Can you fix your premature ejaculation issues by hitting the gym?
If you’re reading this with your fingers crossed, we’ve got some good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that getting an extra workout into your routine probably won’t have much effect on your early-firing long gun, but the good news is that there are actually exercises you can do before sex, during sex, and at any other time.
And best of all, they don’t require a gym (in fact, you’d probably be arrested for doing some of them there).
Premature ejaculation exercises aren’t going to have your member lifting weights exactly, but there are some historically used physical tricks to help you decrease PE over time. Some of them even have some long term benefits.
Alongside erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation is one of the most common conditions affecting the sex lives of men. It is estimated that as many as 39 percent of men suffer from some degree of it.
Premature ejaculation isn’t a one-and-done condition, though. In fact, PE has to meet several requirements to be diagnosed.
The World Health Organization defines PE as “… 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…” which gives us some key requirements:
If you meet all of these, you’re unfortunately dealing with something larger than a couple of bad nights back to back.
The good news is that there are treatments available, and some of those treatments are exercises designed to help you regain control in the bedroom, and also to build some stamina for control while outside the bedroom.
Admittedly, the first technique we have to discuss is not going to blow your mind with cool tricks. The start-stop technique isn’t so much a technique as, well, just stopping and then starting again. The trick is that you stop just before you’re about to orgasm, and then start again when the urge to ejaculate goes away.
See? Not very exciting. And if you’ve tried to increase your time-to-ejaculation generally, or already have been dealing with premature ejaculation, there’s a chance you’ve employed a version of this without even knowing it.
The purpose of this technique is best served when you’re doing it consciously, though, as according to experts, you’re meant to repeat this several times during a session “so the man can learn to recognize the phase of sexual arousal that occurs before orgasm.
Studies have looked at start-stop before, but they’ve been limited. And start-stop has mostly been examined alongside other treatments. For instance, one small study found that start-stop increased the time to ejaculate by several minutes, but that study looked at start-stop alongside other therapies, leading to questions of what was really behind the changes.
Still, this technique has some legitimacy, particularly when paired with other therapeutic options.
By far the most scientifically beneficial “technique,” pelvic floor exercises focus not on the in-game issues, but rather on building stamina through outside-of-sex training.
Pelvic floor exercises, also referred to as kegels (yes, men can do them too), are an exercise you can do at your desk instead of squeezing one of those ridiculous gorilla grip contraptions.
Essentially your pelvic floor muscles control the flow of urine through your urethra. The goal of this exercise is to learn how to contract only those muscles at will. These muscles weaken over time and with age, and while kegels are usually linked to incontinence issues, there’s also quite a bit of research out there that shows they play a role in premature ejaculation.
A 2019 systematic review in the journal Physiotherapy examined 10 erectile dysfunction trials focusing on men over 18 with “no history of neurological injury or previous major urological surgery.” They found that the majority of trials “showed comparative improvement rates,” and concluded that “pelvic floor muscle training appears effective in treating … PE.”
The only problem? The review, when acknowledging its limits, mentioned that no “optimal training protocol has been identified.” In other words, we don’t have an answer for the best technique and frequency to work your pelvic floor. And because the review also mentioned a wide range of success rates, there’s also reason to believe pelvic floor exercises might not help everyone.
Not all of the options are pleasant, and we can safely say that the “squeeze” technique is among the least pleasant-sounding of what’s available.
Here’s how it works: just before orgasm, you’re supposed to pull out, and squeeze (somewhat gently) the tip of your penis between your pointer finger and thumb in order to decrease your level of arousal. You do this for 30 seconds or so, and may have to repeat it several times before continuing.
Believe it or not, this was essentially the technique up until the 1990s, give or take.
This technique has quite a few limitations. Off the tops of our heads, it requires you to have the self control to stop, pull out and squeeze. But more importantly, the limitation requires you to hit the pause button on sex with a partner, and make them wait as you engage in a little light solo BDSM. In the best case scenario, a partner will be supportive and maybe find it arousing, but in reality, most guys will naturally feel a little shame having to put things on hold for this.
Instead of (or ideally alongside of) exercises, there are other ways to address your premature ejaculation issues.
There are a variety of medicated gels, creams and other topical solutions on the market, and these are meant to dull the sensitivity of your penis (and therefore slow your ejaculatory response to sex).
A common ingredient in these is an anesthetic like lidocaine, which is commonly used in dental and dermatological treatments. You can read more about other treatments for PE in our guide.
A healthcare professional may also recommend SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors): prescription anti-depressants.
A 2007 study prescribed men struggling with PE one of three SSRIs: paroxetine, fluoxetine or escitalopram. After just four weeks, 100 percent of the men in the test showed reduced symptoms of PE, with none of the drugs performing better than the others.
If you’re seeing regular symptoms of PE and want to get it under control, contact a healthcare professional for some guidance.
Like many conditions, premature ejaculation could potentially be a sign of some other issue, whether it be pelvic floor weakening or some anxiety issues.
Preventing you from enjoying your sex life fully may just be one of the underlying issues you need a healthcare professional to help you address.
For more information, read our 101 guide to premature ejaculation for causes, statistics, and more information.