Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation isn’t defined by a specific length of time, but more to do with losing control over when to ejaculate, and commonly ejaculating when either you or your partner aren’t ready. The main feature that earns the label of premature ejaculation is if this causes you distress.

How soon is too soon?

It is often described as ejaculating within about 1 minute of penetration, although there is no fixed time for ‘too soon’.

It is more defined as a loss of control over ejaculation, and the distress it causes.

Is premature ejaculation common?

It is the most common male sexual problem reported, and affects men of all ages.

It is more common in younger men, partially due to the fact that ejaculation takes longer as we age, and younger men may also be less sexually experienced or feel less secure with the scenario or situation in which they are having sex.

There are other ejaculation problems too

Other than premature ejaculation, people can suffer from

  • No ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Painful ejaculation

Men suffering from any of these should come and speak to their GP

Types of premature ejaculation

There is lifelong premature ejaculation which occurs from the first sexual experience and continues with every subsequent sexual experience. If left untreated, this will continue for the rest of a man’s life.

There is also acquired premature ejaculation which develops following a period with normal functioning before the premature ejaculation begins. Acquired premature ejaculation is often linked with psychological issues (most often relationship issues) or other issues such as erectile dysfunction.

What causes premature ejaculation?

For those suffering lifelong premature ejaculation there can be an imbalance of the neurotransmitters that help influence excitation and inhibition of ejaculations, thus lowering the threshold required for ejaculation.

Psychological issues such as performance anxiety can be secondary to lifelong premature ejaculation as opposed to being the primary cause.

Acquired premature ejaculation is often secondary to performance anxiety. This can be for a multitude of reasons. It can also be secondary to erectile dysfunction, as intense stimulation can be required to achieve an erection, but may hasten ejaculation.

Treatment of premature ejaculation

The treatment method chosen depends on the cause of the condition (whether lifelong or acquired)

There are lots of treatments available such as sex therapy, behavioural techniques, gels that reduce penile sensation, oral medicines and erectile dysfunction treatments (if this is also a problem).

Sex Therapy:

Counselling with a therapist experienced in sex may be very helpful in treating the anxiety associated with premature ejaculaiton. Counselling can also help identify any underlying relationship issues.

Behavioural techniques:

The ‘stop start’ method involves telling your partner to stop stimulation when you feel you are nearing ejaculation, then starting again when the feeling has passed. You can repeat this until you are ready to ejaculate.

The ‘squeezing’ method described by pioneer sex researchers Masters and Johnson involves squeezing the end of the penis for several seconds just before ejaculation, which lessens the urge to ejaculate. Again this can be repeated until you and your partner are ready to ejaculate.

Reducing penile sensation:

There are prescription gels available to reduce penile sensation that can be applied 30 minutes before sexual intercourse. After this a condom is worn to prevent absorption by the partner.

Two condoms can be worn to reduce sensation – although this reduces the effectiveness of the condom as a contraceptive or to prevent STI’s as the friction of the two condoms can cause tears in them.

Medication:

Antidepressant medications are often used as they have the side effect of delayed ejaculation. They can also be helpful if anxiety is a cause of premature ejaculation.

They can however also lower libido, and cause other side effects so make sure you speak to your doctor if this is the right option for you.

Erectile dysfunction treatments can be helpful if this is also an element in premature ejaculation. Please see our page Erectile Dysfunction.

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