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Why was premature ejaculation beneficial in our evolution?

Ian Kerner, PhD
Sexual Health

Believe it or not, premature ejaculation (PE) wasn’t always considered a problem -- in fact, it used to be something to strive for! Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the premature ejaculator would have been considered the superior male because he could fertilize a woman more quickly. That allowed him to have sex with more women and father more children, winning the “sperm wars” and earning his place at the head of his tribe.

It also helped his family thrive. Cavemen and women weren’t exactly retiring to a honeymoon suite to have intercourse: most sex was had outdoors, where animal predators could easily make the couple into a tasty snack. This added risk contributed to anxiety, causing the man to ejaculate even earlier. Yet men who finished faster were valued because shorter sex meant reduced exposure to danger. In primitive times, there was likely little to no awareness of the female orgasm, so coming quickly probably wasn’t considered a problem for either party. We’ve all heard the phrase “survival of the fittest,” but in sexual terms it was all about survival of the quickest.

This trait, some experts believe, was passed down from generation to generation, making what we now call PE an evolutionary benefit (although most of us would view it as an evolutionary drawback.) But today’s premature ejaculators also appear to have inherited our forefathers’ sensitivity to environmental stressors, like loud noises. In this case, though, the culprit is more likely to be a honking horn than a growling saber-toothed tiger. For some new fathers, just hearing their baby cry from the other room when they’re having sex almost always triggers ejaculation!

These days, our knowledge of female sexual pleasure -- and our ability to couple safely and privately -- means that PE is less of an evolutionary benefit than a flaw.

The Good in Bed Guide to Overcoming Premature Ejaculation

More About this Book

The Good in Bed Guide to Overcoming Premature Ejaculation

From the New York Times best-selling author of She Comes First arrives the definitive guide to managing premature ejaculation – a book that could save your sex life!Do you suffer from PE? Are you...

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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.