Some time ago a client came to me for treatment of premature ejaculation. Like most men, he had suffered with this condition his whole life. Married many years, he reported with great sadness that his sexual difficulties had so eroded his relationship that his marriage was on the brink of collapse. His wife had given him a final ultimatum: get fixed or get out.
I explained the course of treatment and we began. All went well until it was time for his wife to join us. Despite his initial success and my encouragement, she steadfastly refused to attend sessions. She would not even speak with me on the phone. Since this was not her problem, she would not be involved in its resolution. She simply wanted him “fixed.”
Months passed. My client called again, reporting some progress. His wife had agreed to read literature about PE aimed specifically at wives. What did I have? I went to the Internet. Nothing. I appealed to a sexologists’ list serve. They suggested couple’s therapy. Hmm.
Therefore, I designed this month’s Hot Topic for the wives of men who suffer with timing their ejaculation. My hope is that when you finish reading this, you will be inclined to join your mate in counselling, for they need you there with them. In the meantime, I hope this column will address your needs.
Many of you have lived for years hoping that perhaps this time sex will be fulfilling, that he will last long enough for both of you to enjoy the connection and intimacy that intercourse can bring. Then he comes fast again. He mumbles he is sorry. You look away, tell him it’s all right, and soothe him. You both turn away from each other, silent and disappointed.
Eventually you avoid his touch. You do not let yourself give in to the expectation of arousal and release. What’s the point? You accommodate his advances so you don’t have to have a discussion or, worse yet, a scene. You feel like a receptacle. You resent him. This is not what you signed on for. Why doesn’t he do something to fix this!? God knows, you’ve been patient, forgiving and loving. Inside you start turning to ice.
As time progresses, your frustration leaks into other areas of your relationship. You no longer view him as someone you can count on. The respect and admiration that once made you breathless is long gone. He becomes just another child to be tended. You can’t even rage at him about this given men’s fragile egos. You consider an affair but reject the idea, for you know the only way you can maintain your family and your sanity is to deny your body any touch. The first whisper of sensual pleasure and you know your defenses would collapse. You are a prisoner in your frozen world. You hate him for this. You cannot punish him enough!
Now he goes to therapy and says he is better. On the few occasions you submit to intercourse he is just as nervous and incompetent as ever. He tells you his therapist says it will be that way until you come in for treatment, too. No way are you falling for that! You have been hurt enough. Why should you risk any more?
I have an answer for you.
You should risk now because your mate and his therapist are telling you the truth. He has gone as far as he can on his own. He has done weeks’ worth of masturbatory exercises (and in some cases taken pharmaceuticals) to learn a new sexual response language to replace the one that did not work.
When he comes to you, the sexual scene is the same. He needs this, too, to be different, and he cannot do this alone. As a team, he and I want to teach you his new language so that you two can speak it together – cautiously and haltingly at first – until slowly and lovingly you become fluent lovers once again. Joyous, relaxed lovemaking awaits you.
I am not so naïve as to believe this is happening in a relational vacuum. I want to see you alone as well as with your mate. I am well aware of your need to vent and to grieve. I understand that you have sacrificed your own sexual expression and may be hopping mad. I realize that we must repair other areas of your relationship as we mend your sexuality. You have been silent for too long. Now is the time to have your story heard in an environment of safety and solace.
Are you afraid that it is too late for you? Do you think that your sensual, responsive nature is hard and dry now, that it can no longer be awakened? It can.
You are no more frightened than your man was. Your stakes are the same. Your reward for taking this risk is also the same – a chance to reconstitute the promise you two made so long ago, buried under disappointment, good intention, and inadequate communication.
Please consider joining your husband in his treatment for PE. It offers not only a chance to repair your beleaguered sex life but also an opportunity to work on the damage done by the effects of dashed hopes, disappointments, and unresolved anger. So much more is possible. Isn’t the risk worth the chance of renewing your relationship?