Causes Of Delayed Ejaculation

Can DE Have A Physical Cause?
An Insensitive Penis, Maybe?

Although it would be appealing to think that delayed ejaculation had a physical origin, such as an insensitive penis, or a high threshold for orgasm and ejaculation, the truth is that there is no real evidence for this.

Can an insensitive penis cause delayed ejaculation?
Can an insensitive penis cause delayed ejaculation?

Sure, as you may have heard, there are some scientific studies which have shown low levels of serotonin are linked to delayed ejaculation. That’s what happens to guys who are on antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

But this is only an an association, and it doesn’t mean ejaculatory response times are connected to serotonin levels in any way. Besides which, how are you going to raise serotonin in a guy’s brain? 

If you’re really interested, there’s science blogger who explains it all here. But it is pretty technical, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really keen on the science of ejaculation.

Factors causing delayed ejaculation
Many factors affect delays in ejaculation.

So What About Emotional Issues?

Years ago it was said that men who were slow to reach the point of ejaculatory inevitability (the level of arousal where you just have to come, no matter what!) have a “controlling personality”, and that their difficulties were related to resentment and anger against their partners.

In fact, this is too much too sweeping a statement. I’d rather say that men with ejaculation problems are often very masculine, but they tend to be rather rigid in outlook and set extremely high standards for themselves which they have difficulty living up to.

For example, they may feel obliged to give a woman an orgasm every time during sex. This can produce resentment, if not outright hostility, and this mixture of feelings sometimes causes a man to have difficulty in reaching climax.

Men in this situation often have a rigid erection with which they can make love for a long period of time, but they’re not really sexually aroused. That’s why they never come, or takes ages to get there.

What causes this? Things as varied as

  • a strict upbringing with lots of sexual shame or guilt
  • anger at women, whether consciously or unconsciously
  • bad experiences in previous relationships
  • bad experiences with mother during childhood
  • aversion to sex
  • feeling burdened by the need to pleasure the woman – i.e. give her an orgasm – before coming yourself
  • resenting the idea that a man must “give” continuously during sex
  • a high level of resentment in the relationship
  • and many more.

In the past it was also said that factors such as fear of getting a woman pregnant could delay (by which we mean prevent) ejaculation, but I do not believe this is true.

Emotional issues play a major role in delayed ejaculation
This problem is often caused by emotional issues

What I do know is that many men with delayed ejaculation (DE) are somehow guilty or ashamed of their sexual performance, or embarrassed about sex – which is why so many men don’t seek help.

While I think a lot of women expect men to be – at the very least – good in bed, if not actually superb, and obviously most of us are nothing of the kind. And for men with delayed ejaculation, sex doesn’t provide much satisfaction, either for them or their partners. In fact, their partners may be sore, or bored, or both.

And that’s a pity, because the problem can be sorted out quite easily.

Here’s a Howcast, which only covers two causes of delayed ejaculation – idiosyncratic masturbation and medication. But it’s a simple, far too simple, video on the subject.

Low Sexual Arousal 

Oddly enough, low sexual arousal is a major factor in causing delayed ejaculation.

The fact that men who cannot get to orgasm often have a rather low level of sexual arousal at the same time as an extremely hard and prolonged erection certainly seems surprising, but as you may know from your own experience, having an erection doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aroused.

Men with delayed / retarded ejaculation see their erection as a sign of arousal and think they should be able to reach orgasm fairly easily.

But, if you’re not turned on, and particularly if you don’t want to be having sex with the person you’re in bed with, you aren’t likely to be able to ejaculate very easily.

Another cause of DE is that a man simply needs more stimulation to reach orgasm than he gets during intercourse.

Maybe he’s conditioned himself only to ejaculate after hard and prolonged stimulation of his penis, perhaps through a habit of masturbating with very vigorous and harsh stimulation. Intercourse doesn’t even come close… and as for oral sex… well, that gives nowhere near enough stimulation.

Relationship Factors And Ejaculation Problems

One of the first things to look at is the relationship. I generally find that ending delayed ejaculation requires

  • real determination on the part of both partners to make the relationship work and to overcome the problem
  • excellent communication and openness about the issue and sexuality in general between the partners
  • a willingness of both partners to co-operate in therapy, including a discussion around what they want both in terms of the relationship and in terms of sex
  • and a willingness to engage and practical activities and exercises that are necessary to reduce the man’s anxiety, anger or hostility, and to establish greater intimacy between the couple.
Relationship issues play a large part in delayed ejaculation
Relationship issues play a large part in male sexual dysfunction

Needless to say, these criteria can test a relationship if the reason for the ejaculation difficulties is  profound sexual difficulty and/or the expression of an unexpressed emotional hostility or resentment.

The relationship ending when these issues are exposed to the light of day may be a more desirable outcome in many cases than struggling on with the challenges of delayed ejaculation.

And fear of the relationship ending is why many couples don’t do anything about it…

Is It Really That Significant?

For men who can never reach climax in the normal way during intercourse, delayed ejaculation can be a major problem.

The first question in assessing what will be helpful is to establish whether the problem lies in the man’s penis or his mind!


What I mean by this is that some men who have difficulty coming to orgasm have learned to masturbate as teenagers by using harsh stimulation of their penis.

For example, by thrusting it against the mattress or using some equally vigorous and hard method of stimulation – so much so that they have conditioned their bodies only to ejaculate in response to extremely high levels of stimulation.

Needless to say, normal intercourse cannot possibly provide the level of stimulation that this type of masturbation does, and the result is that the man simply never gets enough stimulation to reach the point of no return (where he will come) or achieve climax normally.

In such cases, the remedy may consist of a program of gradual, more gentle stimulation to enhance a man’s sensitivity to sexual stimulation so he can become more aroused with less stimulation.

Masturbation style is a key factor in the development of delayed ejaculation
Masturbation style is a key factor in the development of delayed ejaculation

This approach may include sensate focus exercises, enhanced by the use of sexual fantasy, and in particular, incorporate unusual stimulation techniques such as anal stimulation, prostate stimulation, or Tantric sex techniques.

These are all designed to increase his level of sexual arousal and take him more rapidly and effectively towards the point of no return without the need for harsh stimulation of his penis.


If these physical issues are not at work for you, then the cause of your ejaculatory problems lies in some emotional or psychological barrier.

What I’ve found is that the most common cause of delayed ejaculation is not reaching a high enough level of arousal before or during sex to be able to ejaculate.

And usually the lack of arousal that men experience has its origin in a relationship which lacks closeness and intimacy.

Often there a very good reasons for this: we all know that relationships go through periods of difficulty, and open and honest communication is not something that is easy to establish.

One way to get over this is to play with physical exercises that can increase your level of physical intimacy. Invariably, a couple’s emotional intimacy and closeness will also increase.

Since having a high level of sexual arousal — and therefore being able to reach orgasm easily — depends on finding your partner arousing and exciting, these exercises are great for men with this problem – and their partners.

If you’re depending on sexual fantasy or the use of porn to achieve high levels of stimulation, it’s a clear indication that you need to work on the intimacy levels within your relationship.

Sensate focus is the prescription here – it always increases a couple’s level of emotional closeness. You can find full information about this in the self-help program.

What About Commitment?

It’s a commonplace observation that many men have a deal of difficulty with commitment.

Any resentment against being in relationship with a particular partner, or indeed resentment against women in general, may be a cause of sexual dysfunction in men.

Classically, psychoanalytic theory suggested that a man who was not able to reach orgasm easily was somehow withholding his ejaculation from his partner as a sign of resentment against her.

Such interpretations are less widely accepted these days, but it’s certainly true that a man who is unhappy about the power differential within a sexual relationship, or who does not find his partner attractive, will experience a low level of arousal and therefore may have difficulty ejaculating. (He may also develop premature ejaculation, but that’s a different story.)

In short, it’s not necessary to seek out complicated psychodynamic theories to explain the origins and causes of delayed ejaculation.

We can say that the causes of DE lie in emotional issues arising from being in a sexual relationship.

Other emotional disturbances such as performance anxiety, and especially guilt and shame around sexual issues, can severely interfere with a man’s sexual functioning. It’s not hard to imagine that difficulty in reaching climax may be a result of an emotional problem around sex.

Although we think the majority of sexual dysfunction manifests as premature ejaculation, it seems logical to assume that it could equally manifest as a delay in reaching climax….