The sexual dysfunction men are praised for that may be masking a mental health issue

Lasting longer in bed is seen as something to boast about but could it be masking a mental health issue? [Photo: Getty]
Lasting longer in bed is seen as something to boast about but could it be masking a mental health issue? [Photo: Getty]

Lasting a long time during sex is something many men might aspire to achieve, but Ben Bidwell has revealed that delayed or failed orgasms could in fact be masking a mental health issue.

The life coach, Instagram star, and co-host of the Naked Professors podcast opened up about his own intimate issues on podcast ‘White Wine Question Time’, produced by Kate Thornton in association with Yahoo UK.

Ben revealed that years of burying his feelings had manifested sexually, having an impact on his ability to orgasm.

“I wasn’t going through sexual satisfaction, I couldn’t orgasm,” he told Kate.

READ MORE: The orgasm gap: Women climax a third less than their male partners, but why?

Ben says it was the mistaken belief that being able to show his feelings wasn’t ‘manly’ that lead to him feeling disconnected.

“I’m kind and compassionate and I stripped that because it wasn’t manly. But my body rebelled and it showed up sexually.”

Ben certainly isn’t alone in finding it difficult or impossible to climax, in fact between 1-5% of men suffer from delayed ejaculation (DE), also called male orgasmic disorder or absent ejaculation.

Though many men assume lasting longer to be a source of pride, for Ben, and many of the other male sufferers the condition can lead to a sense of frustration and distress.

“I definitely felt frustration,” he told Kate. “I didn’t actually feel a huge amount of shame. I was quite open with it, because actually I could talk about it as a man. It wasn’t unmanly – some of my friends called it a gift at uni.

“You could go on – it was almost kind of a quite a good status symbol and with that came respect,” he added.

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Who are you when no one is watching? How silly do you become when your favourite music is playing & there’s no one there to judge how you move? How passionately do you sing when there’s no one there to hear you? How brilliantly can you speak your truth when no one else is around to question it? * Our soul, that natural energy inside of us, craves self expression. It doesn’t want to be trapped or repressed, it desperately wants to be expressed & to show up fearlessly, free from judgement. * It’s our mind that stops us from living free. It focuses on our challenges, speaks to us in a negative way that creates fear & stops us from trying, in doing so we limit what we are truly capable of. Our minds rational dialogue is great for keeping us safe, but whilst feeling safe is important, we mustn’t forget our soul’s energy. * Be vulnerable enough to show up & express your creative talents without fear of judgement, you might not be for everyone but a real connection with a few is more powerful than a basic one with many. Underneath the stories we make up in our head about needing to be validated by others, we find the freedom to remove our masks, it’s then we can sing & dance authentically & be at our playful best, regardless of whose watching. I know it’s not easy (I’m still working on it for sure) & I know it risks our status of looking cool, but it’s this kind of #freedom that makes us feel truly alive 🕺🏼❤️ * #mentalwealth #mentalhealthmatters #authentic #vulnerability

A post shared by Ben Bidwell (@thenakedprofessor) on Apr 17, 2019 at 9:51am PDT

But for Ben it lead a lack of satisfaction and intimacy within his relationships.

“It killed some relationships I’d been in and it stopped some relationships from blossoming,” he explains.

In the end, when he reached 30, and being more open to meeting someone and settling down, Ben decided it was time to seek help.

A friend of his started seeing a mind coach following a rugby injury and he plucked up the courage to ask if she might be able to help him with his own issues.

When asked by Kate what the mind coach suggested, Ben explained that she didn’t actually touch on his sex life, just encouraged him to open up about how his mind was working and trying to encourage him to get more in touch with his feelings.

And it seemed to have an impact.

“Sexually it didn’t change immediately, but I really noticed a change in myself,” he said.

“To be able to work with someone who wanted to tap into emotions really helped. That was the start of my journey. Over the next seven years, I learnt more about myself,” he continues.

READ MORE: Could sleeping apart from your partner mean more sex?

Though he says that the sex aspect is still ongoing, it has certainly improved.

“I’ve opened the doors for the sex aspect to change, but I’ve still got to walk through the doors,” he explains.

“I needed to change things from a physiological perspective in how my body reacts.”

Kate praised Ben for opening up about his sexual struggles, explaining that while women often discuss issues within their own sex life, men rarely do.

“It’s great to be so open about this. I have so many conversations with girl friends about this kind of thing, but I’ve never heard man say it. It’s really important for men to open up about these issues.”

What’s more opening up can help to address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing or even causing the problem.

The Sexual Advice Association recommends sex therapy as a means of overcoming male sexual problems.

“Sex therapy is talking therapy where an individual or couple work with an experienced therapist to assess and treat their sexual and/or relationship problems,” the site reads.

“Together they will identify factors that trigger the problems and design a specific treatment programme to resolve or reduce their impact.”

Your GP or another health professional on the NHS may be able to refer you for sex therapy (depending on area), or you can contact a therapist directly and pay privately.

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