Premature ejaculation is the most common male sexual dysfunction. Research suggests it affects between 20-30% of men and can cause anxiety, depression and, of course, relationship problems. And while there is no universal definition, ejaculation is usually considered to be premature if it occurs within 3 minutes of intercourse.
It’s important to realise that every man comes quicker than he wants to occasionally, and some women can have unrealistic expectations of how long a man should last. There are, in fact, very few blokes who can piston away for more than a handful of minutes without some adjustment to their stimulation.
You’re unlikely to set longevity records if you’re feeling particularly fired up, or if it’s been a while since you last had sex. But it’s only classified as a ‘dysfunction’ if you feel you never have any control and you always come after just a few minutes’ stimulation.
Causes of premature ejaculation
As we mentioned, premature ejaculation is common among men and while it can be frustrating, it shouldn't be something to worry about. That will only make things worse. It's also worth understanding some of the reasons why you might be firing out of the gate a little too soon. Once you know some of these causes, you may be able to counteract them:
Sexual inexperience: Everyone has to start somewhere. And yes, practice really does make perfect.
Issues with body image: A lack of confidence can lead to a lack of control
How to treat premature ejaculation
There are three different types of treatment on the market currently. If you opt for psychosexual therapy you will work with a therapist on a behavioural program called ‘stop/start’ which will help you to get better at recognising the ‘point of inevitability’ and changing your technique to delay reaching it.
Alternatively, you can get local anaesthetic creams and gels. Some brands are now developing condoms with benzocaine gel in the, designed to delay orgasm. If your problem is severe, your GP can prescribe a drug which slows down your ejaculatory response.
All of these treatments have been proven to work, to a lesser or greater degree, but all have their drawbacks. Psychosexual therapy is time consuming and it can be difficult to find a sex therapist in your area. Local anaesthetics reduce sensitivity (and that of your partner) rather than build tolerance to higher arousal. Plus, all drugs have side effects.
When should I see a doctor?
If you feel the situation isn't getting any better, go and speak to a doctor, who may recommend you to a counsellor or a therapist specialising in sexual relationships. If they feel it's necessary, they may prescribe you a course of tablets or creams.
What can I do to prevent premature ejaculation?
If you find the wolf knocking furiously at the door, there are a few things you can try to calm him down.
- Masturbate an hour or two before having sex
- Use a thicker condom, which will help decrease sensation
- Stop. Take a break.
- Squeezing: if you feel that the money shot is on its way, squeeze the head of your penis for 10 to 20 seconds. The 'pinching' will reduce your erection and therefore your orgasm.