Men and Sex
Concerns about performance and anxiety about sex are normal. Indeed they’re common, perhaps universal, in men. After all, many men feel they may not be good enough. It’s what is known in the Psychological World as a Sovereign wound. After interviewing 125 men of all ages for their book “What Really Happens in Bed”, Steven Carter and Julia Sokol concluded that “all men have sexual anxieties”.
More specifically: young men are anxious that their inexperience will show; they are also typically anxious about premature ejaculation and whether they know enough about female anatomy.
Middle-aged men are worried that their erections are not as firm, or quickly achieved, as they were when they were in their late teens and early twenties.
Older men worry that erections are less frequent, less firm, and more temperamental.
There is good reason to believe, therefore, that there’s nothing abnormal or unusual about men’s being anxious about sex. Indeed, since sex is so fraught with difficulties, risk and threats, there is no wonder that the Magician archetype – read about it here – is active in the form of an internal “Safety Officer” in so many men.
Another place where our ideas of normality are way off the mark is in the area of sexual problems. Such problems, most of us think, are rare. But is that really the case? A review of community studies by llana Spector and Michael Carey found that about 7 percent of men have chronic erection problems, while about 37 percent suffer from chronic rapid ejaculations.
The same review found that about 5 percent of men have difficulty ejaculating with their partners and about 16 percent complain of low sex drive.
That’s a lot of male sexual problems. And some difficulties weren’t even considered. These included a sex drive that’s extremely different (higher or lower) to your partner’s, and dissatisfaction with the experience of sex even though there aren’t any functional problems.
To add to this, we need to recall that most men occasionally don’t function as they desire. In Shere Hite’s large sample of men, 65 percent answered “yes” when asked if they had ever had difficulty having an erection when they wanted one, and 70 percent said they had ejaculated more quickly than they had wanted on at least one occasion.
I hope the point is clear: Sex problems are normal and typical. I know, I know, all of your buddies are functioning perfectly and never have a problem. If you really believe that, well…..just take it from me, it’s not true.
In case you’re wondering about women, one authority found that about the same proportion of women as men have chronic or sporadic problems with sex; these include difficulties getting aroused and having orgasm, painful intercourse, and low desire.
For both men and women, it seems, sex problems are not unusual. While I grant it doesn’t feel good when you have a problem, it’s just part of the human sexual condition. The Lover archetype – you can read about that here – is a very tender and delicate thing!
Once you have those issues out of the way, ensure that you are bringing lots of passion to your lovemaking, which you can do by engaging in lots of foreplay and communication with your partner.
Sharing what you want to do with them, or discussing sex with them before you go into the bedroom, can bring you closer, establish intimacy, and make sex less inhibited.
This can be especially useful if one of you wants to experiment in bed and the other is more restrained and needs encouragement to open up sexually.
What About Masturbation?
In America, the vast majority of boys start masturbating sometime during puberty, and most of them continue to pleasure themselves for the rest of their lives. Estimates are that about 70 percent of married men sometimes stimulate themselves (as do a similar percentage of married women).
Although there is nothing abnormal or unnatural about self-pleasuring, many people feel ashamed or guilty about it. It seems selfish and too explicitly sexual (you can’t pretend you’re doing it for anyone else’s benefit or for anything but sexual pleasure).
A real man, we think, would be able to find a partner with whom to have sex rather than being left to his own devices.
If he already has a partner, then why on earth would he want to have sex by himself?
A married man, although still enjoying sex in his fifties, expressed his concern like this: “I’m embarrassed about this, but I’ve masturbated once a week or so all through my marriage. It’s not that my wife leaves anything to be desired. She’s a wonderful sex partner and rarely turns me down. But there are times when it just seems easier to do it myself. This isn’t taking anything away from what we have together, it’s just a separate thing. I think she’d be shocked and hurt if she found out and I wouldn’t know how to explain myself.”
It’s understandable that masturbation should make us feel uneasy. Sex by oneself for one’s own pleasure – where even the pretence of trying to conceive didn’t exist – was always at or near the top of the worst sexual abuses in Western cultures, the mere mention of which was enough to send religious and medical “experts” into a state of hysteria.
The terms they used to refer to the act -“self- abuse” or “self-pollution” and “the solitary vice”- reflect their attitude. It was only about forty years ago that the American Medical Association and the Boy Scout Manual dropped their opposition to masturbation.
Although virtually all medical and psychological experts today consider the activity quite normal, we aren’t that far removed from the days when it was considered anything but normal. Here’s some information on why men in relationships might masturbate.
Despite its reputation, masturbation actually has a number of uses and benefits.
For example, it’s fun, one of the small pleasures of life. What’s wrong with making ourselves feel good? In masturbation you don’t have to look your best, and, as Woody Allen put it, it’s sex with someone you love. Here’s some information on male archetypes and sexuality.
You don’t have to concern yourself with anyone else’s feelings, desires, or goals. You can do whatever you want for as long or as short a time as you like and get whatever you want out of it.
Partner sex, while certainly having advantages of its own, does require that we carefully attend to the desires of our partner and synchronize our behavior with hers, and that’s not something one always wants to do.
Even if you’re committed to partner sex as the best way of satisfying your erotic needs, there may, be times when you don’t have a partner or the partner you do have isn’t available because of illness, fatigue, or something else. Why deny yourself sexual pleasure at such times?
If you would like to understand how the different parts of yourself interplay in your sexual experiences, a great way to learn more is to study the theory of archetypes: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.
Masturbating in certain ways can help overcome sexual problems such as erection difficulties and rapid ejaculation.
The only sense in which masturbation can be said to be bad is when a man regularly uses it as a substitute for sex with his partner.
That is, whenever he feels sexy he satisfies himself and rarely or never wants sex with his partner. Understandably, the partner may feel less than ecstatic about this state of affairs.
Usually something else is involved.
The man is unhappy about either the partner or relationship, about himself or about sex with her. And of course, he may be unhappy with his tendency to premature ejaculation.
Because most of us still feel somewhat uneasy about masturbation, we may try to hide it. When a man is walked in on by his partner while masturbating, instead of simply acknowledging what he is doing, he often denies it. How much better and easier if he could just say what he was doing.
Yet it’s possible the woman may not feel good about what he’s doing, just as he feared. She may feel that her attractiveness or skillfulness is inadequate if he masturbates even though she’s available.
Such feelings need to be talked about. Especially when they concern sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
They stem from our culture’s narrow view of sex. The only rules necessary for good sex are consent (if you’re doing it with someone else, they must agree to the activity), honesty (don’t say things that aren’t true), and responsibility (it’s not right to make babies when you don’t want them, to spread disease, or to behave in ways that are disrespectful of your partner).
Aside from these things, anything goes. It’s perfectly fine to masturbate even though you have a sexual partner, it’s fine to masturbate in her presence or with her participation, it’s fine for the two of you to masturbate together, and it’s just as fine for either of you to stimulate yourself during an erotic encounter together.
Just because you have a partner who’s available to have oral sex or intercourse or any other sexual activity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always want to engage in that activity with her. There are times when you may simply prefer to stimulate yourself despite your partner’s availability.
As far as I’m concerned, the same rules apply to self- stimulation as to any other sexual activities. If whatever you’re doing isn’t hurting you, your partner, or your relationship, why not just enjoy yourself?