So I'm in this group therapy session conducted by Dr. Verleen Thunderpants, a clinical psychologist specializing in sexual dysfunction, sitting in a semi-circle with eight other men, all of us "suffering" (if that's the proper word) from chronic premature ejaculation, and desperately seeking a "solution" (if that's the proper word) to our problem.
Although I would have preferred a male therapist for something so sensitive (not to be indelicate, but don't women have a vested interest in this?), Dr. Thunderpants was the psychologist assigned to us. Because our health insurance coverage was paying for the sessions, we were obliged to take what was offered.
As it turned out, Dr. Thunderpants was an extremely capable therapist. She was smart, personable, articulate and entertaining. Perhaps looking to lessen the tension of our inaugural session by introducing a bit of humor, she referred to our group as her "pre-jacks." Alas, it was a clumsy move, because instead of mellowing us out, the term embarrassed us.
She began the session with a brief but deferential nod to the intransigence and raw majesty of Nature. With our therapy group hanging on every word, she summarized the whole thing in a couple of elegant sentences, driving home the point that in the Animal World, and in the milieu of the caveman, there is and was no such thing as premature ejaculation. The concept didn't exist.
On the plains of North Africa, 100,000 years ago, our ancestors never would have considered anything so abstract as this. There was a sex drive, there was animal attraction, there was copulation, and there was procreation, but there was no such thing as courtship, seduction, foreplay, intimacy, or concern for mutual satisfaction. Those concepts were "invented" much later, most likely in England.
Not only was life on earth extremely brutal 100,000 years ago, but a "real man" (Dr. Thunderpants' chosen term), a man whom Nature specifically intended to be governed by testosterone and musculature, was, by definition, a premature ejaculator.
That was the way males were designed, the way they were set up on the drawing board. Except there was nothing "premature" about it. All sexual orgasms were fully "mature," fully realized, complete unto themselves, exactly as Nature intended. The entire male gender were simply "ejaculators," plain and simple, something any junior high school kid would understand.
Of course, this observation had a salutary effect on the group. Instead of feeling inadequate, being told that we had been specifically designed by Mother Nature to have quick climaxes made us feel virile. Acknowledging the subsequent humanization and attention to bedroom etiquette that has occurred over the course of many centuries, Dr. Thunderpants went so far as to describe premature ejaculation as simply a form of "bad manners," akin to belching in public.
This was a relief to hear, especially from a trained professional. No guilt, no self-doubts, no angst. The session ended with her asking each of us to write down (anonymously) on a sheet a paper what we considered the definition of premature ejaculation to be -- the exact amount of time. We wrote down our responses, turned them in, and she read them aloud.
The majority of us placed the figure at about two minutes. One guy defined it as 30 seconds, which was met with looks of pity and suppressed laughter. Even our therapist appeared mildly alarmed. Another guy defined premature ejaculation as "anything less than 20 minutes." This response would have annoyed us if we hadn't assumed that Dr. Thunderpants herself wrote it.
David Macaray is a playwright and author ("It's Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor").