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. will power

    what about if i practice solely it in lying position?
    or any good position which works better?

    1. Hi Will,
      Probably many guys naturally do techniques lying down like this. I think it’s good to try to re-create some of the element of sex though to make the training more realistic. So I would sometimes change your position for a little while. Try standing, sitting, kneeling etc and swopping between them from time to time within each practice session.

  2. First of all, I really appreciate the article. This is one of the most helpful article I read about Stop and Start method. For the first stage, I can do it for more than 20 minutes without feeling to ejaculate, but when adding pornography, my time is from 2 to 5 minutes depending on how stimulating it is especially for the moaning. Will this method improve my time?

    1. Hi tp
      Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you found the article helpful. I think that’s very normal. When you have more stimulation, it’s natural to climax sooner. I think it’s a good challenge to be able to watch films and try to extend your time. The challenge would be to last 20 minutes too. I would also say it’s good to mix up how you practice. Sometimes just use your imagination, other times watch a film. Don’t become too reliant on porn to get you turned on.

  3. androw89

    hi, thanks for your time i did it along with the kegel for about two months and got a significant improvement. i would like to know what if i keep it for an hour or more.

    1. Hi androw
      That’s great to hear! Well done for managing to get such good results. If you mean what happens if you do the start stop for an hour, well I imagine either you’ll get bored or feel very proud of your lasting time! I don’t think it’s bad at all, but perhaps not really necessary unless you’re training to be with a woman who really needs you to last a very long time.

  4. Hi ethan
    first of all thank you so much for this article.. i hope this will help me getting better
    is it necessary to ejaculate every time at the time of start and stop method?
    Also I am doing kegel exercise 3 times a day 10-12 reps
    how many times a day i can do start and stop exercise?

    1. Hi Mayur,
      You’re welcome – I’m glad you found the article helpful. You would normally ejaculate at the end of practicing the start and stop method. So once you have basically had enough of getting aroused and cooling down again, finally reward yourself by allowing yourself to ejaculate.
      You can do it several times a day if you have the time and patience. It’s up to you really. Personally I think once or twice a day is enough practice.

    1. I would say 4 or 5 times, or up to 20 minutes. Whichever happens first. But there are no strict rules and you can continue longer if you like, or less time in the beginning if you find it uncomfortable or impossible.

  5. I started masturbation when i was 13 till 14 i was masturbating fast after 14 i was wanna get new sexual pleasure by stopping and do it again few times and i am doing it until 18, all my masturbation with porn, i wanna ask if i have PE and if there is a way to delay PE completely , if i stopped masturbation in my case no problem i will face after marriage.

    1. Hi A
      I don’t know if you have PE or not. How long do you usually last for when masturbating? And have you had sex with anyone?

  6. I was doing the start stop method but it got to point were my penis wasn’t excited at all and no sperm came out

  7. Forget about PE
    just go down and use your tongue and fingers
    Ever wondered how lesbians live happily with each other? They got no penis, only their fingers and tongues.
    Girls like that, they feel being loved.
    So, no worries guys! Take it easy!

    1. Hi Lucas,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s important to spend lots of time on foreplay, and that it can be a great way to both boost a guy’s confidence and satisfy your partner to spend time on oral and manual stimulation.
      Ultimately though, many guys will still worry if they can’t last when it actually comes to sex. And if a woman knows you have a penis, she is going to want you to use it too! So it’s still important to work on your stamina, as well as being creative and generous in your foreplay.

  8. Hi Ethan!
    My urologist recently diagnosed me with prostatitis. I was embarrassed to tell him what I was doing with myself. I always masturbate doing the start stop method, I keep doing this for 30 minutes and not ejaculate. Then I repeat that again multiple times a day and finally allow myself to ejaculate at the end of the day. Could that be the reason of my prostatitis? I also sometimes try to stop ejaculation really hard with kegels, but always fail.
    So I don’t know which is bad, the start stop method or me trying to block ejaculation.

    Moreover, I’m recently dating a girl and I really want to satisfy her. So, if I try to have sex twice in a row ejaculating each time after doing the start stop method to increase the time of lovemaking to satisfy my partner is that okay or bad? What if I repeat this 2 times a day, which means I have sex 4 times a day?
    I imagine that impossible to have such strenght, but I’m asking this just to know if it is bad or not, maybe I’ll force myself to do it for her.

    Sorry for the lenghty question!

    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear about the prostratitis. To be honest, I don’t know exactly if there could be a link, but I somehow doubt it. My advice though would be to talk to your doctor about what you’ve been doing and get their advice. Even if it is a little embarrassing.

      By all accounts though it sounds like maybe you’re doing the start stop method an unnecessarily large number of times per day. I think doing it once or twice a day for 30 mins is enough to improve your lasting time. I would wait and see how often, and in what way, she wants to have sex before making any firm plans!

      All the best

      As for sex, well if you can find a partner who is willing to have sex 4 times a day and practice the start stop each time, then you will probably have found the world’s most patient nymphomaniac!

  9. Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for posting this, I did it first time and it worked. I have one question for u. Does this technique apply while having sex?

    1. Hi Raul,

      If your partner is willing to do it with you, then yes. But you can also subtly do it yourself, for example when you feel yourself getting too aroused, change into a position which is easier to relax in, such as with your partner on top and then control her body so she can’t move too fast. The same works from behind in the spoons position for example.
      All the best

  10. I did not understood what I am supposed to aim for. When you say “The goal is to keep practicing the technique until you can last 15-20 minutes before you first feel the need to ejaculate”, do you mean, that I should masturbate for 20 minutes without stopping at all, or that I should masturbate for that amount of time with some 30-sec pauses?

    1. Hi George

      What I mean is that the aim is one day to be able to masturbate for 20 minutes without stopping. But until you reach that goal, you can stop when you need to to calm down, and keep going until you reach 20 minutes. Little by little you should find that you need to stop less times to reach 20 minutes.
      Hope that is clearer.

  11. how many time we repeat start and stop as per time (per single) and finally we send out semen or not

    1. Hi Suresh,

      That’s up to you. If you can keep practicing for 20 minutes before ejaculating, that’s a good target. But if you find you are stopping and starting constantly, then maybe aim for 5 minutes at first, then build up to 10, then 15 and then 20 over the weeks or months.

  12. Hi Ethan,
    Bro can you please tell me that this technique increases your ejaculation time after 2 months and can I practice 3 days in a week…..


    1. Hi Sahil,

      Hopefully yes, but I unfortunately can’t promise that, especially if you don’t do any other techniques. And yes, you can practice this technique pretty much as much as you want.
      Good luck!

  13. according to hindu religion masturbation effects on sex capacity and sex time in men………
    i was masturbating since 13 year old……
    now my ejaculating time is enormously decreasing……..
    can i increase my ejaculating time using this technique…???

    1. Hi praneeth,

      I can’t comment on the religious aspect because I don’t know anything about hindu religion. But as far as I’m aware, this technique can help especially if your reduced time is in part, or mainly, down to maturbating too quickly.

  14. YEahManYEah

    Hi to everyone and hi to you Ethan , so i wanna please know if i have to stop when i feel too aroused (when i feel it’s like 10 seconds from coming out) or
    should i wait almost at the no-return point (when i feel it’s coming out)??? to stop the process ???

    You’re free to write me if you can see my email

    1. Hi YEahManYEah,

      You definitely don’t want to wait until the point you are ejaculating. 10 seconds, and probably more than that is a good time to stop and cool down. You need to experiment and see how long you last for after a cool down period. If you feel like ejaculating immediately again, then you’ve probably left it until too late. So next time, try stopping a little sooner.
      Hope that helps

  15. I want to know that start and stop method should done how many times a day…..
    and may I use both the methods start and stop & kegel..

    1. Hi Manii,

      It’s up to you how many times you do it, and how much time you have to spare! You can do both that and kegels, yes. But I wouldn’t do kegels more than once or twice a day. But the start and stop method – you could do that 5 times a day if you wanted and I believe it would only help!

  16. Should I stop and start the same day as sex ? Or will this make pe even worse

    1. Hi Haj

      I imagine doing it before sex is fine. It’s also a good idea to masturbate before you have sex anyway to reduce your ‘tension’. So doing it with the start and stop method is better than rushing it!

  17. Ethan, is stop and start be ineffective if one start the technique with lubricant

    1. I’m not sure what you mean exactly. But to be honest, as long as you are still practicing the technique, using lubricant or not is not the most important thing. So if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it.
      Hope that helps

  18. if I ejaculate every time at the time of start and stop method I feel sick. Is there any benefit if I don’t ejaculate every time at the time of start and stop method? if I practice it every day without ejaculation, will I get any benefit? after how many days should I ejaculate?

    1. Hi Ark,

      I’m not sure why you’re feeling sick – that sounds a bit unusual to me. I think there’s nothing wrong with not ejaculating on some days. Tantric practice will say it’s a good thing to keep that energy in for example. As for how many days, to be honest I’m not sure what the answer is to that question. It may be that you have to work that out yourself in terms of how frustrated you feel and how swollen you become!

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