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.

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

  1. Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for the useful information you have provided.
    I have been affected with severe premature ejaculation. We do a lot of foreplay and when I try for insertion, I feel an extreme kind of sensation in the penis and ejaculate in around 10 seconds.

    I was trying to look for solutions and started practicing START and STOP technique. I observe that I can easily last for 10 minutes when I practice solo with lubricant before the first stop and 20 minutes with three stops.

    Can you share your thoughts on why I can’t last during sex?

    1. You’re welcome Ramesh.
      Is the extreme sensation just inside your penis, or is it the friction/tightness of the insertion? If so, it could be that you need to use lubricant as well as the foreplay.

  2. I’ve read some articles that it’s better not to cum at all after start stop method. Do you think I would see better results from holding back altogether? Or does cumming have an importance in the training that I need to do?

    1. Hey Bryan
      Honestly, I don’t think there’s a 100% conclusive right or wrong answer to that question. I can see why some people would recommend going that final mile in learning to control yourself and cool down completely. But I can also see how it might be demotivating in the long run, and getting to experience the pleasure at the end of a potentially long and kind of frustrating experience every day can just be a nice thing!
      I think it’s up to you really. I believe you can get results either way.

  3. Hi Ethan,

    Thanks a lot for your comprehensive website on PE, a problem I’ve been dealing with for years and years and years. Tried to fix it a few times, but without success. Went on with my life (and with my problem), but with all the techniques on your website, I’m now driven to make it a success this time and be able to -really- please my girlfriend in bed (for the first time ever?). So last night I started with practicing the start and stop method and tried to reach a 10 minute mark. It took me a minute or 3 to reach my first point of no return and after that it was more stopping than starting. Waited for 30 seconds (or a bit longer) every time I reached the point of no return, but after that I only needed two or three strokes to reach the next point I had to stop. Is that normal, especially since it was my first time, and the right way to do it? Or do I have to wait longer?

    And another thing: I stopped the ejaculation by tightening my PC muscle (I’ve been training it for a while). Afterwards I stayed hard, but could not climax anymore, no matter how fast and hard I masturbated. Is that the way a trained PC muscle should help me with lasting longer?

    Again, thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Tom
      Good to know the site has been helpful.
      Yes, it’s totally normal to find you reach the point very quickly after the first stop. It’s frustrating, but gets better with time in my experience. You can try resting longer, or also switching positions or technique, such as going slower.
      As for the second question, if you mean you stay hard after climaxing once, then this is a different thing. It’s great if you can do that, as it then doesn’t matter so much if you climax quickly during sex as you can keep going anyway until your partner also gets to the point they are happy with. Maybe if you want to climax together, it’s a small issue. But I think it’s a small sacrifice for the ability to just keep going.

  4. Hello, I have never had sex but when I masturbate I usually can’t last longer than 30 seconds. Is this going to be the same when I have sex for the first time?
    And given that I don’t last long masturbating how can I start practicing the method?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Freddy
      It’s impossible to predict, but it is a possibility. It doesn’t matter if you don’t last long when masturbating, you can still start practicing the technique. You can set your goals shorter to start with until that 30 seconds improves and/or you can reduce the pleasure to start with so you can last longer.

  5. Hi, I’ve been reading from the website for about a month.
    I have a premature ejaculation problem, and i have been trying to follow the start and stop teqnuice and i have some questions regarding it.
    1. Im in a long distance relationship, so im not sexually active, except for masturbation, due to that, i usually masturbate while watchinghomemade sex videos, like actual people having sex.
    These type of videos make me hornier and i ejaculate alot faster while watching them.
    But if i masturbate without video or with regular porn i last alot longer.
    What do you think is better flr training? Keep on with the homemade or switch to regular porn? Or even do it without a video (does it even work?)?
    2. When im with my girl, im sexually active, but without the penetration part, do you think that premature ejaculation can be identified without it actually happening during penetration?

    1. Hi Elias
      1. There is no rule to this. Personally, I’d practice in all those situations at different times to ‘proof’ my self-control.
      2. Yes. If you’re having any sexual activity and ejaculate very quickly, it can be an issue.

  6. I tried this but when I reach the no return point, some of it comes out. Am I doing it right?
    It takes only 9 seconds of ejaculation to cum then I stop for about 30 seconds.

    1. Hi Pat
      It sounds like you are stopping too late. Try stopping sooner so that you don’t ejaculate before resting. Even if you stop way before the point of no return to begin with, that’s fine. You can get used to the feeling of cooling down, and then push the time closer and closer.

  7. I could not get a hard-on–I discovered a cock ring and ordered one–then I discovered the Stop and Go method. I jack for 5 or 6 strokes and Stop–jack 5 or 6 strokes and Stop–I do this for about 8 minutes–the cock ring is keeping my soft cock hard—then I jack like crazy and blast a big wad–I keep going and blast one more time. The cock ring keeps it hard and the Stop and Go drives me crazy.
    Retired in Texas

    1. Hey Chuck
      Sounds like you found a good combination to practice! I can imagine the cock ring helping the double problem of softness and lasting time. Good work!

      1. Hey Ethan. I’m 17, I’ve recently gotten a girlfriend and have had sex 3 times now. All the timeS have been extremely short and I am very annoyed by them. I’m comfortable with who I’m with, and she doesn’t make me feel bad and says “it’s okay” and stuff like that. When I apologize for being terrible in bed even tho she likes sex and wants better. So I’m gonna try the start, stop method. And I heard kegal exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles or something. Would that help? Also what’s with this breathing thing? And I’ve fucked her twice with a ultra thin condom, probably should get a thicker kind? Idk if you still respond or not thanks

        1. Hi
          I do still respond. I never close the comments on any articles:-)
          So, practical steps first – yes, a thicker condom might help. It’s worth experimenting with different ones on your own if you can.
          The start and stop method I think is a really good exercise, and maybe for some people the only thing they need. Kegels can help, but can also be kind of confusing. I’d be tempted to just try the start and stop method on your own for a couple of weeks first to see if it seems to help.
          I’d also do some research into oral sex in the meantime, which on its own has the potential to make a huge difference to your confidence and her satisfaction, assuming she likes it. Try not to get too apologetic and make her feel awkward. I found it was good to have an upbeat attitude about it, and have some suggestions of different techniques to try. That way she knows you’re working on it and can hopefully get on board with some experimentation.

    2. After reading your comment, I thought I’d add a suggestion since you spoke about how much you enjoyed wearing a cock ring.
      So, my last gf and I had a particularly strong sexual chemistry right from the jump. We’re both really into experimenting and just freaky as all hell in general.
      About midway through our relationship, I decided to surprise her with a gift I bought the night after we had an all night sex session during which we were scrolling through web porn clips and I noticed she was really turned on by a scene where the chick is tied up, receiving a forced orgasm that was stimulated by one of those Hitachi Magic Vibrating Wands (if you’ve ever seen one, they’re about a foot in length with a cord that connects to a power outlet. The plastic body of the wand is just meant to act as a long handle with vibration settings, but the rubber/silicone material head around the size of a tennis ball sits on a spring swivel that allows for the head to provide an intense vibrating massage. It’s about 30 times the intensity of a standard clit vibrator and is fucking incredible.)
      After using it on her a few times, resulting in her pussy violently quivering involuntarily in under only a minute or less and leading to a full body orgasm with her pussy getting all creamed up to where she left a substantial puddle of her own cum on the sofa; we decided to try it out while I was on top fucking her pussy real slow to feel her contracting on my cock, and she was laying on her back in control of the wand.
      At some point she started rubbing it up and down along her clit and down to the slit where I suddenly felt the most unreal sensation of still having most of my top inside her, but being able to feel the wand doing wonders on my cock.
      She notices my increased groans and we talked about how good it felt on my dick. Later on she had a blast as I showed her how to edge my cock and incorporate the wand.
      Sorry for the long post, my point with all this was if you have trouble getting hard, you should look into purchasing one of these for $50 on the low end ranging to around $200.
      After we broke up and I found myself particularly sexually frustrated with the Covid isolation, I learned the wand is comparable with a “male attachment piece” that locks onto the vib head via a silicone suction cup on top of which is a double ended pussy and asshole sleeve.
      I swear, even with all the experience I have had edging myself, this thing is the absolute best investment I’ve ever made, leading me to feel like I’m going to shoot buckets of cum in just minutes of use. Waaay better than the multiple fleshlights I’ve owned through the years!

  8. Thank you for providing such a good information about premature ejaculation. I have one question that how many times should we masturbate in a week? If I masturbate regularly one time in a week, will it bring a good result?

    1. You’re welcome Danny. To be honest, I would say once a week isn’t ideal. Personally, if you want to get used to the sensation and develop control, every day or every couple of days would be better. That’s just my opinion and experience though.
      Ethan

  9. I have a question. Once I reach the point of no return and at my rest period, does the rest period time count towards whatever overall session on minutes I’m trying to achieve?

    1. I think so, yes. But the timing is very subjective, so I wouldn’t worry too much about a minute or two either side if you set yourself a long target. Just keep trying to improve and you’ll be heading in the right direction, rather than stressing about the exact timings etc.

  10. Thank you for posting such an easy to understand and easy to follow exercise for helping with men’s premature ejaculation, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to explain it so well. I’ve been all around your website and have taken pen to paper to write down, word for word, everything that I believe will help me with my self-improvement goals.

    I practice the start and stop method once in the AM, and once in the PM, each and every day. In the PM, I allow myself to ejaculate in order to relieve the “pressure” that I feel. I have noted a great improvement in my ability to last much longer than ever before, and my ejaculations feel much more intense than ever.

    I have been strength training for some time now, and I have a question about the start and stop method, pertaining to “rest days”. When weightlifting, if you wanted endurance, you’d do high reps and sets, and do these each and every day. When weightlifting for strength, you’d do low reps and low to moderate sets, and you need 1-2 days of complete rest so your muscles could heal.

    What do you suggest when performing the start and stop method? Should I take a rest day, or keep it going each and every day? Any insight on this is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    1. Hi Scott
      Thanks for your comment and for your positive words – it’s always great to know the website was helpful!
      I don’t think there is a useful comparison between the start stop method and weight training. Maybe with kegels, but not this one. Do it every day, do it twice a day, do it once every other day – I don’t think it matters at all. I do weights too, and the start stop method in the past, and don’t think about them in the same way at all.
      Ethan

  11. I just wanted to leave a big thank you.

    I always thought that it’s a genetic thing how long you can last. I did more or less accept it, that I’m a “quick man” and will never become a porn star… But, my “effectiveness” did start to put a strain on my marriage.

    Thanks to this website I did understand that ejaculation is a thing of the mind. Due to years of masturbation I’ve train myself to ejaculate quick for that orgasm feeling. But now I did a lot of these 20 minutes sessions and my perception changed. Sometimes, masturbating didn’t even make fun because it felt like work .. lol
    (and I can see how crappy porn can be if you watch more than 5 minutes.)

    But, end of the story: I was able to thrust for a felt eternity the last time I was together with my wife (5-10 minutes or so). There is still a long way in front of me (point of no return came unconscious) but I’m looking forward.

    Thank you!

    1. Hey there
      Thanks for your great comment – it’s always fantastic to hear from someone who read the articles, went and practiced the techniques, then came back to say if they worked or not!
      I totally get how it can start to feel like work, and also the porn comment! But it’s work that’s well worth it in the long run.
      Ethan

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