Premature ejaculation affects one in three men, making it one of the most common male sexual disorders.
Most cases of premature ejaculation (or “PE,” for short) are fixable, meaning there’s no need to worry if you suffer from occasional or ongoing PE. A variety of treatments are available, ranging from relaxation exercises to medication, topical gels and more.
We’ve covered these treatment options below, with specific information on the best methods for increasing your time to ejaculation. Our guide starts with the best non-pharmaceutical ways to stop PE, such as sexual techniques, before covering pharmaceuticals and other treatments.
For more information about the causes and prevalence of premature ejaculation, you can read our Premature Ejaculation 101 guide.
Do You Need to Use Medication to Stop Premature Ejaculation?
Most of the time, medication isn’t required to stop premature ejaculation. In fact, most men can gradually stop premature ejaculation and increase their time to orgasm using psycho-behavior therapy techniques.
In one study, 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 had significant improvements in ejaculation latency and sexual satisfaction.
The men that took part in the psycho-behavioral therapy also showed lower levels of sex-related anxiety and nervousness -- a factor that can contribute to improved overall sexual performance.
Below, we’ve covered some of the most common behavioral techniques used to stop premature ejaculation, including a few most people are already familiar with.
The “Stop-Start” Strategy
One of the oldest and most effective ways to stop premature ejaculation is through the use of the “stop-start” strategy during sexual intercourse.
The stop-start strategy is exactly what it sounds like -- during sex, you start moving, stop, and start again after giving yourself time to relax and prevent ejaculation. Most books and studies that reference the stop-start strategy advocate stopping as you feel ejaculation approaching.
As simplistic as this approach sounds, it’s highly effective. Books such as The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology recommend it as a preferred therapy technique for preventing premature ejaculation, and studies show short term symptomatic benefits in 45-65% of men.
Since the stop-start strategy doesn’t involve any medications or costly treatments, it’s a great first option for stopping premature ejaculation.
You can practice the stop-start technique with your partner or by yourself. As you feel yourself approaching orgasm and ejaculation, stop the stimulation and take a break, then repeat until you feel more confident in your ability to control your ejaculation.
The “Squeeze” Technique
Another technique for stopping premature ejaculation is the “squeeze” technique.
Just like the stop-start strategy, the squeeze technique is exactly what it sounds like -- during sex, as you’re approaching ejaculation, squeeze the area between the shaft and glans of the penis to prevent ejaculation.
Most of the resources on the squeeze technique recommend squeezing the penis for about 30 seconds to stop premature ejaculation. Since everyone is different, the ideal amount of time for the technique might be slightly shorter or longer.
Using the squeeze technique, you can delay orgasm several times, allowing yourself to perform for longer during sex.
Like the stop-start technique, the squeeze technique has its downsides. First, it results in a stop in sexual activity, which can be frustrating for both you and your partner. It can also occasionally reduce the intensity of your erection, which also affects sexual enjoyment.
Masturbating Before Sex
Sometimes, the easiest way to increase your time to ejaculation is to simply masturbate shortly before sex.
While there’s no scientific evidence to support this method (not surprisingly, finding a group of subjects willing to participate is a challenge for researchers), many men find that masturbation shortly before sex is an effective way to delay orgasm and stop 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 again. The end result is a longer average time to orgasm and, for their partners, better sexual satisfaction.
Since there’s debate about the male refractory period in the sexual medicine community, this is an approach that’s best regarded as “unproven” at best. Still, it’s an easy, low-risk method that you can attempt to delay orgasm and prevent yourself from ejaculating too early during sex.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Right now, there aren’t any medications specifically designed to treat PE. However, there are a variety of existing drugs -- particularly depression medications -- that have proven to be effective in helping men delay orgasm and ejaculation.
In a 2007 study, 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 used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
The drugs were administered in the morning and given for four weeks. After the study period, 100% of the men that received SSRIs showed an reduction in premature ejaculation using a validated AIPE questionnaire.
Interestingly, there was no difference in results between the different drugs, suggesting that all three of the SSRIs administered as part of the study could be effective in stopping premature ejaculation.
SSRIs are prescription medication, meaning you’ll need to speak with a doctor about this PE treatment method. Most medications in this class also have side effects, which you’ll want to discuss with your doctor prior to considering treatment.
Gels, Creams and Other Topical Treatments
Finally, there are gels, creams, sprays and other topics treatments designed to reduce penile sensitivity and stop premature ejaculation.
Most of these gels and sprays use local anesthetics such as lidocaine -- the same anesthetic that’s used by dentists and laser hair removal technicians. For example, many of the sprays on the market today use lidocaine/prilocaine, a mix of two different local anesthetics.
Studies show that this topical anesthetic combination is fairly effective. For example, in a study from 2002, men that used a lidocaine/prilocaine cream before sexual activity saw an increase in time to ejaculate compared to men that used a placebo base cream.
An older study from 1995 showed similar results, with men reporting significant improvements in premature ejaculation after applying 2.5 grams of lidocaine/prilocaine cream before sex.
However, topical treatments like lidocaine/prilocaine cream may have a downside. Because they numb the penis and reduce sensation, they might contribute to erectile loss -- a symptom noted by more than 50% of the men that received the cream in the 2002 study.
This article was reviewed by Ho Anh, MD.