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Dear Drs. Lewis and Gail Wyatt:

My husband and I had sex after we attended his Christmas party. For the first time in years, he did not come too soon and I was able to climax. Normally, sex is routine, almost recipe sex. He has a premature ejaculation (PE), he’s done for the night and neither of us experiences an orgasm. How can I have “holiday sex’”every day? —Angela J.

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We have to face the reality that at some time in their lives, at least 1 in 3 men have difficulty controlling the length of time they can enjoy sexual stimulation before ejaculating. The time from penetration of a partner to ejaculation can vary from less than three minutes to hours, depending on a man’s health, cigarette smoking, drug use (especially before sex), the prescription and nonprescription medication he takes, what he eats and drinks, and his stress level. Finally, his frequency of PE and your response when it occurs can also significantly affect his ability to retain an erection and to delay ejaculating when he tries again.

Here’s what to know and what you can do:

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Talk to your partner and share the pattern of holiday sex that you have shared with us. Be sure to praise him for what you experienced and ask him why he thinks sex is better for both of you after holiday parties.

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It is possible that your husband may relax at his office parties. He may be doing well at work, feels good about having you with him, and gains respect and some status from interacting socially with his work colleagues with you by his side. Whatever happens at those parties, his stress may be somewhat reduced. Being social could boost his self-esteem to the extent that he is empowered to demonstrate his prowess at home with you.

Experiment to see if the same result can be replicated in other settings, but ones where being social and relaxing is an important part of the evening. The two of you need weekly dates, one week where you plan and pay for the activity, and the next week where he pays for and plans the date.

If PE occurs, try to be supportive and understanding. The more positive you are, the more likely that he will not continue to build up negative expectations about PE.

Go to an adult book or toy store and look for a video on the “Squeeze Technique.” This is a learned method of manually squeezing the tip of the penis when your partner withdraws from penetration and anticipates an ejaculation. Withdrawing the penis each time gives him more control of his ejaculation. Watch the video together and practice.

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Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or a urologist that both of you attend. Ask if your husband’s medical history or the medications prescribed have anything to do with his history of PE. Sometimes small adjustments to medications can make a huge difference in sexual performance. If he has not had an exam in the last year, this is the time to get one.

Make some lifestyle and dietary changes. Smoking anything, drinking or using drugs can change your mood and the vital flow of blood to the areas of the brain and genitals that are needed for good erections. Avoid using any of these substances, especially before sex. Do not eat before sex—digestion will direct blood to the stomach, and you need good blood flow to the genitals.

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When you visit the doctor together, discuss the possible use of Viagra, Levitra or Cialis and how they can help to minimize PE. There are medications available and being developed for premature ejaculation.

Have fun, and happy New Year!

For answers to your questions about sexual health, write to us at justsex@theroot.com. Be sure to include your age, gender, any medications you’re taking and the nature of your sexual problem.

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Gail Wyatt, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist. She is also a professor at UCLA and director of the university’s Sexual Health Program. Lewis Wyatt Jr., M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. He specializes in sexual health and bioidentical hormone treatment.