Ask a Sexpert – I’m a Late Bloomer who Struggles to Maintain an Erection after being Hooked on Porn and Masturbation

Posted on 31/05/2017

I am 24 years, a late bloomer who lost virginity as an adult around 22 years. I had previously been hooked on porn and masturbation. Unfortunately I don’t get quite a rock hard erection, and it decreases much when I am with a partner as compared to during porn and masturbation sessions. I find it hard to maintain an erection capable to penetrate and fulfill my woman, let alone the Premature Ejaculation that I also suffer.

 

It takes a huge amount of honesty and courage to acknowledge you’ve been hooked on porn and masturbation. To have seen a connection between this and your issues with partnered sex suggests you’re worried about the negative impact of your experience and that you’re keen to explore what could change.

 

While there’s split opinion amongst therapists about whether porn and masturbation can be classed as a clinical ‘addiction’, it can become ‘compulsive’ – which means that your drive to use it has been hard to resist and, at worst, impossible to control.

 

A down side of porn use is that it can contribute to patterns that are unhelpful to real-life sex. This isn’t the case for everybody – I’m not an advocate for banning all porn – but it’s important to recognise when your well-being is affected and to consider what’s going on for you.

 

For example, you may have become used to a very detached style of genital-focused masturbation, meaning you struggle to connect with what happens holistically within your own body during partnered sex. Connection with self is a precursor to connection with others so it may be even trickier for you to tell what’s happening within your partner/s.

 

Masturbation can often be rushed, especially if you’ve feared being interrupted and disapproved of or become used to seeking a quick, formulaic release. Your body may have established a pattern of ejaculating swiftly that once served a purpose but now leaves you concerned about your capacity to satisfy your partner/s. Porn may have taught you that sex ‘should be’ a certain way based on gender roles and stereotypes and that a man ‘must’ last a certain length of time in order to live up to expectations. Perhaps this has left you feeling inadequate about your body or sexual ability.

 

If you’ve been stuck in the cycle of compulsivity, you may have been using porn as a way of escaping low mood or difficult emotions. It really is a vicious circle because once the pleasure has subsided there is space for guilt, shame and negativity to arise again, acting as a trigger for you to repeat the experience.  There’s also the idea that porn can desensitise you, interfering with your arousal template so that it’s more difficult to be turned on by real-life women and monogamous, vanilla sex, if that’s what your sex life is about right now.

 

It’s unlikely that you’ll have stopped using porn just because you’ve found a partner/s. But even if you’re using porn less often or can manage prolonged periods without it, I’m interested to know about the range of emotions you’ve been left with. As a therapist I’m also interested to know more about your personality and how your understanding of sex has been informed by past experience since you describe yourself as a ‘late bloomer’.

 

I’m also noticing that it’s only been a couple of years since you started having partnered sex. I’m wondering whether you’re struggling with sexual confidence and I’m questioning how openly you’re able to share what you want and enjoy.  It sounds like there is a potential impact on your self-esteem and ability to engage fully in relationships.

 

It’s important to remember that ‘real’ sex can be very different from what you’ve seen on a screen or in a magazine.

 

If I was working with you, I’d be encouraging you to try new styles of solo masturbation based on a greater range of physical sensations, the power of fantasy and the premise of self-love. I’d be inviting you to explore with your partner/s so that you begin to create a shared sexual world that surpasses anything you’ve experienced alone with porn.

 

My suggestion is to slow everything down, spend more time on foreplay and take the focus off penetration during partnered experience. Try to open up your sexual communication and find ways to relax with your partner/s so that you feel more comfortable intimately.

 

All this will help you to feel more present and connected with your partner/s, encourage you to occupy your own body more fully and deflect the anxious thoughts that often occur with premature ejaculation.

 

You might want to seek the help of a Sex and Relationship Therapist if you feel the need for more guidance to work through this. You can be supported to break the cycle of compulsivity, empowered with psychological techniques to bring the brain, mind and body back into synchronisation and offered strategies for starting to engage with mutually satisfying, meaningful,  real-life sexual experiences. Feel free to get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this further.

 

If this post has whet your appetite for more information, you’d like some tips on tantalising techniques or have a specific question about sex, love or relationships, drop me a line via our Ask a Sexpert service!

 

Have fun!

 

Rhian XOXO
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