Dear Level

Yes, Your Partner Has a Problem With Your Stamina in Bed

Unlock your inner Energizer bunny

On my very first date with my now partner, I made one thing clear. If this works out and we end up in bed together, I told him, please know this: I will never, ever get on top during sex. Ever.

(He was only slightly horrified, but he told me later that he appreciated the brutal honesty.)

So why no woman on top for this woman? Over the years, I’ve found that some lovers depended on me to do all of the work while they lay flat on their backs, enjoying the view. That’s fine occasionally, but if you’re not mixing it up, any repetitive position can go stale quickly. Especially one in which you resemble a starfish.

Why do cis-het men prefer their partners on top? Often, it’s because they’re exhausted. Combine a long workday with household responsibilities (not to mention a pandemic), and my male friends say that sex is sometimes a means to an end. And woman-on-top allows them to rest.

Respectfully, that’s some nonsense.

The average man takes between five and seven minutes to reach orgasm. (If you’re personally familiar with delayed ejaculation, that number may be much higher.) For a woman, it can take as long as 20. So, we’ve got women on top, burning plenty of calories, sure, but likely not making it to the finish line before their partners — who then may have the nerve to fall asleep immediately. Hmph!

Women are understanding about many of the things that make men feel self-conscious (including, yes, that). We like the full experience of having sex and accept your idiosyncrasies the same way you accept ours (and you better!).

However, there’s one aspect of things we do get a wee bit judgmental about: stamina.

For the sake of this discussion, we’ll define sexual stamina as how long you can last in bed and how much strength you’re bringing all around. If you prefer your woman on top, have an orgasm after six minutes of intercourse, and then fall immediately asleep, you might need to work on your endurance.

One of my friends told me that her partner actually uses a numbing agent on his penis before they have sex. That’s a dangerous game; the more you use that, the more hair-trigger you become without it. Besides, why would you want to take yourself out of the moment?

Before we break down what that might look like, let’s get a quick PSA out of the way. If you think you have a low sex drive or any sort of bladder issues, get to a doctor, post-haste. FYI, Black men need to get a prostate screening beginning at age 45. (It only takes a few minutes! Uncomfortable minutes, maybe, but still not very many of them.)

Got the all-clear? Good. Now get some dumbbells. Good sexual health begins with good physical health, starting with exercise. Make sure you have some kind of strengthening routine. Not only is it essential for your body to maintain posture and bone health as you grow older, but in the short term, it also keeps you limber enough to make like a bar crawl and hit all the right places.

Now, let’s head to the kitchen. I won’t tell you to toss out all the pandemic-era snacks; life’s too short to not eat ice cream. But I do want to see some potassium in that fridge. It boosts metabolism and is essential for keeping your muscles hydrated. That doesn’t just mean you can lift more; it also means you can do more — bedtime included. Just don’t think of it as a pre-sex enhancement; a banana beforehand isn’t Viagra.

Speaking of Viagra… let’s head to the medicine cabinet. Pills for erectile dysfunction are relatively safe, most are affordable, and they get the job done. If you need help with any kind of erectile dysfunction, holler at your doctor to see if you can get a prescription. Alternatively, there are tons of natural supplements — from horny goat weed to maca powder to plain old vitamin E — that are touted as stamina boosters. (Speaking for myself, though: Skip the supplements. There’s very little evidence to support their claims, and most are not cosigned by the Food and Drug Administration.)

Now, to the bed we go. If you want to hold off longer, you can do what some call pregaming. If you know you and your partner will go at it after dinner or before work, masturbating beforehand may help you last longer during intercourse. One of my friends told me that her partner actually uses a numbing agent on his penis before they have sex. That’s a dangerous game; the more you use that, the more hair-trigger you become without it. Besides, why would you want to take yourself out of the moment?

And as always, don’t skimp on foreplay. Every second counts.

As for the main event, just try to control the speed of things as best you can: Slow your strokes, focus on her, switch positions when you need to get your composure back. And whatever your favorite position is — and hopefully it’s one that works for her as well — save it for the grand finale. Especially if it gets you over the finish line faster than anything else.

Now, if only someone could figure out how to keep y’all from falling asleep right after. There’s no blue pill for that. Yet.

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.

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