast as possible, but if you practise slowing down when you get close, it can help you last longer as well as experiencing a more powerful orgasm.
For those with penises, you could try the “squeeze” method where, when you’re close to orgasm, squeeze the tip of the penis for about 30 seconds. Edging can also give you a better understanding of your body. For penis owners, this can help prevent premature ejaculation, and for vulva owners, it can delay and increase the intensity of an orgasm.
Slowing down and taking the time to get to know your partner’s body can increase sexual satisfaction, intimacy and connection and help you last longer. Generally, the faster penis owners have sex, the faster they ejaculate. A slower, more controlled technique can help delay ejaculation and help penetrative sex last longer.
For vulva owners, slowing down can help prolong sex as any repeated thrusting may cause chafing or a loss of sensitivity, which can make penetrative sex uncomfortable after a while. Vulva owners often need longer to become fully aroused and/or reach orgasm, so taking time to explore and pleasure one another in different ways can help increase arousal and the chances of an orgasm, if that is desired and possible.
It’s also helpful to consider how aroused you are when you start penetrative sex. If you are a person with a penis, it’s best to start at a medium arousal level rather than when extremely aroused if you want to last longer.
Condoms are another way to last longer in bed. They can slightly decrease sensitivity which usually increases the time it takes for penis owners to ejaculate. Plus, they are the only contraceptive method that reduces both the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy.
Many people find that the barrier caused by wearing a condom is enough to dull the sensation sufficiently to help them last a little longer, but there are also condoms especially designed to help penis-owners last longer in bed. These contain a small amount of anaesthetic gel, and should be tested out against a different patch of skin first to explore what that sensation feels like.
How to increase sexual pleasure
Communicating openly with your partner about what you like and don’t like in bed is probably the most important step in improving sexual satisfaction. Sexual stamina can be a sensitive topic, but approaching it tactfully is better than saying nothing at all. The more open you are with one another and the more you play and experiment with different acts and techniques, the greater sexual pleasure you all will experience.
Stay in the moment
Some people recommend thinking of something mundane and distracting during sex if you want to last longer, but it’s better to stay attuned to your body. You can decide what you need, whether that’s going slower, switching up the sexual activity, changing position or taking a break. Forcing yourself not to be in the moment can reduce sexual pleasure and connection with your partner. Sex is supposed to be fun and connecting, so focusing on the moment will only make it better, even if that means switching to a different kind of sex for a while, or taking a break and starting again.
Edging isn’t just a practical method for delaying orgasm. It’s also a popular kink. Bringing your partner to the edge of orgasm and playing with orgasm denial can be integrated into domination play, for example. Plus, orgasms after edging for a long time tend to be that much stronger, increasing sexual pleasure as well as stamina.
Therapy, counselling and medication
Often sexual issues can be caused by underlying psychological problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, or relationship issues. In these cases, it can be helpful to seek therapy or counselling either on your own or as a partnership. There are many kinds of therapy available depending on the underlying issue.
You could also try prescription medication to address underlying physical or mental health issues that could be preventing you from experiencing sexual pleasure, although before going down this route it is worth knowing that up to 20% of cases of erectile dysfunction have their roots in psychological causes. This is especially true for people younger than forty, where instances of erectile dysfunction are typically much lower than in older age groups.
Foods that help you last longer in bed
Diet is another easy way to last longer in bed. Experts recommend avoiding lots of red meat, full fat dairy, alcohol and sugary foods and aiming to eat your 5-a-day.
Certain foods can improve your overall wellbeing at the same time as increasing libido and preventing premature ejaculation, including:
Does working out help you last longer?
Building strength through targeted workouts can help build stamina in every way, even in bed. Strengthening your muscles can help you get to know your body and give you more control over the motions of sexual activity, helping prevent premature ejaculation. Exercising can also increase flexibility which can give you a fuller range of motion, enabling you to do more in bed.
Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, are usually recommended to people with vulvas, but they can help all genders by aiding blood flow, increasing control over ejaculation, helping delay orgasm and strengthening the bladder.The important thing is to remember not to focus solely on strength. Over-strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can cause more problems. The focus should be on flexibility instead, so try to do exercises that not only squeeze the muscles but which actively release them too.
Does masturbation decrease stamina?
There is a pervasive myth that masturbating “too much” can decrease enjoyment of partnered sex. But it’s just that: a myth. In fact, masturbation can help increase sexual stamina. One way to do this is to practise edging during masturbation where you bring yourself close to orgasm then stop all stimulation. Over time, this will help you last longer during partnered sex.
If you have a penis and you masturbate shortly before having partnered sex, you may find you can last longer. For people with vulvas, masturbation can help with reaching orgasm, if that is desired, and it can also help to increase lubrication and arousal prior to other kinds of sex, making it more pleasurable to have sex for longer.
Plus, masturbation helps you get to know your body and what you do and don’t like, increasing sexual pleasure as well as stamina. And who wouldn’t want that?