Psychological Causes

Emotional And Psychological Causes of Slow Male Orgasm & Ejaculation

In the 1950s Masters and Johnson did some work on men who had trouble ejaculating. They listed the emotional and psychological causes of delayed ejaculation like this:

  • psychosocial factors (meaning behavioral patterns and relationships, life events, personality traits)
  • developmental factors (which means traumatic experiences around sex and problems with gender identity, difficult relationships within the family, and problematic or challenging attitudes towards issues of sex in the family)
  • personal factors (which means things like anxiety, depression, guilt, low self-esteem, lack of sex education, influence of cultural stories and beliefs about sex, and a poor body image)

Other people have suggested causes as varied as

  • fear of castration
  • fear of pregnancy
  • fear of relationship commitment
  • sexual performance anxiety
  • dissociation and spectatoring during sex
  • rigid religious attitudes and pressures which cause sexual guilt, avoidance of sex and hostility (towards one’s partner or oneself).

Video – Causes of Male Sexual Problems 

Relationship Issues: A Cause Of Delays For Men Who Are Slow In Coming?

It’s obvious relationship issues are very important in sexual problems.

I mean, if you have doubt about your commitment to your sexual relationship, you may not want sex, you may not get very aroused, and might not even come.

Or maybe you unconsciously decide to stop ejaculating as a way to hold some power… And while that sounds a bit passive-aggressive, believe me, it happens.

Or perhaps a man who is emotionally “uptight” fears letting himself go – he must be in control at all times…. but the thing is, when you come, you have to let go of control. So – no orgasm, no loss of control. Simple.

But other researchers suggest the correct explanation for delayed ejaculation is the simplest – there’s not enough sexual stimulation for the man to reach orgasm.

This could be because the couple are just not exciting each other any more (and maybe they never did). However, many men have these ejaculation problems all their lives, so maybe that idea’s a bit too simple to explain slow ejaculation?


Bernard Apfelbaum believes that some men with delayed ejaculation are actually more interested in sex with themselves than sex with a partner.

He calls this being “autosexual”.

Are such men selfish? Perhaps not.

Perhaps men like this are TOO concerned with pleasing their partners.

Maybe they focus too much on their partner’s pleasure at the expense of their own. Perhaps they simply don’t know that they have sexual needs, or for some reason they can’t or don’t know how to take care of their sexual needs… but for some reason they always put their partner first.

delayed ejaculation
Excessive focus on your partner may cause a man to develop delayed ejaculation. He experiences much less during intercourse.

And what’s more interesting is that because they are so focused on their partner, they don’t notice how much sexual stimulation they are receiving or how aroused they are.

That’s why Apfelbaum came up with the concept of “partner anorgasmia”: because some men only show symptoms of delayed ejaculation when they are with a partner. 

Yet we know men with delayed ejaculation often have a hard and prolonged erection. Strangely, they only have low levels of sexual arousal.

Apfelbaum believes that this hard and often long-lasting erection is really some kind of automatic response to being sexual – and its function is more about fulfilling the needs of the man’s partner than fulfilling his own.

Apfelbaum says that men who have delayed ejaculation or are slow to ejaculate greatly desire to satisfy their partner before they satisfy themselves. In fact, they put their partner before themselves. They are just too responsible for their partner’s pleasure.

And that means the man cannot get sexual pleasure. As a result the man’s partner may feel unattractive and unable to turn him on.

And there is some evidence this may be right – research has shown that men who take ages are not very aroused.

So it seems this low level of sexual arousal is a key diagnostic sign in delayed ejaculation.

And of course, there are other explanations for DE. Maybe for some reason the man’s penis is not very sensitive. Maybe a couple don’t not have an ideal environment for sex. The man or woman may have some physical problem that spoils sex or prevents orgasm – an example would be painful intercourse (dyspareunia) causes by Peyronie’s disease or phimosis.

photo of phimosis
Phimosis does not allow the foreskin to be drawn back.

A complete medical examination might be useful whenever delayed ejaculation rears its head. But also check out your emotions, your physical condition, and the state of your relationship. They can all play a part in causing delayed or – as it is sometimes known – retarded ejaculation.

Personality Characteristics Of Men With Slow Orgasm

Men often want to believe there’s a physical cause for their difficulty in reaching orgasm because this is easier to cope with than the idea of an emotional or psychological cause.

Yet if you look at the problem, emotional factors are never far below the surface. For example, men with delayed ejaculation often experience is a sense of disappointment around sexual intercourse.

Why? Perhaps because me who have difficulty in this area have been brought up in an environment where sex was somehow “taboo” or there was shame or guilt associated with it in the family.

The outcome of such an upbringing can be very serious repression of a man’s  sexuality, so that he is out of touch with his own sexual feelings, and therefore out of touch with his sexual connection to his partner.

What tends to make delayed ejaculation more prominent is that very often there is the additional factor of a hard and unyielding childhood environment which forces on the kid a sense of psychological toughness.

When you think about this, you can see that a boy in this situation has to deny his own vulnerability.

But for a boy who denies his vulnerability and then grows up into a man unable to open up to a female partner, you can probably see how sex is not going to be particularly rewarding – or even possibly exciting.

Being cut off from your own feelings is a handicap in every area of life, emotional, physical and sexual.

But there are other problems in the origin of delayed ejaculation as well.

sexual pleasure
Most of us can separate fantasy and reality easily enough.

Most people can move between an erotic fantasy life and their everyday world reality – for example, one might just start a sexual daydream or sexual fantasy for no obvious reason, and then slip back into the normal, everyday world when something brings your attention back to everyday matters.

But some men with delayed ejaculation find it quite difficult to make the move between their erotic internal fantasy world and the “real world” – probably because the internal sexual fantasy world is somehow threatening to them.

Now imagine that you’d been brought up in such a way that you found the whole concept of sexuality and entering into sexual feelings threatening. Wouldn’t you wish to avoid sexual contact, or anything which opened you up to a sense of vulnerability with your sexual partner?

In fact, wouldn’t it be more likely that you’d want to avoid even having a sexual partner?

Because what could be safer than having sex with yourself?

No threat. No vulnerability. No need to open up.

So there’s a kind of logic here which suggests that some men – though certainly not all – who have difficulty ejaculating (or who can’t ejaculate at all) haven’t had the normal experience of sexual development that goes along with being male in our society.

And in passing, it’s worthwhile noting that there are probably a lot of men who have had these experiences in childhood who develop premature ejaculation – which you can also see as the consequence of anxiety and anger and fear around sexual feelings and thoughts.

But what it all comes down to is this: delayed ejaculation problems usually indicate that a man is cut off from his own sexuality and his own capacity to be fully sexual and sexually confident.

He may not get aroused, and he may have negative associations with sexuality in general, or with male sexuality in particular.

So how can he find a way to be sexually aroused and to relax into the sexual experience with female partner?

The Essence Of Delayed Ejaculation

The essence of the problem is that he can’t function in a relaxed, comfortable and confident way when sex or sexual contact is available.

And this can manifest in many ways: the simplest is not being able to ask for what he wants in a sexual situation. In fact, he may not even know what he wants in a sexual situation.

And obviously one of the ways of dealing with this is to become over-attentive to the needs of his partner.

The very mechanism of a man’s sexual arousal might be blocked, so that a man who is being touched sexually by his partner doesn’t become aroused, even if he develops an erection.

You see, what you have to understand here is that while the body can become aroused in response to physical stimulation, a man can remain UNaroused mentally and emotionally.

All of these observations allow us to draw a few conclusions about the …

Characteristics Of Men Who Have 
Difficulty or Trouble Ejaculating

In some way they don’t have a close connection with their own sexuality, or perhaps even with male sexuality in general.

This is a bit like being cut off from oneself – it’s almost like a denial of part of you. And many of us know, it’s easier to deny a part of us than to face the pain it holds if it’s been wounded in childhood. In fact that’s a standard defense mechanism.

Because of the disconnection between what’s happening in the world and one’s awareness about oneself, it’s entirely possible that many men with delayed ejaculation may be completely unaware of what’s causing their ejaculatory dysfunction. And then it’s natural enough for a man to blame it on something physical like an insensitive penis.

As you can probably see, changing a man’s perceptions when this threatens his very identity, or threatens his innate sense of security, is going to be challenging – to say the least!

And if a man can’t even sense the connection between events “way back when” and his current sexual problems in adulthood, the situation becomes even more complicated.

One of things that can make delayed ejaculation even more difficult to deal with is the fact that our society has lost the normal rites of passage between boyhood and manhood.

Initiation rituals into manhood, and rites passage from one lifestage to another were commonplace in our history, but they hardly exist at all in our modern society.

This can’t be helping the development of confident male sexuality.

And the consequences of this are subtle and wide ranging.

For example, being cut off from sexuality in this way may actually prevent a man from expressing his maleness – even from responding to sexual stimulation.

This kind of deprivation – for want of a better word – makes a man unable to express feelings and emotions around sexuality, to ask what for he wants sexually, and perhaps even to be unaware of what he needs or wants sexually.

In the face of this difficulty you can see how a man could easily retreat into a place of wanting to satisfy his partner sexually, and indeed basing his sexual self-esteem on being able to do so.

Hence, perhaps, the attention a man with delayed ejaculation may offer to his partner at the expense of his own (and felt and unwanted) sexual needs.

And there’s a level of inhibition which can go even deeper than this – I mentioned how men with difficulty in this area might be avoiding a loss of control at the moment of orgasm and ejaculation. (By not ejaculating, I mean.)

But there are many other possible explanations for difficulty or delay in ejaculating – shame or guilt about sex; fear of women; anger against women, which is not felt consciously but may be held in the unconscious; the memory of previous traumatic experiences; and many more besides.

Finally it’s worth mentioning that male sexuality is surrounded by myths which put pressure on men in many unexpected and subtle ways: you can probably work out for yourself the nature of many of these societal and cultural myths about sex, but let me give you a few examples…..

Men should be ready at any time to satisfy woman. Men are always ready for sex, no matter what. The only thing men want is sex. Men think about sex a hundred times every hour. Men are insatiable. Men are rapists. Men are uncaring. Men only want to have sex. And so on, and so on, and so.

Simple, powerful, effective solutions for men who have difficulty coming during intercourse