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. Hi Ethan, after doing the stop and start for months and finally gaining ejaculation control and start lasting longer,should one discontinue the training(i mean Is the cure permanent?)

    1. Hi Dontee

      First of all, congratulations for gaining control! That’s great to hear:-)
      Secondly, the truth is that there is conflicting information about how permanent it can be when control is learned this way. Some say it isn’t, and will get worse again over time. Others believe that once you learn control, it should stay.
      My personal experience was that the first time I really trained a lot to develop control, I did kind of lose some after a period of time without having sex and without practicing. But then more recently I’ve found that the control is staying better. But I don’t just do the start-stop method, but also other techniques and believe that I’ve learned a lot about the way my body and mind work when engaged in any sexual activity.
      So I think it’s kind of impossible to say. My advice would be to experiment – see what happens if you don’t practice for a while – does your control stay or get worse? And at any rate, I would say that it’s always worth keeping at something so important. I don’t know how often you were practicing, whether alone or with a partner of course, but I think it’s always going to be beneficial to not rush either masturbation or sex – unless you’re having a quickie!

      Hope that helps

  2. Hi, I am new to the idea of training myself to last longer. I would like to know what method should I start with first to start training. Start and stop, or kegels

    1. Hi Mike
      My personal preference would be the start-stop method if you had to choose just one. But as I mention at the end of the article, for a complete understanding of everything involved in dealing with PE, I would recommend getting one of the books we review and following the step-by-step plan it contains.

  3. Hiii……hmmmm actually u may be right but I had tried dat for a month but nothing workd….I think d muscles have become too weak to tolerate after a handjob …any thing to strengthen them

  4. Cheers Ethan ! Very useful web page mate ! Took a lot from it ! Very grateful ! All the best !

  5. Great article! Thank you so much for the explanations. I have had problems with lasting times for what seems like forever, and only now decided to do really try to fix it. No idea why it’s taken me so long to accept it and deal with it. But now I have decided to, I’m glad I found your website. Can’t thank you enough:-)

    1. You’re very welcome Jim, and thank you also for the comment and compliments. I imagine you are not alone in taking a long time to face up to the issue. It’s not the easiest thing for a guy to accept. So well done for getting this far. The rest is just a matter of patience and dedication – hopefully – and in time you should see improvements.

  6. Hey ! Did you find that after doing this for 3 months you noticed a difference ?

    1. Hi J

      Yes, I did. But I was also doing other exercises as well. But I think if it was all you did, then after 3 months you should see some improvements. It depends of course on what exactly is causing your lasting time to be less than you would like, but I think a lot of guys should see some improvements, even if they are small.
      All the best

  7. Hello Dear…firsty I wanna thank u for ur help and methods. My question is …..I started masturbating at the age of 13 and now I am 23 still masturbating,due to which I feel pain in my penis veins for about 10 hours (only when it got excited,not in rest state) after masturbation. What can I do to fix it?? plzzz help me.There is not any problem with my penis except the pain on the sides of my penis

    1. Hi Archit

      Hmmm…tricky one. My first thought is that you are maybe doing it too hard, fast, often or for too long at a time. I would take a week off, without doing anything. Then start again gently and see if the pain comes back.
      All the best

  8. Two chains

    So what if I use this method I almost get to the point of no return, I use my pelvic muscles to refrain from ejaculating. I don’t but the muscles that would go off for ejaculating do, yet nothing no sperm is coming out. After that action, I can still masturbate I’m still hard and I can go a full 10 minutes hard and fast without feeling a thing!
    Can you explain what this might be? Ps I’m in the shower doing this

    1. Hi Two chains,

      It could be that you are experiencing a ‘dry orgasm’ which is one step towards having multiple orgasms – something quite special for a man to achieve. Does it feel like an orgasm, or just muscle contractions?
      As long as you can ejaculate normally at other times when you want to, then you don’t need to worry about retrograde ejaculation. And if you can then have another orgasm after 10 minutes, then lucky you!

  9. in the past 2 weeks, I have noticed I was able to hold on as long as 16 – 18 minutes whilst doing the start-stop method. But then, my PE was 1st as a result of masturbating to have an ejaculate quickly so as not 2 get caught wen I was a teen. This thought caused me to stop practicing. But there’s been progress doing this start-stop practice. What do you say, do I continue practising?

    1. Hi Nedu

      I think if you are seeing good results, then definitely keep on practising. You may find you need to always use the technique so you can maintain that level of control. Once you build up your time, but then stop the technique, over time your lasting time might decrease again. So I personally think it is a good habit to have.

  10. at the time of practicing start stop method, if I don’t’ ejaculate, can I get improvements. becz if I ejaculate everyday I feel week. is there any improvements in practicing start stop method without ejaculating? plZ help me.

    1. Hi Anik

      Some people would say that it is good practice to do the start-stop method and not allow yourself to ejaculate, especially in the tantric sex world for example.
      Personally I prefer to practise it for the amount of time I decide on, and then ejaculate as normal. I think even if you do decide to avoid ejaculation on some days, it is still healthy to allow yourself to finish at least once every 2 or 3 days.
      Hope that helps

  11. Is it better to masturbate before or after doing kegels, or not even on the same day?

    1. Hi Billy,

      I don’t think it really matters if you do it before or after, same day or not. Lots of guys practice the start and stop method, which is a way of masturbating, and do kegels at the same time. The beauty of kegels is you can do them at any time, more or less. Or you can combine them with other techniques like the start-stop.
      There is no real rule, but my thoughts would be either to leave some time between kegels and normal masturbation. Or do the two together, but with the purpose to delay orgasm rather than purely to train the muscles, as you would be doing if just doing them randomly in the day.
      Hope that helps

  12. Your guide has been unbelievably helpful and I cannot appreciate you enough for sharing your knowledge. I have a question though. Do I need to do the start and stop method everyday? Also, should I ejaculate after every session?

    1. Hi Jay

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you’ve found it useful.

      As far as I’m aware there is no harm in doing the start and stop method everyday. But if you’re also doing kegels, then I would definitely not to it everyday as it’s good to rest the muscles involved in kegels.

      Whether you want to do it every day or not is a different matter! As for ejaculating after each session, well some would say it’s good not to – it’s a theory for the tantric world.

      Personally I think unless you’re into tantra and ‘energy’ in general, then it’s probably good to ejaculate each time. At least you get some pleasure after making yourself go through the sometimes boring/frustrating/difficult process of starting and stopping over and over.

      Hope that helps and good luck!

  13. Hey, I have a wife, she is my first sex partner, I can not last more than 4 seconds, just four strokes and I’m done… Seriously 5-10 seconds MAX!!! I hate myself.. I need help, I cry and she wants to help me, she wants to practice more sexual intercourse but I’m too ashamed. What should I do on my alone time. The stop and go method actually works?? Give me hope..

    1. Hi Edward

      Ok first thing’s first…there is hope! Of course there is. Secondly, if your wife wants to practice more, then that is the best thing you can do. You need to find a way to overcome the shame…I know it is embarrassing, but if your wife is willing to practice techniques like the start and stop method, then you will have a good chance of improving things.
      Yes, the technique can work very well. However, it doesn’t work for everyone which is why I also suggest some guys may end up needing to try other techniques like using a delay spray. But it is worth trying for at least a few weeks to see if you make any progress.
      Try not to stress too much…talk to your wife about it and don’t make it a closed thing which neither of you feels comfortable talking about. Be open about it, experiment with techniques and work together:-)
      Good luck!

  14. So is this technique the same as edging or would you combine it with edging how does that work would u recommend starting the stop start technique and then switching to edging?

    1. Hi Shadow

      Well, depending on who you ask, they’re either exactly the same thing or slightly different. My take is that they are the same thing with different names. However, in classic explanations the start-stop method is literally that – you start and stop repeatedly. More modern explanations of edging tend to suggest it’s good to play around with your arousal levels and bring yourself close to the point of no return, but then drop back down sometimes and keep yourself in lower levels of arousal for a while instead of simply stopping for 30 secs then continuing as before.
      I don’t think the fine details really matter to be honest, as long as you achieve the outcome of extending how long you take before reaching climax.

    1. Hi Tim

      If that’s your situation now, then I would recommend talking to a doctor about it. There are some medical reasons which can cause that, so it’s a good idea to rule them out. But this website is really for guys who ejaculate too quickly, not the opposite. So Beyond advising you to talk to a medical professional, I can’t really help as it’s not something I feel qualified to talk about.

      Sorry, and I do hope you resolve the problem.

  15. I have a question: what if you ejaculate after like 7sec after you start to masturbate?

    1. Hi C

      First of all, just to let you know that I saw the other message too, but you really don’t need to worry about the publishing aspect – these comments can be totally anonymous. But if you have any other questions, in future you don’t need to provide your real name or email in future (which I deleted for you and replaced with ‘C’ since you seemed worried).

      To answer your question, you may need to slow right down then. You can still try the start-stop method, but just lead up to the masturbating very slowly by touching parts of your body around your groin, but not your penis. Learn to take your time leading up to masturbating, and to deal with the excitement of knowing you are going to be doing it.

      It’s all about taking your time, and learning where you are getting over-excited and stopping yourself before you get to that moment of serious excitement. So for you it may be that the moment occurs before you even start. I hope that makes sense!

      All the best with it

  16. How many times do you recommend someone who suffers from PE use the “start-stop” method a week? This is referring to using it alone, how many times should we masturbate and use this a week?

    1. Hi Jon

      Good question! There is no exact rule about how often you should practice the start and stop method in a week. Some say that 5 days on, 2 days off is a good amount for example, others will do it every other day.

      I personally did it almost every day for 3 months when I first heard about it. The only times I didn’t do it was when it wasn’t practical or I was quite frankly bored of putting myself through it!

      I’ve never heard of any possible problems that can arise from practicing the start-stop method regularly if you have PE. If you overdid it without PE then you could possibly lead to problems getting an erection or not ejaculating.

      But for guys with PE, I think you can probably do it as often as you like. Still, as with any form of ‘exercise’ it’s generally a good idea to take a day or two off here and there.

      Some also say that once in a while you shouldn’t practice it at all, but just allow yourself to have a ‘normal’ session from start to finish.

      I would say that’s a matter of choice. Personally I was diligent and practiced the start stop technique every time as I felt every opportunity to improve my lasting time needed to be taken.

      On a final note, I would also suggest looking into other techniques as well. Combining it with kegels and reverse kegels is another great way to improve your lasting time as they naturally go together.

    2. Hi Jon
      There’s no real rule about that. So my recommendation would be just my personal feeling about it. But really, unlike kegels, I think you can probably do it as many times as you like. I personally tried to do it pretty much every time I felt like masturbating and just let it roll naturally like that, rather than setting myself a regimen for doing it, if that makes sense. I would just do it as many times as you feel comfortable, and can set aside the time to do.
      All the best

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