Boyfriend's self-esteem

I'm writing in because I am concerned about my boyfriend. We've been together for nearly two years and known each other for five. We have a fantastic relationship and he's loving & giving in every way possible. However, our sex life is struggling. We enjoy playing with toys and own most of lovehoney !! I have plenty of sexy lingerie and will wear it whenever he wants me to. The accessories side of things isn't an issue... What is an issue is his low self-esteem. He doesn't "last" very long in bed. I've told him that this is FINE that I don't CARE and that I don't get off through penetration but this doesn't seem to alleviate his fears. This fear is leading him to not initiate sex and sometimes we can go for over a fortnight with so much as a fumble. We're very touchy/feely as a rule but moving it past that seems to make him have a mental block ! I've suggested counselling but he won't go. I suspect he feels like this because his b*tch ex cheated on him at least once with other guys (and I found evidence on facebook to suggest she was cheating on him for at least the whole of the last year of their relationship) and maybe said some things to him which are echoing around his head. He denies this could be the case but recognises that being cheated on can have an effect on self-esteem.

How can I help him to have a better self-esteem in bed? I've trawled the internet for help on this and now I'm getting desperate.

Sorry to hear you're having trouble.

Sadly, such things as cheating can have an effect on self-esteem. Even if it's not conscious, subconsciously it can throw barriers your way. I'm assuming based on the context, when you say he doesn't "last" you're meaning to say he can't sustain an erection rather than he orgasms too quickly.

I dont know much of what your whole bedroom experience together is, but do you ever initate sex yourself? I know personally I have difficulty doing it as a girl, but your fella may be having trouble feeling under pressure that he has to initiate it and perform for you. If you were able to get the ball rolling, it may give him a confidence boost and make him feel more desirable.

Also, foreplay can be a big thing. Perhaps try extending the buildup to sex, and maybe even have some occasions where playing with each other is the main event and forget sex altogether. Also try and depend on your own natural talents rather than toys - these may be becoming a crutch for him to lean on and stimulate you with since he may feel he's not up to the task himself.

There are a few products on LH which are designed to help with erectile dysfunction, but in your case I believe that the problem is psychological rather than physical and buying such a product may end up doing more harm than good. My advice is to do your best to make him feel desirable and loved, and do your best to make it not an issue when things go wrong during sex.

There was a recent thread by a man suffering something from a similar issue, he asked for a bit of advice and found things very supportive and he received a few suggestions. It helped him get over the general crap that society portrays and get real opinions and ideas he unlikely would of got.

Getting him on here might be somewhere for a confidence boost as I'm sure many of the OA will testify!

It might also be worth a forum search... there might be answers that help in other threads. Good luck!

Hey, WandA, was it the thread Magic Hand's started you had in mind? May be some useful info there.

All good advice above too.

T'was indeed TL!

Good advice already. Can I suggest also that getting over the idea of sex meaning penetration too! Things have been way better with my partner (my problems in our case) since we got over that hump and now can go a while without penetrative sex as the oral and other sexual acts feel like full sex to us. I would say we have sex every day, but we have PIV sex a lot less frequently. No need to last long in oral - you can stop and start easily!


Sure, Alone4ever, there might be some cross over points that would help out either case but I think there are a lot of different issues in either situation with very defined factors at play.

Hi, Starsparkle, nice cupcake. May I ask do you and your lover communicate a lot whilst you're at play? When he's satisfying you in ways that don't involve penetration it can be easy to forget a little vocal encouragement. You can tell your man he blows your mind a million times during a sit down conversation but it has a much more potent effect when you say it during the act. It's a great boost to anyone's ego.

Sorry to hear he's had some girlfriend trouble in the past but it sounds like it might be best for both of you to think of her as ancient history who isn't worth the time of day. If you've got any connections to her on facebook, I would delete it and spring clean any associations with her from your lives in general.


Thanks for the responses.

I think I should clarify something - when I say he doesn't "last" very long I mean he ejaculates quickly, we've never had a problem with erectile dysfunction.

As for me initiating - that's the only way I've been able to have sex with him since about the first fortnight we got together! In the beginning he was OK but then he gradually lost his confidence and now he never initiates at all. When we go for over a fortnight without having sex it's because I've gotten sick of being the one who always has to start things off. Once we get going he's OK but he'll never initiate. This really annoys me and is a massive turn-off though I don't let him know that.

As for foreplay - that's mostly what we do when we have sex. I'm really encouraging and we talk dirty to each other the whole way through. Once he's "in the zone" it's like he's OK but then he loses his confidence as soon as he climaxes quickly.

I've got a magic wand & he'll whip that out quite early on in the toying and so I always get off during sex.

The issue we have is that no matter how much I tell him penetration doesn't matter and that I don't really get off from it he's really hung up over the fact that he doesn't last more than about 5 minutes once penetration starts. We've tried different positions but he doesn't seem to be able to keep from blowing his top really quickly !!

How can I delay him? Maybe it'll make him feel better if he manages longer than 5 minutes? He's got a real hang-up about this.

starsparkle wrote:

How can I delay him? Maybe it'll make him feel better if he manages longer than 5 minutes? He's got a real hang-up about this.


Hi, Starsparkle, a lot of members have found a little practice makes perfect so using some self love to try and prolong your personal record has been found to be very useful. Some find accessorising with goodies from the Tenga range: are a dream.

There's a great range of delay condoms that often contain a little numbing agent at the nub. You don't have to splash out and they really do work.

The French Letter has built-in cock rings:

Speaking of which, vibrating and non-vibrating cock rings have also got some great pleasure delay effects to them, as well as having the potential to heighten your enjoyment too.

Sounds like you're very understanding of his situation, which is one of the most important things he'll need.

Sexual Technique

When it comes to bedroom sourced solutions, you might want to try some positions where you are more in control. Missionary is notorious for being counter productive. Try some girls on top action and if your man is getting too close, swap to a different position.

Another great tip for when you're going down or providing some manual relief is a pinch to the penis. If you're man is about to come, stop what you're doing and firmly but gently pinch around the head of the penis with your thumb and index finger. Let go and wait a few seconds before he signals that you're back on track.


Make sure you're man is getting enough sleep, exercise and is destressed before you begin. They can all play havoc with your play time.

Hope there's a few ideas to help,

Tigerlilies x

LoveHoney - Bot says:

Please remember that everyone can contribute to threads and offer advice.

If you have been through a similar situation, it's great to offer tried and tested help but please be polite and remember that other people will respond too.

Insisting that forum members be directed straight to the people who have been in this type of situation before will make a thread feel very closed and could prevent some great answers from being posted.

Each person is able to explore threads on their own and this nature of "you should alert this topic to me because I know best" has been quite prevalent recently.

Be kind, be courteous, add your advice and don't take anything too personally. Intonation is hard to convey through the internet so instead of taking offense straight away, take a step back and breathe. Come back to it at a later date and you will probably feel differently.

Here is a reminder of the rules for everyone.

Sorry Bot if that was for me!

The forums have been slow recently and knowing there are other threads and people in similar situations can maybe get you some answers or ideas alot quicker than people posting resonses.

I'll try and make that more clear next time I link so it can't sound like a thread killer.

Hi Starsparkle,

My fella (Magic Hands) is going though this too. He was also cheated on twice by both of his ex girlfriends. Obviously this has affected his self esteem, whether he knows it or not. I've also told him it doesn't matter how long he lasts as it's not the penetration thats important to me either. Sometimes he can last for ages, and sometimes less than a minute. It matters to him and he's has got upset about it in the past.

I've found it helps to have a good long foreplay session, get him to cum during foreplay and then build up the excitement again. When we've tried this he lasts a good half an hour if not more during intercourse.

I agree with Tigerlilies also that your lifestyle has an impact, and do try differen positions (I love missionary because I love him to be on top and in charge) but it is important to swap and change to experience different angles of penetration, different sensations etc...

Finally communication. One of the most important aspects of any relationship. Does he know that you're sick of initiating sex all the time? Talking to him about this (in a gentle way - be careful how you go about it) may help. He may not even realise its a problem.

When I was with my ex, and even now, I rarely initiate sex, mainy because I just don't have as high a sex drive as my partner and i'm often tired from work. It could be something as simple as that, or it could be because he's downhearted about the premature ejaculation.

Why not plan a special night, just the two of you, i'm thinking nice meal, candlelit bubble bath, massage (game of monogamy if you own it!) and make it the rule NOT to have penetrative sex. Spend time exploring eachothers bodies and enjoying the different sensations without the ultimate goal being sex. This will take the pressure off him to perform and you can both concentrate on just enjoying whats happening.

Best of luck Starsparkle, I hope things get sorted for you both :)

Oh Starsparkle, that really sucks :( I was in a similar situation with my OH when we started going out, although it manifests in zero self confidence combined with extreme need for affection. His ex was manipulative, cruel and unpleasant. Example - she cheated and then when she left made sure to hide love notes in all his books to the other guys he finds years later (who does that?!?!). So he was fairly broken. I find that you have to be incredibly patient and work very hard on communication. Perhaps you should try lots of solo play if you don't already, so you feel less horny when you're around him. If you seem happy to have sex but also equally just happy to cuddle it really takes the pressure off him. Maybe do things like let him watch you play, or record yourself playing and encourage him to watch it. Masturbation can help with stamina and if it's you he is watching, he'll get used to associating you with longer erections.

Also, how much do you talk about this? And do you ever let your frustration show? I know myself that what you think is gentle and understanding can seem to him to be constant nagging, especially if it is such a sensitive subject as this. He may feel you are emasculinating him, completely unintentionally. There is also likely to be a deep undercurrent of self-hate and a belief that he trully isn't good enough. The sad thing is that only bad stuff gets through that, so anything you say will be twisted by the demon on his shoulder into a negative comment, no matter how you try to put it. Right now, I'm going to say that you're a lovely person (due to how much you care and how hard you try) and you shouldn't think I'm saying you are doing anything wrong. However, as a sufferer of BDD I can tell you that you can hear a slur in the most perfect complement on the planet when things are bad, so just remember you've got to fight the demon for his attention.

Last thing - if things are really bad and he's deeply unhappy, try talking to a doctor. It's a horrible thing to bring up, but if he does, they might really be able to help you both. He might be given some help and it could only take a little course before he's back to his old self. But until then, just build on his confidence. And lots and lots of foreplay - maybe try massages, bubble baths, cooking dinner together, making out while watching movies but without any mention of sex. Once his confidence grows, so will he if you get my drift.

Hope this is helpful, sorry for the length. Take care of yourselves and I hope that everything works out really well for you both :) healing is slow so you'll need lots of time but you sound like the wonderful sort of person who will do it. Good luck! Lxxx

Hi Starsparkle,

do you give each other massages at all? these can be great fun and very relaxing just before you go to sleep. they also dont have to lead to sex, but of course they can sometimes. there is a lot of new booty parlour items just released which look to be great fun for a spot of relaxation.

you could also try something like a cock ring - this will keep him harder longer, but i'm not sure if they will stop him coming too soon. we have tried these durex condoms...

...they made my other half a bit too numb, but a lot of reviewers have had very good responses to them!

Does he like to talk about things or does he tend to bottle things up or get anxious when you bring the subject up?


We've tried those condoms too. They worked too well and made my fella go soft so that's worth being prepared for that scenario if your fella is insecure anyway. However - they could be a really useful thing to try so maybe talk to your fella about them and let him know that it's a thing to maybe try but not to worry if they don't if they do make him go soft he can experience the "soft blowjob" apparantly it's amazing to be sucked when soft!

Another thing to consider is PC muscle training. Get your fella to play around with tensing and relaxing the PC muscles (the ones that stop your wee midflow) during masturbation and see how that helps. It'll take time and practise but it's supposed to really help when holding off an orgasm.

Definitely take a look at that thread WandA pointed out too - there are loads of tips in there!


Ooo another exercise whilst hard - my OH loves to do this with morning wood! is to hang some boxers over his erection then tense and relax repeatedly! It's great fun to watch!!


Thanks for the responses.

When I try and raise the issue he starts off by getting defensive, then he gets really down about it. When he gets down he tends to stay down for a number of hours or until he's been asleep. In the morning he's fine again I just struggle to know what to do when he's down.

He says he tends to get down when I'm down so it's not helpful that I'm finishing off an MA at the moment whilst working full time in an unpaid placement. Money is a big worry (though approaching to be less so) although we have just enough to get by.

His anxieties are not money-related though as when we first got together we obviously didn't live together & he's always had these worries about himself.

As an example yesterday he did the laundry & did it in 3 small loads instead of 2 big ones like I would have done. I asked him how come he did it in 3 small instead of 2 big & he explained & it was fine. Then later on we were discussing why he was feeling down yesterday and he said it's because he "does everything wrong" and "just wants to make me happy".

I keep telling him he DOES make me happy and that the laundry wasn't a big deal and everything but he doesn't seem to believe me. On top of that is the sex worries so it's just this undercurrent to the whole relationship.

On a day to day basis we're honestly a very strong, secure and happy couple. We're incredibly loving and he's very supportive. I just wish I knew how to make him feel better about himself !

As an aside - when he does do something well I always make sure I thank him & tell him what a good job he's done. It doesn't seem to stick though & he gets really hung up over things which are very small.

sounds to me like he might actually be depressed! and depressed in a medical sense not just in a "down in the dumps" sense!

has he looked at getting counselling about his general mental well being? i could be barking completely up the wrong tree here obv but as people have mentioned premature ejaculation is generally a psychological issue and so there may be help available that isn't just a diversion from penetrative sex.

Obviously avoiding/replacing penetrative sex is a great option and i agree with everyone else on that but i would also say the problem would be better confronted.

this is just my opinion obv and i'm no expert, just thought i'd throw in my 2 cents!

hope you find the answer

I have similar self esteem issues to your fella (your latest post rang true for me!) I constantly worry that I'm not good enough for my partner and it regularly ruins big events as I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. It is still a problem in our relationship so I can't help you cure it yet (I'm working on it though haha) however.....I find that by accepting I have a problem and that it is MY problem, it doesn't tend to affect the relationship as well as it could. Because I know that whilst I do feel like I'm not good enough, I am and it's all silly nonsense in my head, it doesn't make it go away, but it does make things easier to deal with as I know I can take a step back and a deep breath if I'm worrying too much.

I have also learnt what types of reassurance help me, if I need a cuddle I go to my love and calmly say "I don't feel very confident right now, can I have a cuddle and some reassurance please" and then I feel better. If I need to be rational then I will sit down by myself and rationalise why I'm wrong. Sometimes I just need a good cry (or a good night's sleep). My point is, that by knowing it is my problem and by knowing that it is an unneccessary insecurity, whilst I can't shake it off completely, I can work on being more confident and try to be more positive about things.

Does any of that make sense? Sorry if it doesn't.

Also it my help to know exactly what triggered it. For me it was my parents - my dad has really high standards and I've never *quite* been good enough so I feel I'm not good enough for my man. It may be the girls who cheated on him or it may be something else but knowing can help.

Basically what I'm saying is you really need to try and get him to open up (with you or someone else). If you choose to talk to him about anything I've said please make sure you choose your words really carefully as he could feel like he's to blame for any problems and I'm sure that won't make him feel any better.

DD's advice is very good - it's worth looking into the mentality side of things!


ps - sorry this is written so badly - it's a difficult thing to get my head around, let alone to explain it to others but please feel free to ask me about anything