We’re all likely aware of premature ejaculation — a common medical condition that’s reported to affect approximately one in every three men. However, far fewer people are aware of a condition with the opposite effect — delayed ejaculation.
If you suffer from delayed ejaculation, you may find it difficult or impossible to reach orgasm and ejaculate during sex. Or, you may be able to successfully reach orgasm and ejaculate, but find it difficult to do so in a normal, reasonable amount of time.
Dealing with delayed ejaculation can be a frustrating experience. However, as with many other sexual health issues, delayed ejaculation is generally treatable. In fact, treatments for delayed ejaculation have an average success rate of around 70 percent to 80 percent.
Below, we’ve explained how and why delayed ejaculation occurs, as well as the symptoms you may notice if you are affected. We’ve also listed several factors that may increase your risk of being affected by delayed ejaculation at some point in life.
Finally, we’ve listed the options that are available to treat delayed ejaculation, from medications to psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and more.
Delayed ejaculation is a medical condition in which it’s difficult or impossible to reach orgasm and ejaculate, or in which reaching ejaculation requires an extended period of sexual stimulation.
Most men can orgasm and ejaculate within a few minutes of "starting to thrust” during sex.
Although the exact amount of time between initiation of sex and ejaculation varies, research suggests that the average intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) for men is several minutes — it’s worth generalizing, because some studies say anywhere from five to six minutes, while others put it somewhere around 10 minutes or even longer.
For men with delayed ejaculation, reaching orgasm and ejaculating can take significantly longer than this. For some men, the process takes as long as 45 minutes.
In addition to taking longer to orgasm and ejaculate, men with delayed ejaculation may find the process of orgasm and ejaculation difficult. In some cases, men with delayed ejaculation may not be able to orgasm or ejaculate at all, even with significant sexual stimulation.
Others may only be able to reach orgasm and ejaculate through alternative sexual acts, such as masturbation.
Delayed ejaculation is also known as impaired ejaculation. Historically, it’s been referred to by a large range of different terms, including “diminished ejaculation,” “inadequate ejaculation,” “retarded ejaculation” and “male-orgasmic disorder.”
While longer-lasting sex may sound like a good thing, the reality is that delayed ejaculation can cause stress, frustration and discomfort, both for men who are affected by this condition and for their partners.
When sex goes on for too long, it can become physically uncomfortable. Natural factors that are important for pleasurable sex, such as vaginal lubrication, can run out, making what should be a pleasurable experience a frustrating, physically difficult one.
Delayed ejaculation can vary in severity and cause several symptoms. While there’s no precise amount of time that’s used to determine whether or not someone has delayed ejaculation, most experts consider the 30+ minute range to indicate that a man has delayed ejaculation.
You may be affected by delayed ejaculation if you:
The precise symptoms of delayed ejaculation can vary. To diagnose and treat cases of delayed ejaculation more specifically, most experts categorize delayed ejaculation into the two following categories:
In addition to being either lifelong or acquired, delayed ejaculation is often categorized as being generalized or situational:
A variety of factors can cause delayed ejaculation, from psychological issues to use of certain types of medication. Sometimes, several factors may all play a role in contributing to difficulty reaching orgasm and ejaculating.
In many cases, delayed ejaculation is caused by a psychological factor, such as depression or sexual performance anxiety. Potential psychological causes of delayed ejaculation include:
Sometimes, delayed ejaculation is linked to a physical factor, such as nerve damage or use of a certain type of medication. Potential physical causes of delayed ejaculation include:
Of course, even though these are some of the common and more well-known causes of delayed ejaculation, these aren’t all of them. Some other factors include things like neurobiological factors, certain diseases and even some genetic predispositions.
There are several treatments for delayed ejaculation. For some people, delayed ejaculation can be treated using medication. Others may benefit from a variety of types of therapy, including sex therapy and relationship-focused therapy.
Currently, there aren’t any FDA-approved medications for treating delayed ejaculation. However, several medications may be used off-label to treat delayed ejaculation symptoms. These vary in effectiveness and may cause side effects. Medications for delayed ejaculation include:
It’s worth nothing that these are just a few of the common medications sometimes associated with the treatment of delayed ejaculation, but the list is actually pretty extensive. It’s also worth noting that not all of these medications have proven effective in testing and many are associated with significant side effects.
If your delayed ejaculation is caused by an existing medication, your healthcare provider may recommend switching medications or reducing your dosage.
Delayed ejaculation is often treatable through therapy. Several different forms of therapy may be helpful for treating delayed ejaculation, including psychotherapy for underlying conditions or sex therapy. Therapy can take time, but has a success rate of around 70 percent to 80 percent.
For some people, therapy may involve working with your partner to reduce sexual performance pressure and help you relax during sex. If a relationship issue is causing delayed ejaculation, therapy may involve working on your relationship and intimacy with your partner.
If your delayed ejaculation is caused by a lifestyle factor, such as alcohol consumption or a lack of intimacy with your partner, making certain changes to your lifestyle may help:
Delayed ejaculation can be frustrating to deal with, especially if it affects your ability to enjoy sex with your partner. However, it’s generally treatable, with a variety of options available to help you orgasm and ejaculate more easily during sex.
If you have difficulty ejaculating, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider. You can also talk to a licensed primary care provider online to talk through your symptoms and learn more about the treatment options that may work for you.