Premature ejaculation is the most common ejaculation-related health condition. Premature ejaculation is when a person ejaculates or ‘comes’ too quickly during sex. There are a few ways to try and improve premature ejaculation, including medical treatments, techniques, and lifestyle changes.
What is premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation is a condition where a person ejaculates (comes) too quickly during sex. Premature ejaculation can affect up to 30% of men, and is split into 2 different kinds, lifelong (primary) or acquired (secondary):
- Lifelong/primary – where the problem has existed since the first time a person has had sex
- Acquired/secondary – where premature ejaculation is intermittent or starts later in life
International guidelines on premature ejaculation define it as when a man ejaculates within one minute of entering their partner. But, the average ejaculation time is around 5 ½ minutes. So, if you ejaculate much faster than this, you could think about ways to improve it if it’s a problem for you.
What counts as having premature ejaculation?
Ejaculation can be called ‘premature’ if it happens less than 2 minutes into having penetrative sex. But, the official times for what’s classed as ‘premature’ ejaculation can change between different countries, cultures, and healthcare experts. Still, most experts agree that if sex lasts less than 2 minutes, and ejaculation occurs, then it can be called a premature ejaculation.
Whether or not you decide to look for medical treatment for premature ejaculation is a personal choice. If your ejaculation time is causing you or your partner distress, you could look into treatment or techniques to improve it.
How common is it?
Premature ejaculation is the most common ejaculation problem and can affect up to 30% of men at some point during their lifetime.
There are several ‘risk factors’ which make getting premature ejaculation more likely. Men who are most at risk of developing premature ejaculation might:
- be under a lot of stress
- have erectile dysfunction
- have depression
- be overweight
- drink too much alcohol
There are treatments available for premature ejaculation specifically. But, if it’s caused by another underlying health condition, you may need other medical treatments as well.
What causes different types of premature ejaculation?
There are two types of premature ejaculation, primary and secondary.
Lifelong (primary) premature ejaculation
Primary premature ejaculation will happen the very first time a person has sex, and will happen every time afterwards. Psychological factors are often common causes of lifelong premature ejaculation. This is compared to men who have secondary premature ejaculation, where the causes can sometimes be physical.
Causes of primary premature ejaculation include:
- Psychological issues: some men who have experienced childhood trauma related to sex can cause them to become overly anxious about sex
- Culture: an individual’s culture can cause lifelong premature ejaculation, particularly if sex is taught to be inappropriate or shameful
- Conditioning: some men become conditioned when ejaculating, which can cause lifelong premature ejaculation. For example, some men condition themselves to ejaculate quickly during adolescence to avoid being caught, which leads to ejaculating too quickly with a partner
Acquired (secondary) premature ejaculation
Secondary premature ejaculation is often caused by stress, anxiety, and/or depression. Psychological factors like these are all strongly linked with sexual dysfunctions, including premature ejaculation. Research has shown that in men who ejaculate prematurely, there is a strong link with depression. Other factors include relationship issues, personal conflicts, and performance-related anxiety.
There are also physical causes of secondary premature ejaculation, including:
- Thyroid problems
- High blood pressure
- Prostate disease
- Binge drinking
- Conditions like multiple sclerosis or nerve damage
Relationship issues are also seen as a common cause of premature ejaculation. Relationship causes of premature ejaculation can be a ‘vicious circle’, particularly if the partner is not supportive. This can lead to an even higher level of anxiety and fear of failure. If relationship problems are a cause of premature ejaculation, it may be due to:
- Different sexual needs
- Anxiety around sexual satisfaction
- Lack of communication
- Fear of sex
How to delay ejaculation
Self-help techniques for delaying ejaculation
- Masturbating up to two hours before having sex
- Using thick condoms to reduce the sensation in the penis
- Having sex with your partner on top, so they can pull away when you are near to ejaculating
- Taking a deep breath to shut down the ejaculatory reflex
The squeeze technique:
- You or your partner masturbates you and stops before you ejaculate
- They then squeeze the head of your penis for 10-20 seconds
- They let go of your penis for 30 seconds and then resume masturbation
- Repeat this process several times before ejaculation is allowed to happen
The stop-go technique:
- Similar to the squeeze technique
- Your partner doesn’t squeeze your penis though
- When you have built your confidence about delaying ejaculation, you can have sex, stopping and starting as needed
These techniques require practice to get right, but should help to delay ejaculation in the long term.
Lifestyle changes: if your premature ejaculation is related to certain risk factors, you might be able to improve it by making some changes. This might include quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, or losing weight.
Medication for premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation treatments can help improve your symptoms, but they won’t cure it completely. They include:
- Priligy: this is an oral medication used to treat premature ejaculation. It contains the active ingredient dapoxetine, and is used by men who normally ejaculate within 1-2 minutes of having sex. Men who use it find it helps them to last longer. Priligy is a type of antidepressant, which helps to raise serotonin levels
- EMLA: unlike Priligy, EMLA is a topical cream which is rubbed onto the penis to make it less sensitive. This can help to slow down ejaculation. It contains two local anaesthetics (painkillers), lidocaine and prilocaine. EMLA should be applied around 15 minutes before having sex, and you should wash it off before you start having sex
You can order Priligy and EMLA online from Zava. The service is quick and easy to use – just follow these simple steps:
- Fill out a short online assessment about your health and lifestyle
- Place an order for your preferred treatment option
- Your assessment will be checked by a Zava doctor to see if it’s right for you
- If approved, your order can then be posted to your preferred address, or you can collect it from a local Post Office instead
Therapy or counselling with or without a partner can also be helpful, particularly if you’re in a long-term relationship. During a session, a counsellor or therapist will:
- encourage you to discuss any relationship issues you or your partner may feel you have, and give their advice about how you can resolve them
- suggest techniques like the stop-go or squeeze technique