Do you ejaculate quicker than you’d like? Do you feel like you’re not satisfying your partner in bed? Are you not fully satisfied with your sexual experiences? Does it feel like sex ends before it even starts? You may have a form of premature ejaculation, otherwise known as PE.
What is premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation is when sperm is released too rapidly, often under a minute. It generally occurs before or immediately after penetration.
Premature ejaculation is diagnosable when it’s frequent and happens more often than not during sexual intercourse. Although PE is often considered under a minute, it can also be diagnosed as any amount of time that is significantly less than a man’s previous experience with ejaculation.
The most important thing to know about PE is that you are not alone. In fact, according to the Urology Care Foundation, 1 in 3 men ages 18-59 suffers with ejaculation issues at some point in his life.
It is the most common form of male sexual dysfunction… but it can also be one of the most frustrating.
There is a negative stigma around premature ejaculation. You may have seen movies or television shows where men are mocked—by both men and women— for ejaculating too quickly.
Often, this sort of stigma is associated with young men who are in the beginning stages of sexual development.
But trust me, this is not a funny adolescent problem.
In fact, there can be serious negative consequences in response to PE. It could lead you to feel frustration, embarrassment, anxiety, stress and guilt.
These feelings can in turn create communication problems with your partner, intense angst, and an avoidance of sex. It can even cause health problems because of intense stress—and because having regular sex is important for your health!
You can overcome premature ejaculation through a thorough understanding of the causes and possible treatments.
What causes premature ejaculation?
The causes of premature ejaculation are variable and scientifically unknown. Generally, PE is not caused by a serious medical condition, but your doctor may still want to first rule out diabetes, multiple sclerosis, prostate disease, and thyroid problems.
PE may be caused by injury to the prostate, penis, or testicles, or it could be a side effect of some medications (especially ED meds and PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra).
Hormones and brain chemicals may also play a role. An unbalance of testosterone has been shown to have an influence on the virility of sperm, which may in turn have an impact on ejaculation timing.
Additionally, low amounts of serotonin (the “happy” chemical) in the brain could have links to PE.
Oftentimes, premature ejaculation is caused by psychological factors. This can include unrelated anxiety, depression, stress, or body image issues that creep into the bedroom.
It can also be related to relationship problems, causing lacking communication or infrequent sex. Other psychological influencers can include:
- Sexual inexperience
- New relationship
- Over-stimulation (visual or physical)
- Intimacy issues or concerns
- Early sexual trauma or conditioning
- Worrying about performance or PE itself
PE may be indirectly linked to erectile dysfunction in some cases. If you have ED and worry about maintaining an erection, it may cause you to hurry ejaculation before you lose the erection. This is often fixed with treatment for ED and the associated anxieties.
PE can be lifelong or acquired. Lifelong PE—only 2% of diagnosed PE—describes an issue that has been present since the man’s first few sexual encounters.
Some studies suggest lifelong PE is linked to issues in the nervous system. Acquired or secondary PE occurs later in life and commonly has a direct psychological cause.
What are the treatments for PE?
Solving your premature ejaculation first comes from understanding the cause. Treatments for PE are as varied as the causes. You will need different solutions if you are anxious about pleasing your partner versus if you are stressed from work.
By the way, if you’re feeling anxious, it might be helpful to know that women don’t care about your PE. A study of 152 men found that their heterosexual female partners did not have a negative perception of their partner with PE.
In this way, PE was only found to hurt a relationship if the man felt anxiety or frustration and shut off communication from his partner. Thus, it’s not the PE to worry about—it’s your reaction to it!
As Captain Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean, “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”
Below are some PE treatments your doctor may recommend:
Psychological therapy can help put you in the right mindset for sex. Working with a sex therapist can help you understand your anxieties, frustrations, and stresses that could be inhibiting you both in and out of bed.
It can help make you less nervous about sexual performance while boosting your sexual confidence.
Some therapists ask to see couples together. This can help open the lines of communication about sex and other problems that may be hindering the relationship.
This can help you grow closer together, which can in turn help overcome some of the mental roadblocks that could be causing your PE.
Behavioral therapy helps put your penis in the right mindset for sex. This uses repeated behaviors to train your body to build sexual tolerance. This can include mental therapy as well as physical therapies like the start-and-stop technique or the squeeze method.
Start-and-stop: You are instructed to stop sexual stimulation right before having an orgasm. Let everything calm down. Resume sex once the feeling has subsided.
Do this three or four times before ejaculating. This can help build tolerance and ejaculation time.
Squeeze: Gently squeeze the tip of your penis for thirty seconds when you feel you are about to ejaculate. Then restart stimulation. This is a built-in delay method. Make it more fun and enroll your partner to help with the squeezing!
Pelvic floor exercises
Studies have shown that pelvic floor exercises can help rehabilitate the muscle that controls ejaculation. If you have weak pelvic muscles, you may not be able to regulate sperm release.
Kegel exercises can help strengthen these muscles so you can regain that control. These exercises can also help improve erections and orgasms. You can do Kegels anywhere at any time.
You contract those muscles that would stop a flow of urine. Often, this can feel like a “pulling up” sensation.
It’s important not to contract other muscles, though, like the butt, thighs, or abs. Focus on the muscles that would control your bladder.
Tighten these muscles for five seconds, and release slowly. Repeat 10 times. Do 9 more.
You can increase the time, reps, or frequency based on need. The more you do, the stronger your muscles will get.
Practice makes perfect! Some very nice doctors will write you a prescription… to spend more time under the sheets with your partner.
If you can overcome your sexual anxieties and view sex as a controlled, safe environment—then practicing sex can help you identify what is causing your PE. You’ll be able to better understand what your body is feeling right before ejaculation, and you can learn to control it with practice.
You can also try different positions with varying types of stimulation, which may help slow the rate of ejaculation.
Masturbation may also increase tolerance and help understand ejaculation feelings before release. However, masturbation is often not the best solution, as excessive masturbation can cause other forms of sexual dysfunction as well, like porn-induced ED or lowered sensitivity to penetration.
P.S. Using condoms may help reduce sensation in the short-term, so you can practice building your tolerance.
Stress and anxiety can cause ejaculation problems. Relaxation and meditation techniques can help reduce stress and delay ejaculation. Staying chill is the key to living a healthy, sexy life.
Cutting down on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs has also shown to have a positive effect on treating sexual dysfunctions.
Although medications are not the best long-term option for PE, many doctors will prescribe low dose SSRI – medications typically used to treat depression. Zoloft has been used off-label to treat PE for quite some time with varied results.
Don’t let a quick release ruin your good time. If your relationship is suffering, you’re feeling inadequate or anxious, or you want a more satisfactory sexual performance, it’s time to talk to your doc. No matter the cause or reason for your premature ejaculation, you are not alone. There are solutions and treatments—and in fact, many are quite fun!