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. sukesh bhatt

    how many times i have to do stop and start method in a week to see the improvement. for larger improvements and also for smaller imrovements. please advice

    1. Hi Sukesh
      You can do it as many times as you can cope with and have time for. There’s no set rule for what works best. But at least a few times a week is good I’d say.

  2. i think i got PE problem. i used to have 5 minutes long with sex. but now only 30 seconds or less. i tried stop and go technique but don’t really understand. the first stop takes me about 30-35 sec. after that, no matter how long I stop, I just stimulate for 3 -5 sec then i come so close to the orgasm. do i do it right?

    1. Hi Justine
      You’re probably stopping too late, when the semen has already started its journey, making it very likely you’ll feel the need to ejaculate as soon as you start up again. Try stopping a bit earlier in your arousal. Then wait 30 secs and continue.

  3. Sir if I can last 15-20 mins in masterbating,then how much I can last in real game,

    1. Hi Satish
      I have no idea unfortunately. It depends on many different things, and unfortunately there’s no way to guess this. But 15-2 mins is a good amount of time to last for alone, so hopefully when you have sex it will be a reasonable amount of time.

  4. i’m 23 and i have never had sex before. i last less than a minute when i masturbate and it started bothering me now. i feel like i used to last longer (1-2 min) when i was younger and started masturbate and I’m getting more and more sensitive now to the point i last 10 seconds sometimes . I heard you don’t last long when masturbating and you may last longer in penetration when masturbating. when the right time comes and i started a sexual relationship, do you think it would bother my partner if i stop and start many times, assuming she is a virgin as well and she has no sexual relationship experience. thanks

    1. Hi Pato
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that’s right – people tend to last less time during sex than when masturbating. I think the ideal situation would be to develop your stamina now while you’re single by practicing this and other techniques. Ideally, you don’t want to be starting and stopping too many times during sex. Yes, it’s fine to change positions, change speed and sometimes switch to oral etc. But it’s good to get to the stage where you can maintain one movement for a longer period of time, because that’s usually what women need to eventually have an orgasm. So I’d say, try to focus on building your stamina and have the goal that you won’t need to start and stop many times in the future.

      1. thank you for the reply! appreciate it

        so what do you think i should start practicing from now to build my stamina? and is your eating habit has any effect on how you perform during sex? like lasting longer

        1. Hi Pato
          No problem. I’d do the start and stop method on your own. I’d also recommend getting a premature ejaculation book and learning all the other techniques and background info. which will help with the bigger picture. I haven’t found any food which helps really, to be honest.

  5. i am siddharth, sir i have some doubts on start and stop method that is if we do for this 15-20mins our penis would not get damaged?

    1. Hi Siddharth
      No, it’s absolutely fine. There shouldn’t be any damage to your penis, even if you go for much longer than that.

  6. Hi ethan,
    I am very depressed right now, my situation is worse than before, i cant feel errection i have tried watching porn and other things, i have not stopped rubbing my penis with my bed and ejaculating after that in my pants, it feels so embarrasing and so guilty, i have no control over it, i feel horny evrytime, i ejaculate in 1-2 minutes without any errection, i am just 22, i dont know what to do even if i try very hard it gets little errected but not more than for 10 seconds, please help me out i am so depressed with this, tell me some natural cure for this, please help me

    1. Hi Sam
      Sorry to hear you’re feeling depressed about this. Try not to panic though – I’m sure you’ll find a solution. However, I’m not sure I completely follow your comment. You say you ejaculate in 1-2 minutes, but also that you don’t get more than a little erect for a few seconds. Do you mean you ejaculate sometimes without having an erection? Can you be more specific about what happens to you in different situations?

      1. Yes ethan i ejaculate without errection sometimes when i just rub my penis with bed, cant make the penis errect for more than 15-20 seconds, its not even possible to put this in vagina, because when i till the time i wear condom it becomes loose. I am very afraid

  7. Hi Ethan,
    Jst wanna know that if i am going to gym daily and along with that i am doing this technique than is there any harm over my health or in my gym performance….
    is it ok to mastarburate and doing work out does it effects my stamina or performance… ???
    thank you

    1. Hi osei,
      Ok I understand now. Unless you’re doing it whilst exercising – which would be weird – I don’t see why you would lose weight.

  8. Hi Ethan,

    I had a recent problem when having sex. In the mid of banging, my Strongman becomes weak and lose its hardness. Is this because of stress tht i lose focus or because of having cigar but im still young late 20s. I also cant come twice. Will your post help me? or you can suggest something ?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi jayv
      It could be due to several reasons. Smoking certainly doesn’t help erection strength, that’s for sure. But equally it could be due to stress, or perhaps other factors like a lower testosterone level at times, tiredness to name a few. This method is more about lasting longer, not erection strength. You’d be better off reading my article about not getting an erection as a starting point, or looking up erectile dysfunction online.
      All the best

  9. Hi, i am 22 years. I used to masturbate a lot. I always lay on my bed when i feel horny and starts rubbing my penis against the bed. Its been an year i am doing like this, and i do it everyday. I just had sex with my partner and i realized my penis was not hard enough to go in her vagina, first i felt its too tight because she is a virgin. But i tried my best but i was not able to go inside her. It was bending every time i was trying to insert it into her. Luckily we have good understanding and we did oral to satisfy each other. And i have also noticed the amount of semen that comes out of my penis is too less. I checked google for week erection, got to know about start and stop method. Should i do this everyday? Should i masturbate after 20 times ? Will it help in improving the erection hardness ? Please someone guide me.

    1. Hi Sam

      Having sex with a virgin takes a little knowledge and correct technique to make it work, and to work without pain or stress for her. It could be that the problem is one of relaxation, lubrication, angle etc rather than just your erection strength. Do some research online about losing your virginity and you’ll find plenty of good advice and help you understand what’s required. The key though is setting a relaxing atmosphere, loads of time on foreplay, using lubricant if needed, going slowly, and making sure she’s relaxed and happy.
      Regarding your second question, it’s the start and stop technique isn’t meant to improve erection strength. Although it might have that side effect as you build up the excitement by repeatedly denying yourself ejaculation. I’m not sure what you mean about masturbating after 20 times?

      1. Thanx for the advise ethan. Yes, that makes sense what you said, but these days I’m observing I’m not getting full erection, length of my penis is not that good as it was before, and its kinda soft smooth and flexible. Its not so hard as it used to be, how to overcome that, hope its not something serious.

        1. Hi Sam
          No problem. Well, it could be due to a range of things. It could be due to the kegels, theoretically. I would suggest not doing them for a couple of weeks and see if things return to normal. Also, perhaps do some research online into boosting your testosterone – for example eating certain foods, and doing the right kind of exercise in the gym. Those things might also help with erection quality.

  10. Hey Ethan,
    I’d like to tell you that I am doing kegels for last one month (almost 3-4 weeks), before doing kegel my ejaculating time was around 30 sec, and after one month of the exercise when i try to measure my cumming time than it’s the same as 30 sec no improvements with the exercise. So would this start and stop technique help me with my kegels and should i do these both exercises together??? And one more question, what if i lose my erection while relaxing in this method?

    1. Hi Adeeb
      Thanks for your comment. Have you been doing normal kegels, reverse kegels, or both? My personal opinion is that normal kegels aren’t very helpful. You can read my article about why kegels alone won’t cure premature ejaculation for an explanation as to why.

      Yes, I think the start and stop technique is more useful. I would then combine it with both normal and reverse kegels. But mainly focus on this technique. The key is learning to control your arousal levels, and kegels alone aren’t really enough to do that.

      You’re unlikely to lose your erection doing this technique during a 30 second rest. And even if you do a little, it will soon come back to life again.


  11. I got married 10 months before…but I am not lasting for more than a minute…will stop and start method work…

    1. Hi Anand
      Congratulations on getting married first of all! The start and stop method should help you, yes. But as I said in the article, I do also recommend trying other techniques and learning as much as possible about premature ejaculation. But sure, this techneque a good place to start.

  12. what is the best way to it touching the penis or rolling your hands on the penis..

    1. There are lot of different ways of doing it. But if you think about what action you would have when having sex, that’s what you can try to imitate through masturbation. So, basically grip the penis and move your hand up and down the shaft.

  13. Hello sir! Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve had a problem with PE since i was about 17 and I’m 21 now. When websites say under 2 minutes is considered PE I was astounded because I find it hard to even make it to 1! I’m trying kegal exercises without seeing many results and even the numbing lubricant with absolutely no progress. I figure what I have is all mental and a little bit to do with low confidence. My girlfriend says she doesn’t care when I finish but I really don’t feel great after, just kind of ashamed. The only real help I got was when i started taking an antidepressant for OCD. Man i could go forever and then when I got off it, back to feeling every sensation again. Anyway, my questions are:
    1. Does too much “normal” masturbation cause PE
    2. What does the books do better that this method does not do?
    3. Is the 5/5 rated book really worth the money (does it actually work?)
    4. Would a person like me progress from this technique?
    5. Should I be completely flaccid before starting again?
    6. Would doing kegal exercises along with this be beneficial?
    Again thank you for this and I really hope you can help.

    1. Hi Ty
      Thanks for your comment. Let’s see if I can answer your questions as best as possible:

      1) Only if you do it quickly each time. If you use it to practice techniques, then no.
      2) They contain other techniques, and helpful background information to help you understand the root cause, how your body works, how to recognize your arousal levels, different ways of getting aroused and coping with arousal amongst other things.
      3) It was what I used and it made a huge difference to my personal problem with PE. If you don’t like it, you can get a refund.
      4) Hopefully yes, but there’s no guarantee with any one technique and PE. But I would hope so, yes.
      5) No, that would take too long to happen from being very aroused.
      6) Yes. But my opinion is that kegels can be a bit problematic if you become fixated on them. So do them in moderation.


  14. Hi Ethan

    From my latest experience,
    I had my second sexual intercourses two hours after the first but still I had a PE.
    Then, I have serious problem with masturbation as I feel like harming myself (due to my hard hands surely) and I when just watch pornography, after a little moment, without touching myself, I almost always notice that I’ve ejaculated a very small quantity of semen, without even being aware of it coming.
    Any help for me?

    1. Hi Jun,

      Sometimes the second time round isn’t that much better, though often it is. Again, you need to work on your arousal levels and control generally.
      I don’t think hard hands are going to harm yourself. Just be careful how fast and hard you do it – it’s up to you to not injure yourself!
      The small amount of fluid might simply be pre-cum which is natural when you’re aroused.

  15. Hi Ethan

    I am one of the PE victims and your article caught my attention…So today i tried masturbating without porn but it was hard for me to get it started only with my imagination. Therefore i watched a little bit of porn just to get myself going. Afterwards i masturbated around 45 mins (without watching porn) but then i got bored and stopped. Is there a reason why i can last for so long that way but when watch porn i last a maximum of 2 mins and only if i am relaxed and not tired. Greets

    1. Hi Vik,

      It’s probably simply because the porn stimulates you way more than your imagination and raises your arousal level. There’s probably not much point masturbating for that long to be honest. I’d get bored too!

  16. will power

    If i do start stop practice daily myself (masturbation). Does it not harm?…. as this will be something like overmasturbation.

  17. slim shady

    Hi Ethan
    I have 2 questions:-

    1) When i go to pee, after peeing I start this technique and when I am about to ejaculate I stop and control my ejaculation. So there is a discontinuation in my method as I do it for 2-3 minutes i.e (2-3 min for 5-8 times a day). So will it benefit me in this way?

    2) How do I know I have PE. I don’t have any partner and I have never done sex. But when I start masturbating I ejaculate in a minute.

    3) And last I want to know and confirm from you that I think everybody faces this problem. Don’t they? I mean is there any guy who can control for 5 minutes in his first sex.


    1. Hi there slim

      ok to answer your questions, as best I can:

      1) I’m not sure why you start the start stop technique after peeing? Why do you choose to do it at that moment? I’m also not sure what you mean by the discontinuation? The best thing to do is wait until you feel like masturbating naturally, then take your time and do the technique while in bed or wherever you normally are.

      2) Good question, and really you won’t know until you start to have sex. But possibly if you last that time when masturbating, you won’t suddenly last 10 minutes during sex. So it’s probably worth putting the practice in to try and last longer than you are doing in your short sessions. And yes, many guys find their first sexual encounters are over before they start! The key is to not roll over and go to sleep if it happens. Spend time stimulating your partner in other ways until you’re ready to go again. Which will probably be pretty soon. Then you’ll likely last longer the second time.


  18. i am 18. i started stop and stop method but i cant get good feel in it. what can i do??

    1. Hi ab

      I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean by ‘cant get good feel in it’? Can you describe the problem you’re having more clearly please.

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