Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 8/18/2019
It’s a fact of life: Sometimes what you don’t want to have happened — can actually happen, and not just to you. Premature ejaculation, or PE, is a common form of sexual dysfunction that affects an estimated 30 percent of men worldwide.
And if you’ve searched for information about treating PE, you may have come across techniques to slow down orgasm and ejaculation — such as the squeeze technique.
The squeeze technique is a lot how it sounds, and involves physically squeezing the area near the tip of your penis a few seconds before you reach the “point of no return” during sex.
Although the squeeze technique is a popular option for treating PE without medication, there’s little scientific research on its effectiveness. Yet that’s not to say it won’t work for you.
Read on to learn more about the squeeze technique, the current science behind it, and how it works as a treatment for premature ejaculation.
Below you’ll also find some other science-based treatment options for PE, including topical treatments, prescription medications and more.
The squeeze technique — or ‘pause-squeeze technique’ — is a simple method of treating premature ejaculation that doesn’t require medication.
Performing the squeeze technique is simple. During sex, as you feel yourself beginning to reach the point of no return before orgasm and ejaculation, use your finger and thumb to apply a small amount of pressure to the area where the head of your penis, or glans, joins the shaft.
After applying pressure for a few seconds, release your fingers. Most people wait for around 30 seconds after releasing pressure to resume sex or masturbation.
The squeeze technique can be repeated as needed to delay orgasm and allow you to have sex for longer.
The squeeze technique works by causing the bulbospongiosus muscle — one of several muscles in your pelvis that’s involved in erection and ejaculation — to contract. This suppresses your urge to ejaculate and allows you to have sex for longer before reaching orgasm.
Because of its effects on the bulbospongiosus muscle, the squeeze method may also result in a brief reduction in your penis’s rigidity.
Put more simply, you’ll feel less of an urgent need to ejaculate, and your penis might temporarily become slightly less firm immediately after you squeeze it.
While the squeeze technique is quite popular for PE, studies have produced mixed results on its effectiveness.
In a systematic review published in the journal Sexual Medicine in 2015, researchers looked at 10 trials involving physical techniques for PE such as the squeeze technique.
While some of the trials showed improvements in intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT, or the amount of time required to reach orgasm and ejaculate), others reported little to no difference.
Overall, the researchers concluded that the squeeze technique shows some effectiveness as a treatment for PE, both when used on its own and in combination with medication.
The squeeze technique is one of several methods used to treat premature ejaculation, to allow for longer-lasting, more pleasurable sex.
Other treatments for PE include topical anesthetics, prescription medications, sex therapy and other behavioral therapy techniques you can try during sex or masturbation.
Topical PE treatments such as sprays and creams work by reducing the sensitivity level of your penis, allowing you to have sex for longer periods of time before reaching orgasm and ejaculating.
These products contain topical anesthetics such as lidocaine and prilocaine. For example, Hims Delay Spray for Men is made with lidocaine to reduce sensitivity without overly numbing your penis.
Research shows that topical sprays — when applied shortly before sex — can significantly increase intravaginal ejaculatory latency time and reduce the severity of PE.
Currently, the most widely used prescription medications for PE are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
While these medications are typically used to treat depression, they are also used off-label for premature ejaculation due to their effects on ejaculation latency.
SSRIs commonly used as off-label treatments for PE include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine and citalopram.
Research shows that SSRIs can delay orgasm and ejaculation by between one and five minutes and improve general sexual satisfaction in men with PE.
For more detailed information, check out this guide on Viagra for premature ejaculation which explores the benefits of erectile dysfunction medications for men with PE.
When premature ejaculation is caused by a psychological problem such as sexual performance anxiety, psychotherapy can sometimes be helpful.
Several different forms of therapy are used to treat PE and other sexual health issues, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and sex therapy.
Although research is limited on the effects of therapy alone as a treatment for PE, research has shown that a combination of psychotherapy and medication is more effective at treating PE than medication alone.
The squeeze technique is one of many PE treatment methods, and there are actually several behavioral therapy techniques that can be employed to delay ejaculation.
These techniques may be used in combination with medication or therapy, or on their own.
Common behavioral therapy techniques for PE include:
Sensate focus. This technique involves focusing on non-sexual touch with your partner to encourage body awareness, then gradually working towards sex. It’s used to reduce performance anxiety, which is often a factor in premature ejaculation.
The stop-start technique. This technique involves stopping sexual activity just before the point of no return, allowing for the sensation to pass, and then starting again after a few moments. It’s similar to the squeeze technique — just without the squeezing.
Pelvic floor exercises. Also referred to as kegel exercises, these exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that control ejaculation.
Masturbating before sex. Also referred to as precoital masturbation, this technique is often effective at reducing sensation and delaying ejaculation. Just make sure to time things right, as your refractory period can make getting an erection more difficult.
All in all, there isn’t very much scientific research on the squeeze technique. Despite this, it’s a popular approach to treating premature ejaculation that’s been widely used by guys of all ages and backgrounds for decades, if not much longer.
If nothing else, giving yourself a squeeze can’t hurt.
If you have PE, it’s worth trying options like the squeeze technique or start-stop method to see if they produce any improvements in your ability to delay orgasm and ejaculation.
And for more reliable results, you may want to look into science-based treatments for PE, such as sertraline, paroxetine or Hims Delay Spray for Men.
This full guide to premature ejaculation goes into greater detail about the most common causes of PE, as well as the most effective options for delaying ejaculation and enhancing your sexual performance.