Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/3/2023
Train leaving the station early? Champagne popping before the ball[s] drop?
Society would have you believe that a man should ejaculate only when he’s ready to, but an early release is probably a more common men’s health issue than you think.
In fact, research suggests premature ejaculation affects up to 39 percent of men. Whew!
If you have premature ejaculation, you may find that you reach orgasm and ejaculate in relatively little time during sex — typically in as little as one or two minutes.
Most cases of premature ejaculation (or “PE” for short) are treatable, meaning there’s usually no need to worry about this common sexual problem permanently affecting your sex life.
So, how do you get this type of sexual dysfunction under control? Hold on for a few more minutes, because we’re about to lay that knowledge on you.
Because your time may be short, let’s start with some fast facts. Premature ejaculation is defined as ejaculation that occurs within one minute of vaginal penetration and before the individual wishes it.
PE is often classed as mild, moderate or severe. Mild PE occurs 30 to 60 seconds after vaginal penetration, while severe PE occurs within 15 seconds of sex or even before penetration.
There are many fixes for your fast time to finish. Stopping premature ejaculation may involve a mix of various behavioral strategies and medications to help you along the way, including:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications
Numbing agents like creams, sprays and similar products
The stop-start strategy
Masturbating before sex
Counseling and/or therapy
Read on to learn more about how each of those methods can work alone or together to keep you in the saddle longer.
Thanks to porn, mass media and other sources, it’s common to think that sex needs to last for 15, 30 or even 60+ minutes for both partners to be satisfied. That’s far from true.
Research shows that the average guy lasts between four and seven minutes during vaginal sex.
Women for their part seem to be less concerned about this than men. In one study from 2003, researchers found that women tended to worry less about their partner’s rapid ejaculation (a term for premature ejaculation) than men did about their own time to reach orgasm and ejaculate.
Most importantly, though, is that PE is treatable with options like antidepressants, ED medications, topical treatments and more.
If you have premature ejaculation and think medication may help you, it’s best to contact a healthcare professional, like a urologist, to talk about your options.
We also offer a large selection of treatments for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction online, including prescription medications available after a private consultation.
Research shows that antidepressants prescribed off-label can help to slow ejaculation and prolong sex for men with ED.
In a 2007 study published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, men suffering from premature ejaculation were prescribed either paroxetine, fluoxetine or escitalopram.
All three of these drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are usually used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
The drugs were administered to study participants in the morning for four weeks, after which the men treated with SSRIs showed improvements in sexual function and a reduction in premature ejaculation severity using a validated questionnaire.
Interestingly, there was no difference in results between the different drugs, suggesting that all three of the SSRIs used in the study could be effective in stopping premature ejaculation.
SSRIs require a valid prescription, meaning you’ll need to talk to a licensed healthcare provider to use this type of medication.
In some cases, SSRIs can cause side effects you should be aware of before beginning treatment.
We offer the medication sertraline for premature ejaculation online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider.
Some medications for erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), may help prolong sex and reduce your risk of experiencing premature ejaculation.
A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Urology found that some men with premature ejaculation experienced more improvements from sildenafil than they did from the SSRI paroxetine or the squeeze technique.
Another, small study published in the Official Journal of the Brazilian Society of Urology, also found that a daily dosage of tadalafil (Cialis®) produced a modest increase in intravaginal ejaculatory latency time in men with erectile dysfunction.
Although these study findings are promising, it’s important to understand that research into the effects of ED medications for premature ejaculation isn’t comprehensive right now.
In addition to sildenafil and tadalafil, other medications designed to treat ED include vardenafil (Levitra®) and avanafil (Stendra®).
Our guide to sildenafil for premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how common ED medications work, as well as their potential effectiveness as treatments for PE.
Several topical treatments are available for premature ejaculation, including creams and sprays that contain anesthetics — yup, the same stuff you put on your sunburn can be put on your penis to treat PE.
These medications are designed to be applied to the head of the penis and can change your penis’s level of sensitivity, allowing you to last longer during sex.
Common ingredients in topical creams, sprays and other medications for premature ejaculation include anesthetics such as lidocaine and prilocaine. Our Premature Ejaculation Spray contains lidocaine as its active ingredient.
Research shows that these topical anesthetics are effective.
One study published in the journal Andrologia found that men who used a lidocaine-prilocaine treatment were able to have sex for longer before ejaculating than men who used a non-therapeutic placebo.
Another study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that men with PE who used a lidocaine spray before sex experienced a statistically significant improvement in time to ejaculation and sex frequency over the course of eight weeks.
In short, using the lidocaine spray not only reduced the severity of PE, but it also resulted in more sexual encounters overall.
If you’re prone to premature ejaculation, you may benefit from using condoms designed to delay ejaculation.
These are often labeled as “stamina” or “extended pleasure” condoms. They tend to be slightly thicker than regular condoms and sometimes have a mild topical anesthetic applied to the side of the condom that comes into contact with your penis.
In addition to potentially slowing down ejaculation, using condoms provides an additional layer of protection against many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
There are a few different surgeries available to treat premature ejaculation. However, the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) doesn’t recommend these as options.
In their estimation, the risk for permanent damage and loss of sexual function could be too great, according to a review published in the journal, Translational Andrology and Urology.
Several behavioral techniques can be used as treatment options to prevent premature ejaculation, including simple techniques that can be performed during sex.
One of the oldest tricks in the book, the stop-start technique is exactly what it sounds like: a premature ejaculation treatment where you stop sexual intercourse, then start again when you’re not about to cum. Then repeat the process until you’re ready to ejaculate.
You can practice the stop-start technique with your partner or by yourself.
Using this process can also help you eventually you feel more confident in your ability to control your orgasm and not ejaculate too quickly.
As simplistic as the stop-start strategy sounds, research shows that it’s a relatively effective way to treat premature ejaculation in the short term.
For example, a scientific review published in Therapeutic Advances in Urology concluded that 45 to 65 percent of men with premature ejaculation report benefits from this technique.
However, there’s relatively little data available on the long-term results from using the stop-start technique.
Since the stop-start strategy doesn’t involve any medications or costly medical treatments, it’s a helpful first option for treating premature ejaculation.
Another common technique used to manage premature ejaculation is the “squeeze” or “pause-squeeze” technique.
During sex, as you’re approaching orgasm and ejaculation, you (or your partner) should firmly squeeze the area between the shaft and glans of your penis to stop you from ejaculating.
Although there’s no exact amount of time that you should squeeze your penis, most resources suggest around 30 seconds.
By using the squeeze technique, you can delay orgasm and ejaculation several times, allowing you to stop ejaculating too soon.
Like the stop-start technique, the squeeze technique is generally effective, but also has certain downsides.
Since it results in a stop in your sexual activity and pleasure, it may become an annoyance for both you and your partner.
During the brief stop in sex, you may develop a weaker erection — something that might affect your sexual performance and enjoyment if you’re prone to erectile dysfunction.
Sometimes, the easiest way to increase your time to ejaculation is to simply masturbate shortly before you plan to have sex.
While there’s no scientific evidence to support this method, many men find that masturbation shortly before sex is an effective way to delay orgasm and prevent premature ejaculation.
The idea behind this approach is that during the refractory period (a recovery phase that occurs after orgasm), most men won’t be able to orgasm for a little while.
Despite the lack of evidence, this is a simple, free and low-risk method you can try to slow the process of reaching orgasm and prevent yourself from ejaculating too soon.
You probably think kegel exercises are exclusively for women, but there's research out there to suggest that kegel exercises can help increase ejaculatory latency and prevent premature ejaculation in men, too.
For example, a 2014 study published in Therapeutic Advances in Urology found that men who performed pelvic floor muscle exercises for 12 weeks developed greater control over their ejaculatory reflex and increased their average time to ejaculation during sex.
Other research published in the journal, Physiotherapy, found that pelvic floor muscle exercises may help improve other sexual performance issues, such as erectile dysfunction.
Our detailed guide to kegel exercises lists techniques to train your pelvic floor muscles (the ones that help you stop your pee midstream) for better sexual function and performance.
As discussed in our guide to the causes of premature ejaculation, psychological factors such as anxiety or guilt about engaging in sexual behavior may contribute to PE.
If your premature ejaculation is related to your mental health or relationship problems, you may benefit from therapy and/or counseling.
In a small study published in the National Journal of Andrology, men suffering from premature ejaculation were treated through a six-time course of behavioral therapy, two to three times per week.
After the treatment, the men were able to last longer before reaching orgasm and ejaculating during sex. The men who took part in the study and their partners also reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction.
The men in the study also reported lower levels of sexual performance anxiety and nervousness — factors that can often contribute to premature ejaculation and other sexual performance issues.
Research published in the journal Translational Andrology and Urology also shows that a mix of psychotherapy and medication is often more effective at stopping premature ejaculation than medication alone.
Several different forms of therapy are used to treat premature ejaculation and other issues that can affect your sexual health, including sex therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Counseling and therapy are often combined with other treatments, such as medication, to help you overcome early ejaculation and improve your sexual experience.
Sometimes changing what you think about during sex can help delay orgasm so you can avoid ejaculating prematurely — just ask any man asked to picture his grandfather naked to last longer.
This (sometimes traumatic) mental method is referred to as diversionary thinking. The theory is that by thinking about things other than sex, you’re less likely to reach the level of mental stimulation required to reach orgasm and ejaculate.
While some may find picturing their tax returns to be helpful, there’s no scientific research on its effectiveness. In fact, aside from a bunch of guys repeating the “think about baseball” line to each other, anecdotal evidence is all we have in support.
Some researchers have even pointed out that these techniques tend to be unsuccessful over time because they reduce pleasure over all.
There’s also a downside in that it can reduce the pleasure of having sex by taking you out of the moment.
Premature ejaculation is a quick accident followed by time and regret. It’s normal to have it happen on occasion, but a pattern of early releases can make you seem really soft on stamina.
This isn’t your fault, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.
Premature ejaculation can be a frustrating, challenging issue that affects both your sex life and self-esteem. Luckily, PE is a treatable issue.
The best solution always starts with a conversation with a healthcare professional, who can help you determine the potential causes of your own individual PE problem, and suggest treatment options tailored to your needs.
Through medication, behavioral therapy or a combination of the two, many men with PE are able to increase their ejaculatory latency and enjoy a more exciting, pleasurable sex life.
To get started treating PE, you can purchase our Premature Ejaculation Spray or consult with a licensed healthcare provider online about using sertraline.
You can find out more about how sertraline works, its effects, and more in our guide to sertraline for premature ejaculation.