How to last longer in bed
Reviewed by our clinical team
There are many reasons why you might not last as long as you'd like in bed. At some point or another, most men experience this feeling. You could be experiencing performance anxiety, stress, premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction (if you find it difficult to get or maintain an erection during sex).
The good news is that there are behavioural changes, health tips, and in certain cases, even prescription treatments for premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED) that might help you last longer in bed.
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Why can’t I last longer in bed?
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common ejaculation problem and one which affects most men at some point. Usually, PE is when you regularly ejaculate within a minute of penetration. However, if both parties are happy and fulfilled then there is nothing to worry about. On average, men are more likely than women to define an orgasm as ‘premature’.
Diagnosing PE can be tricky, as one person’s opinion of what counts as ‘premature’ might be different from another’s. But doctors usually define PE by three factors:
- Ejaculation which frequently occurs within one minute of penetration
- Men who have difficulty in controlling ejaculation
- Men who find sex frustrating or distressing and tend to avoid it
Common causes of premature ejaculation include:
- Prostate or thyroid problems
- Relationship problems
- Anxiety about sexual performance – especially when you start having sex, you’re with someone new or you’ve had problems with PE in the past
There are two types of PE – lifelong or acquired PE.
This is often psychological, and starts when the man first becomes sexually active. It can then remain a lifelong issue.
This usually occurs later in life and can be caused by both psychological and physical factors. Stress, anxiety, depression are all possible causes.
PE isn’t the only condition that can affect a man’s sexual duration. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when you can’t achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sex, and this can include losing your erection during sex.
ED is a common condition, and, like PE, most men will experience it at some point. Sometimes ED is psychological but often it is a symptom of an underlying physical cause, such as high blood pressure. It's always best to have a health check to rule out the possibility of your ED being related to a more serious underlying health condition.
If you think you have ED, you can take a free online assessment through our ED clinic.
If you find yourself worrying about how long you’ll last in bed, then you could be suffering from performance anxiety - ‘nerves’, essentially. Practically every man will have experienced some form of performance anxiety. Normally it is nothing to worry about. However sometimes anxiety can develop into premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
Ways to last longer in bed
Whether you experience premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, or whether you just want to hold out longer than you already do, here are some tips on how to last longer in bed:
- Foreplay - Sex is more than simply penetration. Foreplay can greatly increase the sexual experience in terms of both time and pleasure.
- Behavioural Techniques - Try the ‘squeeze technique’ (squeeze the penis tip near climax to prevent ejaculation), and the stop-start technique (reduce simulation when nearing climax).
- Mental Distraction - An old classic. During sex focus your attention on something non-erotic, such as times tables. This can reduce the enjoyment of the act itself but is often effective in delaying ejaculation.
- Slow Down - Generally, the faster the man has sex, the quicker he ejaculates. Rapid, hard thrusts result in a faster climax. A slower, more measured technique means the penis tip is less stimulated and ejaculation delayed. It also allows for greater control over ejaculation.
- Masturbate - Masturbation is perfectly healthy and natural. Masturbating regularly can help build up your stamina and enable you to last longer during sex. You can also practice behavioural techniques while masturbating, so you are more comfortable using them during sex.
- Condoms - Condoms decrease sensitivity and therefore usually increase the time taken to ejaculate. They also have the added bonus of preventing sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies.
- Communication - Make sure you let your partner know what works for you and what doesn’t. An open attitude towards sex should also relax you more and reduce the nerves that can cause quick ejaculation.
Techniques that help a man ‘unlearn’ the habit of premature ejaculation. Such techniques are most likely to produce lasting results.
Therapy and counselling
Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are often psychological. Counselling allows you to address the underlying issue. The counselling can be combined with a medical regime that addresses the problem in the short-term. Once the counselling has resolved the issue, medical treatment can be ceased.
Pelvic floor exercises
Regular pelvic floor exercises, often known as Kegels can help manage erectile function Practicing fast and slow Kegels 3-5 times a day can help build up and train your pelvic floor muscles. Strong muscles in this area can aid blood flow and increase control over ejaculation.
Find out more about Kegels for men.
Lifestyle & diet
Your lifestyle and diet can impact ED. Eating healthy and keeping active keeps your blood vessels in good health which is important for ED as it’s essentially a blood flow issue. By avoiding eating lots of red meat, full fat diary and sugary foods, and replacing them with fruit and veg, you’re likely to be and feel much healthier.
The same goes for alcohol. It can be high in calories and sugar which isn’t good for your health. Also excess alcohol consumption can cause ED.
Men who regularly experience PE or ED may find treatment is the best option. There are a number of easy, effective treatments for both conditions. We talk about prescription treatments below. Counselling is another highly effective option for psychological causes of ED and PE.
Medicated treatments for ED
A number of prescription treatments are available for erectile dysfunction such as Sildenafil as well as Tadalafil, Vardenafil, Viagra, Cialis, Spedra and Levitra. Essentially, they all help you gain and maintain an erection by increasing blood flow to your penis; helping you last longer in bed.
For more information and advice visit our ED online clinic.
Medicated treatments for PE
Priligy (dapoxetine) is a prescription tablet which delays the chemical reactions that cause ejaculation. Taken orally, it has been shown to be very effective.
EMLA (topical anaesthetics)
EMLA is a cream applied to the penis to desensitise nerve endings which are part of the ejaculation process. Although unlicensed as treatment for PE, EMLA is commonly prescribed and used with much success. Wash it off afterwards.