Dale and Angie had what appeared to be a happy, normal marriage, but they lived with a painful secret. During sex, Dale came before he wanted to for the entire 25-year marriage to Angie. When both kids left home for college, Angie was all but ready to walk out the door. She demanded they start therapy. Dale was skeptical about it, thinking it was going to be a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” about communication and compromise. He didn’t think it could actually help.
Over the years, Angie had read all the basic techniques used to address the problem – things like masturbating more frequently, taking anti-anxiety medication, stopping and starting, and so forth. The only problem was, Dale subtly refused to do any of them. They also did what most couples do and that is to reduce any kind of stimulation to Dale prior to intercourse. Their sex life had become so boring to Angie and anxiety provoking to Dale that when they started therapy they hadn’t had sex in almost 2 years.
What Dale and Angie didn’t realize was that rapid ejaculation is not a problem of too much anxiety in the bedroom. It is fundamentally a problem of too little ability to handle it. When Dale was confronted repeatedly in sessions about the ways he avoided dealing with his anxieties (generally by blaming them on Angie) he didn’t like what he saw in himself. He wanted to change. He finally rose to the occasion and took himself on.
The meaning of his issue and the meaning of sex changed from having to please his wife and feeling angry about it and failing utterly to do so to a desire to challenge himself to be a better person who is less afraid and less manipulative. When this happened everything changed in the bedroom for him. His problem went away relatively quickly. They continued their work in counseling to continue solidifying self and building a collaborative connection that propelled them into greater happiness and intimacy.
Presented to hide client identifying information by Marriage Friendly Therapist, Miriam Bellamy. Her blog can be found at helpingcouplesgrow.com