The Start And Stop Method Step By Step

The start and stop method is a classic self-help technique that can help men who suffer from premature ejaculation.

It’s particularly helpful if you’re currently single and have time to work on your sexual stamina. And if you’re in a relationship, you can either practice it when you’re alone or ‘on the job’ with your partner.

start and stop technique

How does it work?

The method is all about learning where your point of no return is – the point where ejaculation is practically inevitable.

Then when you have sex, you stop yourself when you spot the signs that you’re getting close to that path of no return.

As you’ll see in the steps below, you can repeatedly get close to the point, then stop and rest for a while before continuing. Eventually, you should find that you can go for longer before hitting that point.

Understand your arousal levels

The second goal is to develop a better understanding of your arousal levels. This will help you stay aware of how much time you spend doing movements that stimulate you too much.

Then if you find yourself getting too aroused, you know you need to do something about it.

That’s when you can call upon other techniques like kegels or changing to one of the sex positions that are good for lasting longer.

Part 1: solo practice

It’s better to practice on your own initially because you can take the time to really focus on how your body reacts when stimulated.

  1. Set yourself a time goal. 20 minutes is a good time, but less is fine to start with.
  2. Masturbate normally using just your hand. Try to keep a slow and steady pace.
  3. When you feel yourself getting close to climax, stop masturbating. Don’t stop too early, but don’t push it to the last second either.
  4. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds before continuing. Relax your body and breathe slowly while you rest.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you reach your time goal. Then you can ejaculate naturally.
  6. Eventually, you should notice that the period of time between getting an erection and hitting the point of no return gets longer.
  7. It can take a couple of weeks to see improvements, so don’t give up if you feel there’s no initial progress.
  8. After you feel that you’re making some small improvements, add lubricant to make it more intense.
  9. You may find at first that your time drops back down – don’t worry if it does. You should gradually improve again.

If you feel like climaxing as soon as you start again

When doing the start and stop method, you may find you feel like ejaculating as soon as you start again after a rest. This may be for one of two reasons:

  • You’re not resting for long enough. 30 seconds is ideal, but you may need a minute for your arousal to drop.
  • You may be pushing yourself too close to the point of no return. In future, stop a little earlier until you can rest for 30 seconds before continuing.

Practicing with a sex toy

If you’re single or practicing alone, you can add a sex toy/male masturbator as an extra challenge. It’s a great way to close the gap between the stimulation of masturbation and sex.

This will help ensure your hard work doesn’t fall apart when it comes to the real thing.

If you don’t have one already, you might find it helpful to check out my review of the aptly named fleshlight stamina training unit.

How long you should aim to last for

If you usually finish in a couple of minutes, aiming for 20 minutes is a tough goal. Especially if that means spending ages masturbating because you have to stop and rest every 30 seconds.

So breaking it down into smaller steps is more likely to motivate you to keep at it.

If you usually only last a minute or two, set yourself the goal of 5 minutes before ejaculation for the first few sessions. From there you can raise the goal to 10 minutes. And from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

When you can hit each goal with only 2 or 3 rests, you’re doing well and can move to the next goal.

And on the topic of 20 minutes – that’s not a strict target to aim for. I personally think 20 minutes is a good time to aim for based on how long surveys suggest women take on average to reach orgasm during sex.

But for some people, 20 minutes is way more than necessary. So feel free to set your own goals.

Having to stop too many times?

If you find you need to stop too many times to reach your time goal, either alone or with a partner, you can change the way you approach it.

Instead of stopping 10 times in 10 minutes, only do the process 5 times. Even if that only means a few minutes in total, eventually it will get better.

Part 2: the start and stop method with a partner

Practicing with your partner presents a more realistic challenge. It also lets them know you’re working on the issue and they might like to feel involved.

There are basically 2 approaches to try:

  • Go straight into trying it during sex.
  • Practice with manual and oral sex, mixed in with normal sex on some days.

It’s up to you how you want to do it, but for those who want to start slowly, here’s a method to try:

  • If you’re very sensitive, start with just kissing for a few minutes.
  • Your partner can start to caress your body slowly and sensually.
  • Ask your partner to masturbate you with their hand. If that makes you ejaculate quickly, this is the level you need to practice at for a few sessions.
  • Tell them to stop before you reach the point of no return. Practice the start and stop method with them for the agreed time goal, before allowing yourself to finish.
  • When you’re able to cope with your partner masturbating you, you can move on to oral sex.
  • And when you can last longer with oral, you can again move to sex.
  • You might find that sex is too stimulating, even after developing control during manual and oral, so don’t rush. Spend time on foreplay and use lubricant to reduce the friction.
  • Start with slow and shallow thrusts. You can even remain motionless inside your partner for a minute to let the initial intensity pass.
  • Each time you rest, just kiss or caress your partner. You could also pull out and give them manual or oral for a minute or two.
  • Continue slowly, with shallow, teasing thrusts.
  • It might take many slow sessions before you can cope with more stimulating movements or positions. Just take things easy, build up and gradually increase the intensity.

Research evidence that it works

When I was researching premature ejaculation treatments, I found many references to the start and stop technique.

Despite the fact that it’s often mentioned in scientific literature, however, there haven’t been many studies done to test its effectiveness.

And some of the studies that have been done either involved combined input from a therapist or combination therapy with drug treatment.

If you’re interested in reading more about this, you might find a 2015 British review of behavioral techniques useful to read.

Interestingly, they conclude the following:

There is limited evidence that physical behavioral techniques for PE improve IELT and other outcomes over waitlist and that behavioral therapies combined with drug treatments give better outcomes than drug treatments alone. Further RCTs are required to assess psychotherapeutic approaches to PE.

‘Limited evidence’ could suggest that there isn’t much evidence, or that there is some but not enough to draw firm conclusions.

It seemed to me when reading their report that some of the previous research they looked at did have positive results, but others not so much.

So like many premature ejaculation treatments, it works well for some (myself included), but not for others.

I definitely think it’s worth trying though – it’s free, easy to practice and in a couple of weeks you’ll know if it’s working or not.

You might also like

The start and stop technique is just one technique among many. So you might like to read one of my recommended premature ejaculation books for even more techniques.

You might also find it helpful to read my premature ejaculation story, where I talk about the process I went through to deal with it.

269 thoughts on “The Start And Stop Method Step By Step”

  1. First of all I would like to thank you for this helpful guide. Personally, I have just got access to it and I have read some comments which does encourage me to call for some help. I would get directly to the bottom line – I am 21 years old I have been masturbating for years and I feel really low because I do ejaculate quickly which cause me to think that this prob will cause me issues when I will get married to give a concrete account of my case I do ejaculate in less than one minute and my aim is to last for 10 min without any tests . I am totally aware that this isn’t easy to reach but I would be extremely thankful if you could help.

    1. Hi Salah
      The only extra help I can give right now is to encourage you to try this technique for a few weeks to see if it starts to help. If it does, do it more. I’d also suggest reading more articles on this site as there is lots of useful advice.

  2. Hey (: just wanted to thank you for your awesome guides, i’ve been following your kegel and reverse Kegels guides, I have done edging before but I was doing it wrong, now with your guide I now how to do it properly (: My question is, should I ejaculate after edging? Is it okay if I don’t do it?

    1. Hi Antonio
      You’re very welcome! Always good to know the site is appreciated:-)
      To answer your question, I don’t think it matters really. I’d just do what you feel like in the moment. There are some that argue it’s good not to, kind of tantric philosophy. My personal opinion is you might as well have a reward for the frustrating work of holding out!

  3. Anonymous

    Hi just come back again to share the story. the last time i commented on this post is 8 june 2017. so now its been around 8-9 month after the last time i commented. i have stopped doing this method for about 6 month and i see only a little degradation. i still can do it for more than 20 minutes even more if i wanted too. but theres also a time i last for under 2 minutes too. its all depend on how much im aroused. if i aroused myself for too long, ofcourse it will be hard to last for more than 2 minutes and vice versa. very oftenly i cant last for more than 2 minutes if im aroused too much.

    before i always think of how to last longer, how not to came fast, etc. this thought is what makes me cant last that long. i tried to blur it by doing math but its only worked for a few times and greatly reduced my pleasure. since my goal is to do this with my partner in the future, im afraid im not feeling connected with her if i did math or etc during sexy time with her which is a bad things.

    after a long time of training, i gained a lot of confidence. instead of thinking about negative thought, now i always thinking about positive thought like how much pleasure i get, the joy of edging, etc.

    So the conclusion is, this method does works for me. it helped me how to last longer and gain confidence. and i can still maintained it even i have not been doing this for about 6 month.

    i think this is the last time i shared my story. theres nothing i can share anymore.

    Im not telling everyone to do this and i just shared my story here. If you ever do it, its because your own choice NOT because i told you to do so. So please do it at your own risk.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Thank you very much Ethan.

    1. Hi there
      Great to hear from you again! Even though you haven’t left your name, I recognise your style of writing, and it’s great to hear a progress report from you.
      I’m happy to hear you’ve managed to maintain the good results after a long time without doing the method. I’ve personally found it does drop down slowly over time, so it’s nice to know someone else had more continuity from it.
      Having said that, it also seems like you did some important thinking about the way to go about having sex, what to focus on and how to take pressure off yourself etc. And all that kind of stuff also plays an important role I think.
      Thanks again for keeping in touch and sharing your experience.
      All the best

  4. Anoop jaiswal

    Hi Ethan, can you tell me? Does this start and stop technique & squeeze technique really work? is there any side effect of it? is it good to masturbate daily? I mean during stop and start technique, should our cum come out? should we apply this technique daily? Is there any side effect of masturbating daily like loss of blood or weight? Can you also tell me..after intercourse of start and stop type of how many days should i take to avoid blood and weight loss or to avoid any other of side effect?

    1. Hi Anoop
      The techniques work for some men, but not all. It depends in part on the cause of your premature ejaculation. But I don’t know of any side effects, so I think the start and stop technique is a good one to try (I’m not a big fan of the squeeze technique).
      You don’t have to do it every day, but you can if you like. It’s fine to masturbate daily.

  5. I want to ask that if the person edging means stopping sperm several times for hours, does this not cause damage to organs like veins testicles prostate kidney and its fertility because its put more pressure in veins. Plzzz reply why doctors tell this technique. They dont know its side effects.?

    1. Hi Bilal
      I don’t think edging can cause problems like you describe. Your organs are stronger than you give them credit for!

  6. I’ve noticed say I’ve done the start stop method a couple days in a row it gets better, but as soon as I stop for a couple days I’m back at square one. Is there some sort of maintenance once you have the grip on it or is that just evident I need to do it for a longer amount of days till its phycologically programmed

    1. Hi there
      Unfortunately, that does seem to be a bit of a problem with some of these behavioral techniques for many men – you need to keep practicing for some time. I also think if you stop altogether for a few days and don’t have sex either, just that gap without sexual activity makes it harder to control yourself.

  7. Hi, i have been edging with my bf for a few days now, i stop inter course midway when i get too excited but even after stopping, my rock hard penis shakes (bending up and resting) on it’s own a few times and semen comes out.
    But i dont go limp afterwards, kinda strange, is it normal?

    1. Hi Sunny
      It’s not strange – it just means that you’re stopping too late. Try stopping sooner in the future, and experiment with the timing so you know exactly when you need to rest without actually ejaculating. If you’re able to ejaculate and carry on though, that’s great – enjoy it while your body stays that way!

  8. luis a guevara

    And is only my first week of stop and go metod but my 4 week of kegels. It realy work and I can keep going moré then 20 minutes . And I have sensitive penis well not circuncisión.Thanks for your help

  9. luis a guevara

    I getting results with your guide I can masturbate for 20 minutes without stop at all but The first timé was quick almost at 3 minutes then at 7 next day

    1. Hi Luis
      That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing your progress – it helps inspire other readers to try it out too.

  10. How often I have to do it ?
    How many days a week . thanks my wife for 15 years left me because of PE I need to get control of this for future relationship.

    1. Hi Luis
      Wow, I’m sorry to hear that! I can’t imagine how crappy that must have felt. To answer your question, you can do this technique as often as you like. I think several days a week if you can is good. Every day even better!

  11. Ric Carter

    It is possible to edge for a long time without cumming. I started edging on Thursday, and have edged each day for at least four hours, never letting my semen spill. My friend is doing similar. We will get together on Tuesday to suck each other off. We have done this previously, and we both have a massive load of cum after edging like this. We’ve talked on the phone several times to encourage each other, and make sure the other is hard.
    I’ve had today free, and have edged over six hours straight, nearly having a couple premature ejaculations from over stimulating myself. It takes a bit longer to relax when that happens. A plus of the extended edging is the amount of pre-cum produced. I really enjoy the taste of it, and never waste a drop.

    Ric Carter
    Somers, Montana

    1. Hi Ric
      That sounds like an incredibly long time to practice edging for. Do you feel it’s reasonable, or stopping you from doing other daily activities?

  12. Thanks for sharing this technique with us with a lot of detail. I have tried it before and had a little progress. But I am going to try it again with the advice you have here.

  13. Hello Ethan
    I’m a 19 year old guy. As a teenager, I used to masturbate really fast to avoid getting caught and this led to me having PE. After searching through various sites, I concluded I have primary PE which is apparently very hard to treat. This honestly has made me very depressed and embarrassed. I barely last 30 seconds when I start masturbating. Do you think the start stop method and kegel exercises on a regular basis can help me last upto 10 minutes? Also, when I do this technique do I watch porn or just use my imagination??

    1. Hi Robert
      I can understand why you feel that way, but try not to let it get you down. See it as one of life’s challenges to be overcome and you’ll hopefully find it easier to cope with, and a motivation to deal with it.
      The truth is that it’s impossible for me to say if these techniques will definitely help you. What I can confidently say is that they do help a lot of men, so it’s definitely worth trying. Practice regularly and give it a couple of months before deciding if it’s helping or not.
      In terms of porn or imagination, try changing between the two. I’d say it’s probably good to avoid porn to start with, and give yourself the best chance possible to make progress without being overstimulated. Then add it when you think you’re making some progress.
      Good luck with it!

  14. if a boy stop masterbution.. its sexual level is good… plzzz plzzzz reply me

    1. Hi Kashif
      Probably, yes. But there’s no need to stop it unless you really feel bad about it. Remember that it’s totally normal to do though.

  15. Anonymous

    Hello Ethan
    I just want to share my experience again. The last time i commented on this post is on 16 March which is mean i have been doing this training for about 9 month i think. I hope my experience can help some people struggling with his PE.

    From 16 March, i tried to hold it more than 20 minutes. in a few days i can hold it for around 25-30 minutes which is good. but the bad side is my P*nis got chafed again. i think its because the lube dry out after around 20 minutes and im too lazy to add some lubricant again. a few days after i cant hold it for more than 2 minutes. well i think its because im stressed out from work. but after 2 month i still cant hold it for more than 2 minutes. i even have a hard time holding it just for 5 minutes. and to make things worse, my chafed p*nis isnt healed yet and worsen because i never let it heal and keep doing this training. after that, im thinking to let my p*nis healed for around 1 month
    after its almost healed i tried doing this training again. the feeling is so intense. well i think its because i didnt doing this for a month. but somehow this time i can hold it for 10 minutes. usually, i ejacul*te for under 2 minutes if i didnt ejacul*te for a few days. a few days after ( this day ) im still doing this training although i still can only hold it for around 10 minutes.

    My conclusion is :

    – Don’t give up
    – If you achieved your desired time, doesn’t mean you will last long forever. ( example : i can only hold it for around 2 minutes if im very stressed )
    – I think for me, chafed p*nis decrease my performance. so, if you ever have it, let it heal first. it wont take long. the reason it takes time for me to heal is because i never let it heal.

    and if someones ever curious..
    im doing this training using a realistical v*gina, p*rn, and lubricant
    not trying to advertise, im buying the toy from Japan. after i read the review on most website, its say that my toy ranked number 2 on the most intense toy ever. and just want to let you know, most people said that this toy isnt close to the real one. because, the real one isnt as intense as this toy.

    Note : Do it at your own risk. I only tell you my experience, not telling you to do this training.

    i think thats all from me for now.
    good luck.

    1. Hi
      Thanks for sharing your story again. You really do need to let your penis heal if it has any kind of injury, chafing or soreness. I highly recommend not being lazy about using lube if you regularly get chafing, and when you do see signs of that, just rest until it’s better.

  16. I live with my partner and they are always home before me from work, so it’s not possible for me to practice alone. They don’t like doing the technique during sex, so what am I supposed to do??!!

    1. Hi Niki
      That’s a tough one! Why don’t they like doing it during sex? Have you explained how it can help you last longer over time if you do practice it?

  17. Is it a good idea to practice this method multiple times a day or is that too much stimulation?

    1. Hi Devin
      I wouldn’t intentionally set out to do it several times a day unless that’s what you naturally feel like doing. There’s no need to force it unless you feel you need the practice.

  18. Stephan

    Thanks for the great advice. I always come in under 2 min, so I hope the technique can help me. I appreciate the detailed description Ethan, and all your articles here. Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Stephan
      You’re very welcome. Good luck with it – don’t give up too soon if you don’t have results. With some regular practice, you should find you make progress.

  19. if a men stop masterbution for long long time.. the face will be clear… plzzz plzzzz reply me

      1. hello… if a boy stop masterbution for 465 day.. the pimple and acne scar that was caused by the evil habit of masterbution… they will get clear skin… plzzzz reply me

        1. Hi Kasif
          Masturbation does not cause acne. Many people say it does because boys tend to start masturbating at the same time as acne first appears. But this is because the hormones of puberty cause both things. So stopping masturbating will not help the acne, because the hormones are still there.

  20. I have only been mastrubating for a few months and was wondering about the start/stop technique. If I should try to wait 15-20 minutes before letting myself climax, when does the clock start? Does it start when I start mastrubating or does it start when I first feel the urge to climax?

    Thanks for the help?

    1. Hi Avery
      It starts when you settle down to start masturbating. But I wouldn’t worry too much about the precise timings. As long as you’re sticking to the general concept of trying to extend how long the whole process it takes, it doesn’t really matter whether it takes 10,20 or 30 minutes. I use exact numbers in the article to explain the technique, but really it’s the idea that’s important, not exact times as long as you’re heading in the right direction.

      1. Hi Ethan. Thank you very much for for answering. This is an interesting article, thanks for your help.

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