Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/14/2023
They always say that the best things in life never last, but if “they” are your sexual partner (and the “best thing” they’re referring to is your erection), then it might be time to ask whether you cum too fast.
Every guy has been there before, of course. A new partner, a particularly erotic experience or a general lack of experience can all trigger a quick trigger.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of when this happens, but if it’s happening a lot, it may not be excitement — it may be premature ejaculation.
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common issue, and it’s perfectly normal to feel self-conscious about how long you last in bed if you often reach orgasm early.
It’s also normal to solve the problem. There are several things that you can do to increase your sexual stamina and delay ejaculation, but before we get into the solutions, you should understand the problem at hand — err — penis.
We’ve covered your most pressing questions below, like how premature ejaculation occurs, how long most men last in bed, and what you can do to last longer — for your own pleasure, and the satisfaction of your partner.
Premature ejaculation is a very common disorder. Scientific research suggests that between 30 and 75 percent of men are affected at some point in life.
It's probably a tale as old as time. We can even imagine the women of our early cave-dwelling ancestors quietly gossiping about how many cricket chirps it took for their partners to finish the night before. And men have probably asked how to last longer in bed for all of human history (or since the invention of Google, at least).
These days, however, we have data (and better caves). You may have premature ejaculation if:
You cum in less than one minute after penetration
You’re unable to penetrate your partner because you ejaculated before sexual activity could start
To be diagnosed with premature ejaculation, you’ll generally need to have persistent symptoms that not only prevent you from being able to have satisfying sex with your partner, but also lead to some degree of distress.
Our full guide to premature ejaculation goes into more detail about this common form of sexual dysfunction, as well as the steps that you can take if you think you’re affected.
As for the time-to-cum question, we can get more scientific with the answers. Most research into intravaginal ejaculatory latency (IELT) — a term that refers to the total amount of time required to ejaculate after vaginal penetration — shows that men vary significantly when it comes to sexual stamina.
For example, one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that sex therapists in the United States and Canada described any total ejaculation time between three to 13 minutes as normal and not worthy of clinical concern.
A different study, which surveyed couples in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, found that the median intravaginal ejaculatory latency for men was slightly over five minutes, with sexual stamina declining with age.
What your “average ejaculation time” should be is a complicated question to answer largely because sexual partners usually don’t have the same needs, preferences and expectations — not to mention variables like different penetrative sex acts and foreplay.
Because premature ejaculation is so prevalent, a large amount of time has been spent researching its potential causes and risk factors.
Experts aren’t precisely aware of why some men reach orgasm faster than others. However, research has revealed a range of potential factors that may play a role in the average amount of time you need to ejaculate during sex.
Your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH)
Your levels of prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
Lower-than-normal levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin
Inflammation or infection in your prostate and/or urethra
Guilt about sexual intercourse
Lack of sexual self-confidence
Your favorite videos on the Hub might also be to blame. Unrealistic expectations about a healthy sex life — which could be linked to pornography use — are also thought to potentially play a role in the development of premature ejaculation.
Put simply; there’s no single cause of cumming too fast.
So what’s a man to do? Think about baseball? Maybe.
If you’re concerned that you suffer from premature ejaculation, your best bet is generally to talk to your healthcare provider or schedule a consultation with a male sexual health specialist.
If appropriate, they’ll be able to diagnose you with premature ejaculation, and they may also be able to single out individual root causes. At the very least, they’ll be able to offer some guidance on how to deal with premature ejaculation.
Here are also plenty of other techniques and approaches at your disposal to help you gain control over your ejaculatory response and last for longer in bed. Some of them include:
Making use of antidepressant side effects
Pelvic floor exercises
Call a time out
Communicating with a partner
Numbing creams, wipes and sprays
Squeezing your way to victory
Rubbing one out ahead of time
Talking to a therapist
Let’s explore these options in more detail.
If behavioral techniques, psychotherapy, and other options don’t produce any improvements in your ejaculatory latency, you may want to talk to look into medications like Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
SSRIs are prescription medications that are typically used to treat depression. They work by regulating levels of serotonin throughout your brain and body, which often helps to treat the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.
But that’s not why we care about them.
Difficulty ejaculating during sex is a common side effect of certain SSRIs. For this reason, many healthcare providers use SSRIs such as sertraline (Zoloft®) and paroxetine (Paxil®) as off-label treatments for premature ejaculation. Doctors call it a bug, but quick-trigger guys will find it to actually be a feature.
If you don’t normally use a condom, consider wearing one when you have sex. This isn’t your middle school health teacher talking — research has shown that thicker condoms can help keep you in the game longer.
If you already use condoms, try switching to ones that use numbing agents like lidocaine and benzocaine.
Just be aware that some numbing agents may cause allergic reactions, meaning it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before using any type of medicated condom — we promise the swelling won’t be the good kind.
The ladies have a lot to teach you, fellas. Pelvic floor exercises involve contracting the muscle you use to hold in urine, training it to be more responsive, and giving yourself the muscle control to hold back if you ever feel like it’s time to hit the brakes on ejaculation.
Studies have shown that pelvic floor exercises (also known as kegel exercises) can reduce some signs of premature ejaculation, as well as other male sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED).
To get started, try reading our guide to pelvic floor exercises, which explains several exercises you can perform at home for stronger, more responsive pelvic floor muscles.
Just like when you play horror video games, sometimes it’s important to pause when the tension gets too high. Sometimes referred to as the start-stop technique, a quick mid-session pause is a simple way to stave off rapid ejaculation.
If you’re nearly finished and your partner isn’t even out of the gate, calling for a brief pause can give you a moment to relax and keep from finishing too early.
The science is mixed on this approach, studies of the stop-start technique leave numerous unanswered questions about whether it is only beneficial in conjunction with other treatments.
And just because you stop, doesn't mean you have to stop. This is a great time for some intermittent foreplay to keep the action going for everyone.
Premature ejaculation wipes and sprays work by reducing sensitivity during sex. Most wipes and sprays contain benzocaine and/or lidocaine, which are topical anesthetics that reduce sensitivity without affecting sexual pleasure.
This can help you reach orgasm and ejaculation on your timeline — improving your sexual stamina and everyone’s payoff.
One small study of 21 men found that men who used benzocaine wipes displayed improvements in ejaculatory latency time and sexual satisfaction.
In addition to keeping a condom or two in your pocket, you may want to consider packing a couple of PE wipes like our benzocaine wipes before the big night. If wipes aren’t your thing, our delay spray, is formulated with lidocaine and is easier for some men to apply for consistent results.
Trying to snatch victory from the jaws of PE? One technique involves squeezing the tip of your penis for a few seconds when you feel like you’re about to reach orgasm and ejaculate.
This technique, popularly referred to as “the squeeze technique” is basically the Windows 95 of PE treatments. It was pretty much the only clinically recommended therapy technique for PE until the 1990s, which seems crazy to think about with all of the treatments that are available now.
Using the squeeze technique during sex is simple — just gently squeeze between the glans and shaft of your penis as you feel orgasm approaching. You can also get your partner to do this for you to make the experience more intimate.
Our guide to the squeeze technique for premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how you can use this technique to cum slower and enjoy more satisfying sex.
If exercises or behavioral therapy techniques don’t appear to work for you, another option you may want to try is masturbating before you have sex.
The idea behind pre-sex masturbation is to take advantage of your refractory period — a short period in which you may find it more difficult to reach orgasm and ejaculate again. During this time, you might notice that you can have sex for longer without feeling tempted to cum.
Masturbating an hour or two before you plan to have sex may work quite well, but remember: timing is everything. Trying this technique too close to the time you’re planning to have sex could result in erectile dysfunction.
Truth bomb incoming: it may really be all in your head, dude. According to the National Institutes of Health, Several psychological health issues can play a role in premature ejaculation, including stress, anxiety, and depression.
If you’re experiencing sexual stamina issues and think they could be linked to a mental health issue, you may want to consider taking part in therapy.
You don’t have to spend the entire time talking about your penis (unless you want to) — meeting with a therapy provider is a great way to learn new strategies for successfully dealing with feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry.
Among the most effective forms of therapy for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help anxious people learn to stop their anxiety spirals before things get out of hand (or go limp in it).
Keeping an eye on the clock can make sex less enjoyable for everyone, so if you’re cumming too fast, the ultimate goal is to get your head back in the game.
Whether you suffer from premature ejaculation or just feel like you often reach orgasm too early when you have sex, it’s normal to occasionally have worries about your sexual stamina.
The good news is that there are lots of solutions available for early ejaculation.
Some solutions don’t require a healthcare provider’s help. The squeeze or stop-start techniques, switching to a thicker type of condom, or using a topical anesthetic wipe or spray on your penis to reduce sensitivity during sex.
Therapy might help where tools and techniques fail. Interested in talking to a therapist? We offer online therapy through our mental health services, allowing you to connect with a licensed therapist from home and access help without any need to worry about in-person appointments.
There are more options available when you ask for help. If these techniques don’t seem to work for you, you may want to try reaching out to a healthcare provider to discuss other options.
We offer a range of evidence-based premature ejaculation treatments online, including products that are available without a prescription.
We offer several SSRIs for premature ejaculation online following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider, including generic sertraline and paroxetine.
The best things in life may not last, but with help, you can run out of the intimacy clock every time.