In today’s Q&A, a reader asks about his practice of excessive masturbation and how it impacts sex with a partner.
I am not even sure if this is a problem. I am a 74 year old male and I love my sex life. I can communicate easily and joyfully about sex, positions, concepts and philosophy, and my lovers are generally open minded and much younger by several generations. My early years of sex exploration and discovery were filled with whore houses, bisexual blowjobs, and lots of off-shore masturbation. Now, masturbation is what my question is about. What is too much? I have been married three times, have grown children, and my masturbation habit has not stopped along the way. In fact, I still really enjoy it. For example, this past “National Masturbation Month” of May I celebrated with over 70 orgasms, but, all of them were solitary. So, this is my problem then: I cannot orgasm, unless I am alone. The upside is that, since I don’t come, I can get hard over and over, Edging, or Carezza-like, 15-30 minutes at a time, four to six times a day, so that my lovers are rarely disappointed in their pleasure, except that I have no “money shot” as proof of my own enjoyment, and then my partner feels that she has failed. What to do? Leave it alone? Stop bragging? Find a “cure”? Count my blessings? ~ K
There are a number of things you bring up in your query, and yes, if you’re concerned enough to write me, there must be a problem. The performance question seems to be the main issue here for you, so let’s address that first. I spoke with a certified sex therapist who works primarily with men–he feels, as do I, that your masturbation habits may be leaving you desensitized. When we adopt a practice and repeat it frequently it becomes hard to create a different sensation because we’ve become used to doing it one way.
If you want to be able to ejaculate with a partner I recommend that you cut back the number of times you masturbate daily; two-three times a day may be too much. Try saving your climax for partnered sex. When you do masturbate make it a more sensuous practice rather than a race to the end. Go more slowly and gently, and use lube–explore masturbation as something that feels good, not just a means to ejaculation.
You seem focused on sex as a goal driven behavior. It’s not. Remember, most women do not orgasm from intercourse alone, so you either have an unusual selection of lovers, are using clitoral stimulation with intercourse, or your lovers are telling you what they think you want to hear rather than the truth.
Since you ask if you should “stop bragging”, I’ll answer. Yes.
I don’t think that enjoyment should be defined by how hard one gets, how many times one can masturbate in a day, or how long an erection lasts. It reduces sex to a mere act, a skill. A notch on the bedpost. What’s more important is connection and a sense of satisfaction that comes from having the kind of pleasure that makes one feel good, or more importantly, makes both people feel good about the experience. Real intimacy and sexual connection is not porn. It’s not about the money shot or degree of hardness or duration of one’s erection. It’s not about proving who wins and who fails. Your inability to ejaculate is not your lover’s fault–that kind of reasoning is not helping either of you–it makes the whole act of sex, which seems to be primarily intercourse, a numbers game.
Masturbation is a practice that helps people maintain good sexual health so I applaud anyone who takes time to explore and expand their capacity for sexual pleasure. Is that what you’re doing? It sounds like you’re working hard at proving you still “have it” at age 74 and as a result you’re losing your ability to connect in a more meaningful way.
Your last sentence is, “Count my blessings?”, do you feel this is a blessing? You wrote to express what I interpret as disappointment in how your sexual encounters are playing out. Where’s the blessing? That you can still get hard? That you’re having sex with much younger women?
It is challenging for men who fear losing the predictable erection of their youth—I’ve talked to men who struggle with that and go to great lengths to try and maintain their erection—as if it’s more important than connecting fully with a partner. I can’t speak for all women, but many of us would prefer a man who’s interested in exploring what gives us pleasure beyond, or in addition to, penetration. We’re not always about the hard dick and I suspect that’s true for younger women as well. A man who comes to a woman’s bed with a desire to please and an understanding that it’s about more than the penis, or his climax—it’s about the whole body, it’s about sensuousness and exploration, mutual pleasure—that’s the blessing.