The Basics of Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than they or their partner would like. As long as it happens infrequently, it's no cause for concern. However, if you regularly ejaculate sooner than you and your partner wish—such as before intercourse begins or shortly afterward it can become a frustration.

Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint and, although estimates vary, as many as 1 out of 3 men may be affected by this problem at some time in their lives.

There is no sole cause for this issue as both psychological and biological factors can play a role in premature ejaculation. Although many men feel embarrassed to talk about it, premature ejaculation is a common and treatable condition.

Psychosocial techniques are proving especially adept at improving sex for men with PE.

Common Symptoms of PE:

Ejaculation occurs much sooner than both partners wish, resulting in stress or concern. The problem may occur in other sexual situations such as masturbation.

Classifications of PE:

Lifelong (primary) premature ejaculation is characterized by the following:

  • Ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs within one minute of vaginal penetration
  • The inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations
  • Negative personal consequences, such as stress, frustration or the avoidance of sexual intimacy

 Acquired (secondary) premature ejaculation is similar to the primary but with one key difference:

  • Secondary ejaculation develops after you've had previous, satisfying sexual relationships without ejaculatory problems

When to Seek Professional Help:

Discuss with your therapist if you are experiencing and are concerned with the above symptoms. Although you may feel you should be able to fix the problem yourself, you may need special treatment in order to achieve a satisfying sex life. For some men, however, a conversation with your therapist may be one of reassurance; the discussion could be one that convinces you that your occasional premature ejaculation is normal—or possibly not even premature as the average time from the beginning of intercourse to ejaculation is generally about five minutes.


Whether it is alone, with a partner or a combination of both, PE is generally considered to be a psychological concern and a sex therapist will do a thorough assessment to rule out any physical or biological factors that may be contributing to PE.

Psychological Causes:

Some doctors believe that early sexual experiences may establish a pattern that can be difficult to change later in life, such as:

  • Situations in which you feel rushed to finish or are obligated to hurry
  • Guilty feelings that increase your tendency to rush through sexual encounters

Other factors that can play a role are:

Erectile dysfunction: Men who are anxious about obtaining or maintaining their erection during sexual intercourse may form a pattern of rushing to ejaculate, which can be difficult to change.

Anxiety: Many men experiencing premature ejaculation have problems with anxiety—either specifically about sexual performance or related to other issues.

Relationship problems: If you have had satisfying sexual relationships with other partners in which premature ejaculation happened infrequently or not at all, it's likely that interpersonal issues between you and your current partner are contributing to the problem.

Treatments and Medication:

Treatment options for premature ejaculation include sexual therapy, medications and psychotherapy and are very effective.

Medications: Certain antidepressants such as PRILIGY is used to treat premature ejaculation. Although PRILIGY is not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat premature ejaculation, it can be used for this purpose but although increased 'staying power' is reported generally, there can be side effects and most men do not want to be dependent on an antidepressant for PE.

Psychosocial cures: A hand-held battery operated stimulating device called PROLONG has also shown promising results in scientific research. PROLONG is an adaptation of the "Stop-Start" technique first used to help men with PE; instead of hand masturbation the vibrating device is held against the underside of the head of the penis. The literature specifies that this is ideally a programme of treatment and suggests therapy such as CBT/Sex therapy to run concurrently. I agree with this approach as men often need help in mastering techniques and giving feedback about the exercises; remember that underlying PE is anxiety and therefore it's predominantly a psychological concern that can be very helpful to talk through. For more information on this treatment and premature ejaculation visit

Premature ejaculation treatment