Every man has been there once or a billion times before. He’s played one round of ball and is ready for the next. Well, at least mentally he is; his penis has other ideas. Why is a man’s penis benching him for a few innings before he gets his next at-bat? Simple, it’s the refractory period, or what’s known as that magical time between erections when the little head stops thinking for the big one (at least for a little while). Every man (and woman) has this built-in time-out, but they vary widely, depending on a host of things. Let’s break down the mystery of the refractory period and how to exercise a little influence over the natural reset button of your penis.
Erection Physiology: After the Big O
Okay, let’s look at the physiology of the penis immediately post-orgasmic glow. Once the penis ejaculates, the whole body is just coming down from its big internal bang. The sympathetic nervous system, the one that controls the fight-or-flight response, tells the body to calm down. The body’s messengers, the neurotransmitters, tell the smooth muscle in the penis to contract, relaxing it into a flaccid state. This then lowers levels of testosterone, which controls libido, and dopamine, which excites arousal. In concert, the body increases prolactin, which also counteracts arousal. Prolactin is the start of the refractory period show – it is the main component that drives the time-out. The body also then kicks out oxytocin, which relaxes the body, and serotonin, which tells the body it’s time for a nap, and thus you have your refractory period.
Going Deeper: The Prolactin Response Self-pleasure vs Partnered-Pleasure
Ever wondered why you could be ready to go again in minutes after a solo session, but have to wait a full 12 hours after intimacy with a partner? Blame it on the prolactin. Research shows that prolactin release is 400 percent greater after intercourse than when ejaculation is self-induced. Why the difference? Researchers believe it could just be that partnered intimacy is more physiologically satisfying than masturbation (think of it like eating really good pizza and microwave pizza – the amazing pizza fulfills the craving while the crap pizza leaves the craving not totally fulfilled).
How Long Do Penis Time-outs Last?
The male refractory period depends on a handful of factors. The biggest factor is probably no surprise – age. Teenage boys are usually ready in minutes. Studies show that most men over 30 will need to wait it out for 30 minutes or more. Men over 50 may only have 1 chance at orgasm each day.
Aside from age, there are other factors, some of which a man can control, that affect refractory periods, which include:
– Level of arousal
– Level of penile sensitivity
– Drug or alcohol intake
– Prescribed medications
– Quality and emotional state of your relationship
– Comfort in the environment
– Stress levels
Another big factor is just the individual. All men are wired differently, so some may naturally have 3 at-bats in their 70s while others will just get a shot or two in their 20s. Blame your parents.
How to Shorten the Break
There is wisdom in letting the body do its thing (or not do its thing, as the case may be); however, sometimes a man may find an occasion to want to speed up the rain delay, right? The number one way to do that between innings is to increase arousal. Here are a few ideas for upping the urge:
– Change the location – You don’t have to leave town to rent a hotel room or (safely) have a circa-teenage-years romp in the car
– Change the time – While just-before-bed sex is great, sometimes a little 3 am quickie, morning wake-up, or afternoon delight can do the trick
– Add a toy (or two)
– Change the scenario – Time to pull out that fireman’s costume from last Halloween!
– Talk that talk – Whether it’s talking dirty, telling stories, or sexting, a little intellectual (okay, maybe not totally intellectual) stimulation can be a powerful thing.
Penis health is also a major contributor to refractory periods. Keep the penis healthy with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, and a great stress management routine. Add a little extra to the mix with a specially formulated penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil , which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to give your penis a boost! These oils include lots of healthy vitamins for strength and vigor as well as for keeping the delicate penis skin soft and supple.