When Ejac-“elation” Becomes Ejac-“frustration”

Andrew Siegel MD  2/13/2016


(Fireworks, 8/2007, author AngMoKio)

In the arena of male sexual dysfunction (MSD), ejaculation problems play second fiddle to erectile dysfunction (ED). Today’s entry explores common issues with ejaculation other than premature ejaculation, which I have previously addressed: https://healthdoc13.wordpress.com/tag/premature-ejaculation/

What my patients tell me: 

“It takes me too long.”

 “I can’t ejaculate.”

 “It happens, but not much fluid comes out.”

 “It just dribbles out with no force.”

 “I barely know that it happened; I just don’t get the same feeling that I used to.”

One would think that MSD is the same as ED, which seems to get all the press. However, MSD is more complex and all-encompassing than having soft or short-lived erections, which is just one aspect of MSD. Sex drive (libido) is an important part of the picture. Ejaculation is another vital component. With regard to ejaculatory issues, premature ejaculation (rapidly achieving climax) gets all the attention. However, there are other ejaculatory issues that contribute in a major way to MSD.

The processes of having an erection and ejaculating are separate, even though they usually occur at the same time. However, it is possible to have a rock-hard erection and be unable to ejaculate, and conversely, to ejaculate with a limp penis. Regardless, it sure is nice when the two processes harmonize. All things being equal, with a good quality erection, ejaculation will be more satisfying.

Why is ejaculation better with a rigid erection than without?

The urethra (tube within the penis that conducts semen) is the “barrel” of the penile “rifle.” It is surrounded by spongy erectile tissue called the corpora spongiosum (“spongy body”) which constricts and pressurizes the “barrel” to optimize ejaculation and promote the forceful expulsion of semen, the “ammo.” The word ejaculation derives from ex, meaning out + jaculari, meaning to throw, shoot, hurl, cast for a good reason!

Additionally, the pelvic floor muscles play a key role in the process of ejaculation. The bulbocavernosus (BC) is a compressor muscle that surrounds the spongy body and at the time of ejaculation it contracts rhythmically, sending wave-like pulsations rippling down the urethra to forcibly propel the semen in an explosive eruption, providing the horsepower for forceful ejaculation. This BC muscle engages when you have an erection and becomes maximally active at the time of ejaculation.

Issues with ejaculation are extremely common complaints among middle-aged and older men. These are often bothersome and distressing, and include the following:

  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Absent ejaculation
  • Skimpy ejaculation volume
  • Weak ejaculation force and arc
  • Diminished ejaculatory sensation

Ejaculatory problems often correlate with aging, weight gain, the presence of lower urinary tract symptoms and ED. The older you are, the heavier you are, the more that you are having problems with urination and obtaining/maintaining an erection, the greater the likelihood that you will also have ejaculatory problems. This is often on the basis of an age-related decline of sensory nerve function as well as weakened pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, aging reproductive glands produce less fluid and the ducts that drain genital fluids can obstruct. Furthermore, medications that are used to treat prostate enlargement can profoundly affect ejaculatory volume.

So What’s The Big Deal Anyway?

Most men do not appreciate meager, lackadaisical-quality ejaculations and orgasms. Sex is important and getting a rigid erection is vital, but the culmination—ejaculation and orgasm—is equally important. We may be 40, 50, 60 years old or older, but we still want to point and shoot like we did when we were 20 and desire to retain that intensely pleasurable feeling of yesteryear.

Delayed Ejaculation

I have previously addressed this topic:


Absent Ejaculation

This is part of the spectrum of delayed ejaculation, except in this instance, climax is never achieved. Alternatively, it happens with surgical removal of the reproductive organs, as occurs with radical prostatectomy or radical cystectomy for prostate and bladder cancer, respectively.  It can also occur in the presence of  neuropathy, e.g., with diabetes and other neurological disorders. In these circumstances, orgasm can still be experienced, although ejaculation is absent.

Skimpy Ejaculation Volume

This is very common with aging as the reproductive organs “dry out” to some extent. It also happens with certain medications that either reduce reproductive gland secretions (Proscar, Avodart) or cause some of the ejaculate to go backwards into the urinary bladder (Flomax, Rapaflo, Uroxatral).

Weak Ejaculation Force, Arc and Sensation

What was once an intense climax with a substantial volume of semen that could be forcefully ejaculated in a arc several feet in length gives way to a lackluster experience with a small volume of semen weakly dribbled out the penis.  These issues clearly correlate with aging, weakened pelvic floor muscles and ED.

Bottom Line: In addition to sex drive issues, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, there are a spectrum of other male sexual problems that are bothersome and distressing.  With aging, weight gain and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, ejaculation and orgasm often become less spirited, with diminished volume, force and trajectory. However, there are solutions!

 To Optimize Ejaculation:

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: good eating habits, healthy weight, engage in exercise, obtain adequate sleep, consume alcohol in moderation, avoid tobacco and minimize stress.
  1. Pelvic floor muscle training: Whereas a weakened BC muscle may result in semen dribbling with diminished force or trajectory, a strong BC can generate powerful contractions to forcibly ejaculate semen. Keep the BC and the other pelvic floor muscles fit through pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29


A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.

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