Premature ejaculation (PE) is the most common sexual disorder in young men below the age of 40. 30-70% of men are affected at one time or another. Despite such high prevalence, most men are not willing to step forward and speak about it. No problem, we have you guys covered. We have compiled a quick and easy guide to everything you need to know about premature ejaculation and what can be done about it.
What is Premature Ejaculation?
Very simply put, premature ejaculation (or PE) is when a man ejaculates too early during (or even before) intercourse or sexual activity on all or nearly all occasions. But what is too early?
There is no scientific answer to what exactly is defined as premature, but most commonly it is classified as PE when ejaculation happens before or within one minute of direct stimulation of the penis. Sometimes, it can even happen before any direct sexual activity.
As a reference point, the average time taken to ejaculate during intercourse is around five-and-a-half minutes. If it’s below that, don’t sweat it. In the end it, it all depends on each couple to decide if they’re happy with the time taken.
To occasionally experience PE is totally common and not a cause for concern. However, if you find that more than 50% of the time you have sex results in premature ejaculation, it might be worth speaking to your GP. Usually, GPs will diagnose premature ejaculation if they see one of the following symptoms:
- Commonly ejaculate within one minute after penetration
- Ejaculation that routinely occurs with little sexual stimulation and with little control
- Decreased sexual pleasure because of poor control over ejaculation
- Feelings of guilt, embarrassment or frustration
There are two different types of PE, primary and secondary premature ejaculation.
Primary premature ejaculation: when you have always had the problem since puberty
Secondary premature ejaculation: when you have developed the problem some point in your life
What Are The Causes of Premature Ejaculation?
While researchers are not entirely sure what can cause premature ejaculation, they agree that similarly to erectile dysfunction, the causes of PE can be divided into psychological and physical reasons.
PE may be caused by depression, stress or other relationship issues. Performance anxiety, particularly at the start of a new relationship may cause problems as well. Especially in young men, inexperience and performance anxiety can impact how long a man can last. Previous negative sexual experiences can also be a potential cause of premature ejaculation
Prostate problems, thyroid problems (overactive or underactive thyroid gland) or the use of recreational drugs (alcohol and illegal recreational drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine) can all contribute to premature ejaculation.
Given the difficulty to pin down the cause of premature ejaculation to a single factor, GPs will usually refer to several treatment options.
Treatment for Premature Ejaculation
The good news is that medication is not necessarily the only solution to stop premature ejaculation. Depending on the cause of premature ejaculation, most men can actually learn to stop premature ejaculation and increase their time to orgasm using behavioural psychotherapy.
- Stop-Start-Technique: Probably the oldest trick in the book. If you are about to ejaculate, just stop and wait until the level of arousal has diminished and then start again
- Squeeze-Technique: Before ejaculating, squeeze the end of your penis, at the point where the head joins the shaft for about 30 seconds until the urge to ejaculate passes
- Use a Condom: Most men find that condoms reduce the sensitivity, which can help with premature ejaculation. A number of condom manufacturers also offer condoms with a local anaesthetic on the inside of the condom, that will reduce the sensitivity of the head of the penis e.g. Durex Performa).
- Masturbation Before Sex: Masturbating an hour before you have sex can help delay ejaculation
- Gels/creams: These creams are applied around 30mins before sex and typically help to increase the time taken to ejaculate by numbing the tip of the penis.
- Medication: Dapoxetine is a short-acting selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is the first prescription-only medical treatment for premature ejaculation to be licensed in the UK.
- Topical sprays: Desensitising sprays usually contain local anaesthetics, such as lidocaine. These work blocking nerve impulses in the skin, thereby reducing the sensitivity of your penis.
Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual disorder amongst men and can take its toll on a healthy sex life and relationships. However, it can be treated fairly easily. Follow the above steps and if none of them work make sure to seek medical help.