If you’ve ever seen those “male enhancement” commercials that suggest your erections should last hours, just know that most people don’t last that long (or even close to it). And if you are concerned that you really might orgasm too quickly and wonder if you are experiencing premature ejaculation, you’re also far from alone. But whether you genuinely experience premature ejaculation or you simply want to extend your ability to enjoy sex before reaching orgasm, there are several techniques you can try.
So, what even is considered finishing too soon? Basically, men with premature ejaculation experience orgasm three minutes after penetration, compared to the average—about 7.3 minutes, at least according to one study of about 1,500 men.
Of course, there have always been plenty of suggestions for how to last longer—some techniques for men to delay orgasm have been around for thousands of years. A lot of these suggestions don’t have much (or, uh, any) scientific data to back them up, but we think they’re still valuable because of some seriously compelling anecdotal evidence.
“The art of retention begins with the recognition that orgasm and ejaculation are two different functions,” says sex expert Antonia Hall. “By learning to get in touch with what it feels like to not allow yourself to pass the point of no return, you can orgasm without ejaculating—then keep going.”
1. Kegel Exercises
Yes, women do kegel exercise to strengthen their pelvic floor to intensify their orgasms (and tighten up after childbirth), but men should do them too. “By strengthening your pelvic floor, you will have the increased ability to control your ejaculation,” House says. And they’re easy to learn.
2. Breathe Right
Keeping control over your breath and heart rate is also an important practice in learning to retain ejaculation, Hall says. Practice by masturbating to become more familiar with your arousal cycles and take slow, deep breaths through the nose to cool down your rising sexual energy.
“Relieve the pressure and minimize your sensitivity by masturbating a couple of hours before an opportunity to have intercourse,” House says. Because you have less built-up excitement, you are delaying ejaculation. Plus, your animalistic need to quickly accelerate to orgasmic release is no longer the main focus, and instead, you are able to spend time on the experience (as opposed to the outcome).
4. Start-Stop Technique
Through a series of ejaculation-control exercises, you can become more aware of your level of arousal, manage your stimulation response, extend your pleasure, increase your opportunities to bring your partner to orgasm, and control your orgasm, says relationship expert Laurel House. “Sex will be better for both you and your partner, because the longer that you are able to extend your orgasm, the more deeply intense the final release will be,” House says.
5. Pressure Points
Look, this is definitely not science of any kind, but let’s just say we have some solid anecdotal evidence for this one: There’s a pressure point just in front of your anus, and it can delay ejaculation.
“It may take some time to feel out the point, but you should be able to feel an indentation when you press on it,” Hall says. “You’ll be using the three middle fingers of your dominant hand. When you press up, you should be able to feel your urethral tube, which expands when you near ejaculation. You want to push on the urethral tube with your middle finger and press on each side of the urethral tube with the other two fingers. This may decrease your erection a little, but if you’ve hit the right spot, you will stop ejaculation from occurring,” Hall says. Breathe deeply and try pulling the sexual energy away from the genitals—and toward your brain.