How Medium helped me to discover my sex life is all wrong
These days everyone has to have something to complain about, and the very best topic for trouble is of course sexuality.
Until a few days ago I thought I was an exception to this general rule because I’ve always enjoyed sex, have few if any hangups about anything physical, and have very little ego investment in sexual performance.
But I was wrong. Oh boy, was I wrong.
I’m not suffering from Erectile Dysfunction (ED) even though in a few blinks of an eye I’ll be a very ancient sixty-one years of age. I can still go from “normal everyday life mode” to “hello darling” in thirty seconds or so and stay hard for a long, long time.
Which is, it turns out, the problem. Apparently I’m suffering from Delayed Ejaculation (DE).
And that, gentle reader, is apparently A Very Bad Thing Indeed. I learned all about DE via the Internet in a Medium article.
So it must be true.
Some context may be helpful before we go any further. If you’re sitting comfortably and have at least one defibrillator nearby, we can now delve into the murky recesses of my psyche with regards to sexual behaviors.
Take a deep breath, because this is going to require some time to explain.
For me, sexual intercourse is primarily about connection. It’s about mutual exploration, a pleasurable kind of dance that two people perform based on mutual desires and compatibility. It’s unplanned, unstructured, and unforced. At its best it’s a deeply intimate experience that brings joy to everyone concerned. It’s emotional, physical, and sometimes intellectual. If we’re brave we bring everything of who we are into the mix and we expose ourselves because we’re confident in who we are and know we can deal with rejection if that happens.
Sexuality is most certainly not about politics or performance or ego gratification or any other externality. It’s rewarding by and for itself.
As such, it is a universe into which we can enter thanks to the cooperation of one or more other human beings. For this reason I think self-loving or self-partnering or whatever other self-isms may be floating around out there are significantly different. With interaction comes uncertainty; with self-whatever there’s no external variables that can completely change the dynamic. That’s not so say self-loving is not as good as or not as rewarding as sexual intercourse with other people but it is to say that solipsistic activities cannot contain the degree of exploration that comes from inviting others into our deepest selves.
And sure, lots of people are wholly immersed in themselves when they fuck so it’s nearly the same as masturbation, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the sex I personally enjoy, which is profoundly about connection.
When I am enjoying something I like it to continue for as long as possible. If I’m listening to the Bach Mass in B Minor (which perhaps ought really to be called the Mass in D Major, as that’s the dominant key, but let’s not pick at musical nits) I don’t want to rush to the final chords. If I’m watching the Royal Shakespeare Company performing King Lear I don’t want them to dash headlong through the play to get to the final lines: “Look on her, look, her lips, / Look there, look there!”
The more I’m enjoying something the more I want to remain immersed in it for as long as makes sense. Therefore when I’m enjoying sexual intercourse with a partner who’s compatible and who’s enjoying it at least as much as I am, it’s natural that we’ll both want to sustain it for a while.
How long? Forty-five minutes, an hour, or longer, depending on mood and circumstances. As I’m ancient now, I expect somewhere around 90 minutes is probably the longest I’d want to sustain things. And quickies can be fun too, at around 20 minutes or so.
But apparently this is A Very Bad Thing. Apparently, the modal value for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is slightly less than five minutes. Hence thanks to Medium I now know I’m clearly suffering from DE.
To be fair, I do know that I’m somewhat unusual in my approach to sex. I’ve had several (always US) women ask, “are you not into me?” after the first several minutes have passed without me ejaculating and then rolling off to fall into an instant slumber.
I’ve had to explain that the more I’m enjoying something the more I want it to last. And of course I’ve also had to bring activities to their conclusion when it’s become apparent my partner has had enough. But in general I’ve found that most women also enjoy prolonging the activities, adding in variety, talking and laughing and exploring together. For some it’s been the first time in their lives they’ve not had to race to their own orgasm in order to achieve satisfaction prior to their partner finishing and becoming somnolent.
But according to Medium, prolonged sex leads to urinary tract infections and kidney disease, not to mention potentially missing the start of a sporting event on TV. Perhaps soon we’ll be told that DE also leads to neurological damage, various forms of cancer, and (most dangerous of all) a lamentable tendency to attempt to reason things out from empirical facts instead of falling back on soundbites and amusing GIFs and hashtag memes.
Welcome, therefore, to the terrible world of Delayed Ejaculation. Woe betide those who fail to cum within the prescribed time allotted for they shall be diagnosed. And, given enough time and enough pharmaceutical investment, no doubt expensively treated with pro-ejaculation drugs. Which will have side-effects, thus necessitating anti-side-effect drugs as well.
Illness is truly a wonderful life gift.
But here’s what I think: we’re all different. Some are tall and handsome while some of us are short and very average in the looks department (I don’t blame you, mum; I know it wasn’t your fault…). Some have enormous penises while most of us have average-sized appendages (OK dad, this genuinely may have been your fault…). Some people like bizarre confections that take twelve minutes to explain to the barista while most of us just order cappuccino with fat-free milk.
When you put two incompatible types together in bed it’s going to be difficult or impossible to arrive at mutually satisfying sex. One woman I knew used to climb on top, cum within sixty seconds, and then roll off and fall asleep, leaving me bemused and relying on my sense of humor in order not to feel somewhat disappointed. I expect there are many women who’ve experienced the same phenomenon with male partners.
Best of all is when both people (if we’re talking about those lamentable situations in which the bed is required to provide comfort for only a duo and not a triple or quad entanglement…) are more or less fully compatible. Because then, whether it’s all over in five minutes or in fifty-five minutes, there can be connection and intimacy and a sense of shared experience that is unlike most other things we humans can do with each other.
So I think I’ll persevere with my unfortunate DE ailment and do the best I can with this unfortunate handicap.
Even if it does mean that my genitals will explode, my nostrils will become clogged, and my right buttock will wander off to Thailand on its own, courtesy of #MyPackageHoliday it once glimpsed on InstaChatApp when I accidentally sat on someone else’s phone.
After a prolonged bout of mutually enjoyable sexual inter-exploration.