I am 32. I had my first sexual encounter when I got married in 2013. The marriage didn't last long -- she took off on grounds I wasn't satisfying her in bed. I started dating a few months later but she also didn't last -- for same reasons. I haven't tried many drugs but I am a bit desperate now.
It is clear that things have been difficult for you in terms of intimacy. My understanding is you were sexually inactive up until the point of your first marriage in 2013, at which point your partner left as a result of her sexual dissatisfaction and after which you got a second wife who is also sexually dissatisfied.
It would have been good to know what constitutes “unsatisfactory” sex – e.g. premature ejaculation, low sex drive, frequency of sex, excess fatigue during sex etc – because it would have guided my thinking with regard to your situation. All the same, let us explore some options for the information that we do have.
See a doctor
My first recommendation is that you seek the opinion of a GP, also known as a family doctor. The reason for this is that it is important to establish that there are no underlying medical issues causing your problems sexually.
These include (but are not limited to) diabetes and related blood sugar imbalances like low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), hypertension (high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, overactive or underactive thyroid) or even anemia (low blood count). When you do see your doctor, please let them know that your sexual function is of importance to you.
If they discover a medical condition, they will treat, advise and/or refer accordingly. If they find there is nothing going on from a biological perspective, you can rejoice that you are in good physical health, which would bring us to the second evaluation.
See a shrink
My second recommendation would be for you to seek the support of a qualified psychotherapist or psychologist -- preferably one conversant with sexual function and dysfunction issues. The reason for this is because it is important for you to explore your sexual history with someone who can help you notice some of what may have gone unnoticed, i.e. your blind spots.
Some of what you will explore with your therapist will be questions such as, ‘how did you come to learn about sex? ‘Who taught you about sex?’, ‘what did you learn about sex?’, ‘what did you learn about marriage?’, ‘what hopes, desires or concerns did you have about sex and marriage?’ Believe it or not, a lot of what affects our sexuality is hinged on destructive, untrue and scary messages that we received about sex from an early age.
Are you happy?
My third recommendation is you explore the context in which you are attempting to have sex. Are you happy? Do you like your partner(s)? Are you proud of the life that you have created for yourself? These may sound like simple questions but you would not believe how often people complain about sex when, in fact, it is the fact that they don’t like, love or respect the people that they’re having sex with.
When it comes to sex, happiness and satisfaction while clothes are on are critical. Their absence can very easily interfere with what you are trying to do with clothes off. Remember also that men – women too, but particularly men – are very sensitive to things like stress, anxiety – and especially anxiety surrounding their sexual performance, self-doubt, self-hate and anything that could be construed as negative.
This is why it is important, actually critical, that men wishing to have great sex learn how to manage their stress because stress is an erection killer. It gets in the way of both desire and performance so managing stress is likely to have major pay offs by increasing both sexual desire and sexual performance.
Examine the facts
While I don’t know the details of your wives dissatisfaction, I would like to take a pause and encourage you to question some of what you hear. Too often, blame is passed around when, in fact, what’s really going on is a misunderstanding of facts. It is a fact, for example, that a man’s sexual response cycle is different from that of a woman. While a woman’s body allows her to experience several cycles back to back, leading to multiple orgasms, a man’s cycle requires that he take a break of at least 15 minutes and often longer in-between each cycle.
This means a woman’s expectation of ‘all night loving’ is not based on reality. Furthermore, the older a man gets, the more time he needs between each sexual experience. There’s nothing wrong with that; this is not the failure of a man’s sexual function but the normal functioning of his sexual response cycle. While many people brag about having sex for extended periods, the average male will have penetrative sex for about 5-7 minutes. Yes, the experience of sexual connection (foreplay, intercourse, post-coital bliss) can last much longer but intercourse itself is actually considered to be sufficient if it lasts more than 3 minutes.
Finally, let me caution you against assumptions; resist the temptation to assume that a partner is unhappy or whatever else you may be assuming. Work with facts. If you suspect dissatisfaction, ask about it. If you think you know what it is, find out the specific ideal that you would like. Instead of saying “I wish I could last longer”, challenge yourself to a more concrete expectation like “I wish I could last 5 minutes” so that you have a goal to either work towards or disabuse yourself of with proper psychoeducation.
You may have noticed that I have focused most of this information on you and what you can do. This is because, at the end of the day you must step into the role of nurturer and protector of yourself and your sexuality. Of course, your partner’s voice and input matters. However, they cannot be held responsible for your sexual experience. You must do that -- and that’s both the good news and the bad news. The better news is that you don’t have to do it alone and no matter the cause, it is my belief that there is always something that can be done to help you improve your sexual experience or change it all together.
I hope you feel that you have a tangible plan that you can put in place. I wish you the best and the sort of successful intervention that will allow you to have a happy, healthy sex life.
Maggie Gitu is a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist. She can be reached at [email protected]