Premature ejaculation is a common kind of sexual dysfunction which nearly all men experience on a short term basis at some point during their lives. Symptoms include ejaculation before penetration, or less the two minutes after penetration. There are no rules as to how long sex should last, and you and your partner may not mind if you suffer from premature ejaculation, but it is worth seeing your doctor anyway, as it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. Premature ejaculation (PE) may be caused by either physical or emotional difficulties, such as having an oversensitive penis or having an emotional problem such as performance anxiety or feeling stressed. There are also lifelong conditioned issues which can cause you to suffer from PE, such as having certain thoughts conditioned from childhood. There are medications you can take to prevent premature ejaculation, such as Priligy (Dapoxetine), a type off SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or EMLA Cream, an anaesthetic which numbs the penis to reduce the sensations you feel. You can buy these medications from an online doctor such as iMeds.
Suffering from premature ejaculation is a very common condition, which mostly affects younger men, but which most men experience at some point during their life. It may be caused by emotional or physical difficulties, such as relationship difficulties or anxiety, or a physical condition such as having an oversensitive penis. You should speak to your doctor so as they can confirm that the problem is not due to an underlying illness. There are medications you can take, such as the SSRI Priligy, or the local anaesthetic EMLA Cream, to manage the problem.
What is premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation is a common condition characterised by the man ejaculating either before penetration or less than two minutes after penetration during intercourse. It is the most frequently occurring of male sexual problems, even more common than erectile dysfunction. There are two more types of ejaculation problems which are:
- Delayed ejaculation - The opposite of premature ejaculation, this is where a man cannot ejaculate, or it takes far longer to do so than he wishes. This problem occurs even when nothing is wrong with the erection. It is diagnosed by the man either failing to ejaculate at least half of the times he has sex, or failing to ejaculate at least half an hour hour to an hour after getting an erection.
- Retrograde ejaculation - This is the lesser known and less common kind of ejaculation problem, and is characterised by the semen travelling backwards into the bladder instead of through the urethra. Although the man can still feel the same pleasure of an orgasm, it can affect the sufferers fertility. Otherwise, there are believed to be no long term health problems associated with it. Symptoms include producing no semen or very little semen after the feeling of ejaculation, and also producing cloudy urine after sex.
A study conducted involving couples across five countries found that the average time it takes for a man to ejaculate is around five and a half minutes. Of course, there is no hard and fast rule on how long sex can last, and you may not find premature detonation to be a problem. However if you're frustrated or distressed by the issue you may want to consider seeing a doctor. Experiencing this occasionally is very common and may simply be a sign of a short-term problem such as emotional stress, the anxiety you experience with a new relationship, or merely drinking too much alcohol. If the problem persists over several weeks, you may want to consider speaking to your doctor about ways to manage it.
What causes premature ejaculation?
Like many illnesses, the causes of premature ejaculation can be roughly divided into two categories: physical and emotional. There are dozens of factors which can cause this problem, and some may disappear on their own or only be a short-term issue. Occasionally it is a symptom of an underlying illness, so if your problem persists it's worth speaking to your doctor about this to be on the safe side. The solution to your problems will depend on what is causing them, and your doctor or GP will be able to advise on what is best for you. Although you may find it embarrassing to talk about, remember that your doctor is trained to deal with this kind of problem and can give you the best help possible if you're open and honest with them. You can also speak to somebody at a GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic, which deals specifically with sexual health problems.
Premature ejaculation may be a side effect of an underlying illness or another physical problem. These include:
- Problems with your prostate
- An overactive or underactive thyroid gland - This is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck which helps to control metabolism
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Drinking a lot of alcohol regularly
- Taking recreational drugs including cocaine and amphetamines
- Oversensitivity of the penis - This is one of the most common physical causes of premature ejaculation, and thankfully one of the easiest to get help with
Emotional and psychological problems
Sometimes premature ejaculation is not caused by physical factors, but an emotional or psychological one. Sometimes these are short-term and very easily solved, but emotional difficulties may lead to lifelong and deeply ingrained problems if they have been a part of your life for many years. The cause of the problem will affect the help you need to get to resolve it. Emotional and psychological problems which are known to have a link to premature ejaculation include:
- Depression - This is a long-term mental health problem which can affect your sexual performance.
- Stress, or suffering from anxiety - If you're under 35, you are more likely to suffer from premature ejaculation than if you're older. It's believed that this is down to anxiety regarding sexual performance either for the first time, or with a new partner. This is known more commonly known as performance anxiety.
- Relationship problems - If you're experiencing difficulties in your relationship with your sexual partner, then this can impact your sexual life.
If you have been experiencing ejaculation problems all the time you have been sexually active, it may be that you have a lifelong conditioned problem that has existed since childhood.
For instance, If you suffered sexual abuse or harassment as a child, this may have led to trauma which can cause premature ejaculation. This trauma may also come in the form of something less serious but still humiliating, such as being caught by a parent whilst masturbating. If this is the case, you may want to seek counselling or therapy from a professional sex therapist to help you overcome the problem.
What treatments are available to help manage premature ejaculation?
Before you seek treatment for your problem, you'll need to find what is causing it. Be sure to be as open and honest as possible when speaking to your doctor, so they can be as helpful as possible and help you find quick and easy solution. This may feel embarrassing and you might be quite uncomfortable to talk about the topic in detail, but remember premature ejaculation is a very common issue, and your doctor is trained to help you. There are, however, techniques to prevent premature ejaculation you might want to try at home first. These include:
- Masturbating an hour or two before having sex with your partner
- Taking a deep breath just before you're about to ejaculate. This temporarily shuts down the reflex which causes you to ejaculate
- Try having sex with your partner on top, and let them know when you're about to ejaculate. This means they can pull away, helping you last longer
- Distract yourself during sex by thinking about something boring. It may seem rudimentary, but this is NHS endorsed advice
- If you think your problems maybe to do with your penis being oversensitive, try using a thick condom to reduce the stimulation you feel
When to speak to a therapist
If you believe that psychological and emotional problems are causing you premature ejaculation, you may benefit from speaking to a therapist.
If relationship problems or performance anxiety are the root of your troubles, then an honest conversation with your partner, or meeting the couple therapist, may help you to address and confront these problems. If you think it may be something more long-term and serious such as trauma in your childhood or teenage years contributing to your struggles, then a sexual or trauma therapist may help you to come to terms with your problems. If you have determined that the problem is down to generalised anxiety, stress or depression, your doctor may recommend a different course of action, such as speaking to a counsellor or going for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions to change your patterns of thinking. If you are suffering from depression, there are some medications you can be prescribed which happen to also delay ejaculation as a side effect.
What medicinal solutions are available for premature ejaculation?
If after a conversation with your doctor, it is determined that you're suffering from depression, you may be prescribed SSRIs. However, as these drugs have the side-effects of preventing ejaculation, you may also be prescribed them without this diagnosis. SSRIs, sometimes known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, reduce the amount of serotonin that is absorbed which means there is more of the chemical in your brain to be used. Serotonin is a chemical which contributes to happiness in the mind.
Drugs like SSRIs which affect certain brain chemicals should not be taken without the guidance of your doctor. SSRIs are very powerful drugs and may have side-effects ranging from nausea and diarrhoea to mood swings that disrupt daily life.
If you believe your premature ejaculation is being caused by oversensitivity of the penis, you may choose to use a thicker condom to reduce the sensation or apply a topical anaesthetic to the penis. This anaesthetic cream comes with less side-effects than taking SSRIs. The most popular of these creams is EMLA Cream, which can numb your penis slightly so you'll be able to last longer.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all fix for premature ejaculation. Speaking to your doctor openly and honestly will help them to identify the cause of your problem. Although it may feel embarrassing, remember that this is a common condition and your doctor is trained to treat it.