Nearly every week I receive questions from men disappointed and even frustrated that they are unable to have sex for as long as they would like. Of particular interest to me has been their frustration with their inability to 'climb the mountain longer' or the fact that it takes them too long to scale the mountain again.
For this reason, this week, let’s talk about sex; specifically sex as men experience it. The research mentioned here is based on the work of famed sex researchers Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
Based on their work, Dr Masters and Ms Johnson were able to map out the sexual response cycle for both males and females into four main phases:
During this phase, you as a man will experience physical responses such as tense muscles, increased heart rate and faster breathing. You will also experience an erection due to the blood flow that rushes to your genitals and your penis will produce some liquid known as pre-ejaculate. This is what is colloquially referred to as getting “turned on”.
Now, more sexually experienced men may know this but I will say it anyway because certain conversations have led me to believe this fact is not well known: pre-ejaculate contains sperm and can get a woman pregnant. This is important because many unplanned pregnancies happen between couples who touch genitals for a while before wearing a condom, erroneously believing that they are “safe” from pregnancy; they are not. Now that you know, plan (or don’t plan) accordingly.
Masters & Johnson found that in this phase, most of what happens in phase 1 (excitement) is heightened. The plateau phase lasts up until the moment before orgasm. During this phase, a man’s heart rate will continue to be more rapid, his breathing more intense and his skin may even become wet, damp or change in skin tone.
His muscles will tense up and he will experience spasms in his body for example in his hands, feet, torso, face…most men feel as if every muscle can possibly tense up, does. Some men have written to me asking if the sweating they experience in this stage is abnormal; it isn’t.
Your body is just working hard and the sweat is its way of responding to that. Even his testicles become withdrawn into his scrotum, in preparation for the next phase as he approaches the point of climax. This is what we colloquially refer to as “having sex”.
This is the point of sexual climax for the man. By the time he reaches this stage, his heart rate is at its highest, and his breathing more laboured as he hurtles over “cloud line”, or the “finishing line” into his orgasmic climax.
This climax is also characterised by rhythmic muscular contractions that start off at their most intense and then get less and less intense with every passing second. Other characteristics of this stage include involuntary muscle spasms, including in his penis.
This contraction is what pushes out the semen from his body, and what we call ejaculation. For many men, this experience is so pleasurable that they immediately want to repeat the whole process all over again. As far as they are concerned, sex is over and they want to ‘go for another round’ and when that doesn’t happen immediately, they panic.
Gentlemen, there is a reason for that: sex is not over. There is one last phase to come.
Gentlemen, this phase is the reason you just can’t have an orgasm and then hop right back into more sex. As it turns out, God – in His infinite wisdom – pre-installed an opportunity to rest, given all your hard work, otherwise the human male would collapse from a sustained heightened heart rate, blood pressure and breath intake!
It is during this phase that your body begins to return to its normal state of being. In this phase, all engorgement and swelling goes down and back to its regular size. As a result, your body is likely to feel more calm – calmer than you were before you had sex. You may feel completely exhausted, sleepy and even desiring comfort and connection to your partner. Within this phase – and here is a big difference between men and women, sexually – lies a refractory period.
A man will find that until his refractory period is complete i.e. until his penis has gone back to its normal size and he has basically been reset to zero – then sexual activity to the point of orgasm will be difficult or impossible. This is why it takes a while to scale this 'mountain' again.
The solution is to rest, and not rush it because many factors including age, health and more contribute to how long it lasts. Getting some rest and hitting sexual reset is part of your sexual wiring, not some sort of disorder.
I hope this helps you understand what’s happening to you so that you may enjoy all phases of your sexuality with a new understanding. Here’s to a phase-full week!
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