Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/17/2021
Premature ejaculation (PE) is an understandably distressing thing to happen during intercourse — no one wants an enjoyable experience cut short.
But while reaching orgasm faster than you would like can be upsetting, the ‘premature ejaculation’ tag is typically reserved for instances where this is a common and persistent occurrence.
To understand why this happens, we'll be looking into the causes of this condition. However, our focus will be sharing tips to help you prevent, or more accurately, stop the chances of further experiencing premature ejaculation.
According to the World Health Organization, premature ejaculation is a, “persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal stimulation before, on, or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it, over which the sufferer has little or no voluntary control which causes the sufferer and/or his partner bother or distress…”
This simply means you are experiencing premature ejaculation when you constantly find yourself involuntarily ejaculating with very little stimulation right before, during, or a small while after penetration.
It’s a common sexual dysfunction, so much so that at least four percent of men are believed to experience some form of premature ejaculation in their lifetime.
Now, because everyone has a unique experience with intercourse, it’s a little hard to say when exactly ejaculation counts as premature. Ordinarily, it takes an average of five to seven minutes to ejaculate.
However, to determine if ejaculation is early , data has suggested that ejaculation that occurs within a minute after penetration is most likely a certain case of premature ejaculation.
Where it occurs between one and 1.5 minutes, there’s a probability that this is a case of premature ejaculation.
There are different ways to classify PE — it may be lifelong, where premature ejaculation has always been a part of the sexual experience. It may also be an acquired condition which takes place after already enjoying normal ejaculatory experiences for a period of time.
You can experience premature ejaculation before penetration, or it may occur suddenly during sex. This can sometimes happen with any sexual partner, or in any set up. Other times, premature ejaculation occurs with only specific people, and in certain situations.
It's hard to pin an absolute reason for this condition. It may however occur due to psychological factors, or physical issues. These include:
A new partner
Inexperience with sexual technique
Infrequent sexual activity
Deep seated hatred
Diseases of the nervous system like multiple sclerosis
Endocrine diseases like diabetes, Vitamin B12 deficiency, hyperthyroidism
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with premature ejaculation:
Ejaculation occurs involuntarily within or around one minute
It has been a persistent occurrence for six months
A lot of distress comes after quick ejaculation
No other medical condition has been identified
To properly diagnose this condition however, a qualified healthcare professional like a urologist will have to make proper examinations.
Again, some clarification — you can’t actually prevent premature ejaculation. There are no known precautionary measures to be taken. However, what you can do is treat the condition to prevent premature ejaculation from impairing your sexual experience.
A little caveat: lifelong cases of premature ejaculation cannot be treated. However, management is possible using diverse means. Likewise, premature ejaculation may be managed by treating the underlying reason behind it, like erectile dysfunction, for instance.
In most cases, early ejaculation can be managed using the following methods:
These therapies help to increase tolerance while helping to delay ejaculation when it appears imminent. It is more or less a training to properly recognize the signs of oncoming ejaculation, and the proper habits to adopt to counter it. These therapies include:
Judging by its name, you may have an idea of how this treatment will follow — and you’re probably correct. Stop-start requires the start or initiation of sex. When the penis has been sufficiently stimulated, and those first few urges to ejaculate begin to build up, stimulation will be stopped until those sensations pass. This will be repeated a few times before actually permitting ejaculation to occur.
The aim of the exercise is to have a better hold of the feelings of arousal. This can help to improve control over ejaculation.
Short-term, this method may help in holding off an early orgasm. However, it hasn’t been shown to provide long-term benefits.
The stop-start technique may be adopted with a partner or as a solo-training.
This is a more hands-on approach. This practice also requires the stimulation of the penis during intercourse. However, when sufficiently stimulated and on the brink of ejaculation, the man will be required to grab a hold of the head/tip of the penis and squeeze until the sensation passes. This can be repeated a few times to delay orgasm when premature ejaculation is imminent.
The squeeze method may not be the most ideal, especially because it requires a break during intercourse which can reduce the intensity and enjoyment of the activity.
Like the stop-start method, it may also be carried out solo or in conjunction with a partner.
This method is geared towards reducing performance anxiety during intercourse. To encourage body awareness, you and your partner can touch parts of the body that exclude the breasts and genitals.
Sex is also not to be initiated just yet. Only after a suitable number of turns should genital touching be introduced before carefully easing into full-blown intercourse.
Exercising the pelvic floor muscles with methods like kegels may also encourage ejaculatory control.
This can help with working through the negative emotions surrounding sex which may encourage premature ejaculation. It can also help you and your partner overcome sexual challenges within your relationship.
Certain medications can help with the management of premature ejaculation. A notable treatment is dapoxetine, an SSRI and the first drug formulated specifically for the treatment of premature ejaculation.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are specially formulated to manage depression, however they are also sometimes used to treat premature ejaculation. Likewise, certain antidepressants may hold benefits for premature dysfunction.
Applying specially crafted anesthetizing gels, creams and sprays to the penis can help with desensitization in readiness for sex. We also broke down the differences between delay cream and spray. If you are trying to decide between anesthetic creams and lidocaine spray, we have a guide for you.
When using these products, it's advisable to combine them with a condom. This is because these agents can cause the loss of sensation in the penis, as well as vaginal numbing. They may also cause irritation.
Managing premature ejaculation can be a very personal affair. Giving the available options a try to see what works best is an effective way to treat this condition.
Premature ejaculation can put an early, and unwanted stop to the fun. However, while this can be a distressing event, as well as a blow to the ego — this condition can be managed through a range of options.
Depending on your preference, or the severity of your condition: behavioral therapies, psychotherapy, numbing treatments, or sertraline for pe can help with managing premature ejaculation.
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