Questions from the Twittersphere: time spent during sex

Here’s a question Carol received from our “Tweet with the Queen” time on Twitter:

If a guy doesn’t climax after 20 mins of foreplay and 30 mins of sex does it mean the sex is terrible?

Oh, this is an awesome question! No, it doesn’t necessarily mean the sex is terrible at all. It might be so great that he’s trying with all his will not to let it end — so many people, of all genders, are trained to think that when a guy comes, the sex is over, that many men try hard NOT to climax! And that can train a man, whether he intended to do so or not, to have a hard time coming at all. (Of course, in reality, the sex doesn’t have to be over until everyone involved has had enough fun, or until it’s time to catch the bus for work, whichever comes first.)

Other reasons he may have a hard time coming: He may have some sort of emotional issue with the sex he’s having (guilt, for instance), or he may have issues with sex in general. All kinds of things are possible here, from body image issues –even gender issues, believe it or not– to having had sexual problems that make him less in touch with his body. Many people don’t think of guys as potentially having had nonconsensual or problematic sexual experiences, but of course, some *have* had such experiences and are as likely as everybody else with that history to “check out” when things get too intense in bed. He might even have a physical issue that affects his ability to come, or be on medication that impairs orgasm — many meds have this unfortunate side effect.

If you are asking this because you’ve had sex with a guy who didn’t climax, and you find yourself having sex with him again, consider asking, “Is there anything else you’d like me to do? Do you have favorite or special kinds of stimulation you like?” Make it clear you are interested in his having a good time, and see what he communicates.

Tweet! –CQ

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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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