Know thyself before judging thyself

There are more myths about sex than facts floating all around us. We come across them through word of mouth, cheap books, porn videos, and more. These myths act as the gold standard for people, and they score their sexual performance and life based on these myths. These misconceptions and concepts affect the attitudes and behaviour of the individual regarding sexuality. One widely prevalent myth that men can go on and on day and night is nothing but a male ego booster. Here is the reality check: Men go through a refractory period after each ejaculation, and this period varies from individual to individual and is also determined by various other factors.

What is the refractory period?

The refractory period is the recovery phase between the last ejaculation and the time when you are physiologically ready to be sexually aroused again. During this period, the penis becomes flaccid on receiving the neural signals from the brain, indicating the body to relax. The sympathetic nervous system responsible for controlling the fight or flight response in an individual directs the body to be calm and relaxed. There is a drop in dopamine and testosterone levels and a rise in the prolactin and serotonin levels. Prolactin is the hormone most closely associated with the refractory period — the lower the level of your prolactin, the faster you can get back into action. An alternative theory describes the male refractory cycle in terms of a peripheral autonomic feedback mechanism.

For how long does the refractory period last?

Every individual is wired uniquely, so the duration of the refractory period varies with each individual. Teenagers may only have to wait a couple of minutes to get aroused again, a 30-year-old possibly will have to wait half an hour longer, and the 50s-and-over age group may only be able to have one orgasm a day says Abraham Morgentaler, associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School. He is and also the author of “The Truth About Men and Sex: Intimate Secrets from the Doctor’s Office. According to Morgentaler, the other factors that impact the recovery phase are the level of sensitivity, arousal level, drinking habit, circumcision, medications, quality and emotional state of the relationship, and comfort level of the environment.

What could be done to reduce the duration of the refractory period?

While it is always best to rest your body after each ejaculation, but if you and your partner are all up for several high octane sessions, then “increasing arousal is the fastest way for guys to get back into the game,” says Emily Morse, a sex and relationship experts. Novelty is the key when it comes to higher arousal levels. Explore new ways to amp up your sex life. You can try a new position, explore each other’s erogenous zones, role-play, rev up your settings by playing sensuous music, and with romantic lights and more. The list is endless. The more creative you get, the more adventure you add to your sex life. Fitness and nutrition, like regular work out for at least 30 mins, kegel exercise, and intake of vasodilatory foods, are other significant factors that can shorten the refractory period.

The Resolution!

There are four phases in the sexual response cycle- excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution or refraction. The refraction period varies in each individual, and it also differs in each intimate session. Men need to be aware that a more extended refraction period is in no way an indication of impotence or erectile dysfunction. Age, arousal, and lifestyle are some of the factors that may be responsible for the delayed refraction. It is always best to visit a sex therapist or urologist if you are doubtful about your sexual performance to avoid falling trap to the misleading information from unauthentic sources.