You’re having the time of your life.

It feels like hours have gone by, but it’s only been a few minutes, and suddenly you’ve collapsed, exhausted, in between the sheets. Your partner is lying next to you, either satisfied or wondering why the sexcapade had to end so soon.

Does this sound familiar?

I know I’ve been there, and if you have as well, don’t worry. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, a nonprofit medical practice and research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, “occasional premature ejaculation is normal and (…) the average time from the beginning of intercourse to ejaculation is about five minutes.”

According to the website, premature ejaculation is defined as “the inability to delay ejaculation for one minute after penetration,” and it can happen with or without a partner.

If only I’d read this years ago, I could have saved myself some nervousness about my adequacy — or lack thereof — in bed. Five minutes is average. Who would have thought?

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That being said, there is no shame in having a legitimate medical condition. Some media might say otherwise, but medically defined premature ejaculation does not make you inadequate. This condition is common and treatable. If you have concerns about this, please see your regular physician. No judgment here.

That nervousness that I and a lot of other guys might feel indicates a large-scale societal misunderstanding or false expectation.

Our society pressures women to achieve ridiculous standards when it comes to body image, but men also have some pressures, only different.

We expect ourselves to be gods in the sack, going for hours, sending waves of pleasure rippling through our partners’ bodies. When we fail to deliver our own expectations, it’s only natural for some of us to be a bit disappointed.

But when we examine that idea logically, it doesn’t make sense. Not everyone can fit one standard, one body shape or one idea of sexual appeal. However, that’s not what some media would have you believe.

Just look at men’s health magazines. You will always see a guy, ripped with perfect, six-pack abs on the cover, except for the cover of the October 2009 issue — the one with President Obama in a suit.

I’m all for physical fitness, but for me, a woman doesn’t have to fit the exact “36-24-36” measurements in order to be attractive, and a man shouldn’t have to last for hours.

It’s time to give ourselves a break.

According to a Brisbane, Australia-based psychology website, visionpsychology.com, the stress and societal shame associated with premature ejaculation, even if a man doesn’t have it, can trigger future episodes. In layman’s terms, stress can damage otherwise healthy sexual performances.

So what if we can’t go for hours? That certainly doesn’t mean we’re not willing to go again. I can’t speak for every man, but I’m not a “just-one-and-done” kind of guy. If you’re feeling frustrated because you feel like your partner might have unrealistic expectations, the best thing you can do is talk to each other.

However, it’s just like anything else: No one can make you feel inadequate unless you let them. No man has continual five-hour-long sex sessions without finishing a few times, and that’s okay. To think otherwise is just unrealistic.

In the end, there’s only one person’s opinion about your sexual performance that matters: your own.

Email Timothy Lyman at timothy.lyman@cardinalpointsonline.com

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