Erectile dysfunction (primary and secondary impotence): Often men experience difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection sufficient for penetration. Sometimes there is an organic basis for this dysfunction; a urologist should be consulted prior to contacting a sex therapist. Most often, however, the dysfunction has a psychological basis. Primary impotence refers to a man who has never been able to maintain an erection for purposes of intercourse either with a female or a male, vaginally or rectally. In secondary impotence a man cannot maintain or perhaps even get an erection, but has succeeded at having either vaginal or rectal intercourse at least one time in his life. The occasional failure to get an erection is not to be confused with secondary impotence. Familial, societal, and intrapsychic factors contribute to primary impotence. Some of the more common influences are (1) performance anxiety, (2) a seductive relationship with a mother, (3) religious beliefs in sex as a sin, (4) traumatic initial failure, (5) anger toward women, and (6) fear of impregnating a woman.
Rapid ejaculation: Rapid ejaculation is the most common dysfunction and it is the easiest to treat. Masters and Johnson define premature ejaculation as the inability to delay ejaculation long enough for the woman to orgasm fifty percent of the time. (If the woman is not able to have an orgasm for reasons other than the rapid ejaculation of her partner, this definition does not apply.) Other therapists define premature ejaculation as the inability to delay ejaculation for thirty seconds to a minute after the penis enters the vagina.
Retarded ejaculation (ejaculatory incompetence): Ejaculatory incompetence is the opposite of premature ejaculation and refers to the inability to ejaculate inside the vagina. Men with this difficulty may be able to maintain an erection for 30 minutes to an hour, but because of psychological concerns about ejaculating inside a woman, are not able to achieve orgasm. One of the reasons this dysfunction goes undetected is because the male's partner is satisfied and indeed often is able to achieve several orgasms. Most of these men can readily achieve orgasm through masturbation or in some cases through felatio. Many factors contribute to this condition, some of which are religious restrictions, fear of impregnating, and lack of physical interest or active dislike for the female partner. In addition such psychological factors as ambivalence toward one's partner, suppressed anger, fear of abandonment, or obsessional preoccupation also play a significant role in developing retarded ejaculation.
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