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Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

I Can’t Ejaculate with My Partner—Only While Watching Porn

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My partner and I are in our mid-70s. We were both divorced, both 20 years without sex and found each other on a dating site. Now we are lovebirds, together for almost a year. The first week [we were together] was like a dam bursting, a riot of lovemaking. She is very passionate, and I help her to about three orgasms during a session, one oral and two during sex. I am so turned on by her response that we climax together. She enjoys that I can stay hard during the whole session. We truly feel as one. I could not ask for more, almost. I have an emotional and physical release with her, but do not ejaculate. Only pleasuring myself to adult web sites seems to work. Should I tell her and risk her feeling bad or just count our precious blessings? Is there a way to change my habits? I have tried staying off the web to no effect.

Congratulations on your new relationship! It sounds like, as you say, you have many blessings to be thankful for. No one’s sex life is ever truly perfect, and our bodies don’t always behave exactly how we want them to. I think it’s important to explore some of these imperfect behaviors, and improve them if we can, but not get too hung up on changing them to the exclusion of enjoying the good things that are working the way we want.

You say you have an emotional and physical release with your partner, but you don’t ejaculate. Some men are able to have orgasms without ejaculating. In fact, men who are interested in male multiple orgasm will often work hard to cultivate the ability to have an orgasm (the rhythmic contraction of muscles in the pelvis and penis with accompanying feelings of physical and emotional release) without ejaculation (the expulsion of semen through the urethra). If a man doesn't ejaculate, he may be able to maintain his erection after orgasm and continue to engage in penetrative sex. So, having an orgasm without ejaculating is not necessarily a problem, unless you think it is. In fact, your ability to do this may be the key to maintaining your erection, which you and your partner see as a positive thing.

Since you are able to ejaculate while viewing adult websites, it doesn’t seem that you have physical problems related to ejaculation. If you are very concerned about this, though, I would suggest consulting a health care provider. Sexual functioning changes as we get older, and it’s wise to keep your health care providers informed about these changes, even if it can be a little embarrassing to discuss.

Regarding whether or not to discuss this with your partner, I believe that it’s good to be honest when we can. You may want to be upfront with her about this in case she notices that you aren’t ejaculating and has questions about it. Her reaction may depend on how she feels about pornography, so it might be good to have a conversation about that topic first to gauge what her reaction might be. Often, people worry that a partner’s use of pornography means that they are somehow inadequate, which is usually not the case. Some may also believe that pornography is exploitative or offensive. If she holds these beliefs, then an attempt to open up a conversation about ejaculation may be derailed by her feelings about pornography, when to you, that’s not the main issue at hand. It’s important to weigh what is likely to happen if you choose to tell her and what is likely to happen if she finds out that you use pornography to masturbate without you telling her first.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.