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What is premature ejaculation?

Sari Cooper
Sexual Health

Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates either before or within a few seconds or a minute after penetration. As a sex therapist who commonly treats this condition, I think a better term for it is uncontrolled ejaculation because it's a more accurate description. First one has to be assessed for medical issues. Some of the treatments I utilize in sex therapy are homework assignments that involve new physical techniques, anxiety lowering exercises and communication with a man's partner if he's in a relationship. This condition can cause a loss of self-esteem for many men while some men are not aware of the problem unless their partner expresses frustration with their sexual life.

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Premature ejaculation is a common problem in which a man ejaculates as soon as intercourse starts or even before he enters his partner. It often leads to anxiety that the problem will occur again. The woman may become frustrated as she finds her sexual arousal continually thwarted, and she may lose interest in sex as a result.

Rarely, early ejaculation can be traced to a medical problem. Your healthcare provider will want to rule out urologic conditions, diseases, or an injury to the nervous system.
Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, premature ejaculation (PE) is "a male sexual dysfunction characterized by ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about one minute of vaginal penetration; inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations; and negative personal consequences, such as distress, bother, frustration and/or the avoidance of sexual intimacy."
Ian Kerner, PhD
Sexual Health
Premature ejaculation, or PE, is the most common type of sexual problem. Experts estimate as many as 30 percent of all men struggle with it. Most men can maintain intercourse for an average of about two to five minutes before ejaculating; men with PE last somewhere between 15 and 60 seconds and can orgasm with any direct stimulation. This often worsens with age.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Ejaculating too quickly is one of the most common sexual problems. When semen shoots out too soon - say, faster than a round from an Uzi - it can cause angst in men and stop a satisfying sex session in its tracks. Premature ejaculation can be caused by a number of things, including medication, hormonal changes, high blood pressure, and stress. One of the other causes: An enlarged prostate. Since the prostate generates 95 percent of the substance that comes out during ejaculation, it's no wonder that it has a lot to say about what comes out and when. Since an enlarged prostate gets more stimulation during sex, the friction can stimulate orgasm - leading a man to ejaculate whether he wants to or not.
Premature ejaculation affects one-third of men. Some treatment options include anti-depressant medications (SSRIs) and other behavioral techniques. Some docs suggest the man masturbate an hour or two before sex to help delay ejaculation during sex. Another technique is called the squeeze technique, in which you squeezes the penis at the point where the head meets the shaft for several seconds, right before a man feels like he's going to ejaculate. That should help delay orgasm; wait 30 seconds, then continue.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.