Quick Facts

Premature Ejaculation

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There are several treatment choices for premature…


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Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) is ejaculation that occurs earlier than desired causing distress to either one or both partners. It’s difficult to pinpoint the ”average” length of time a man should be able to have intercourse without having an orgasm, but those with PE tend to ejaculate in less than a minute of penetration, sometimes even before penetrating. Studies suggest the average among ”normal” men is 5-7 minutes.

Premature ejaculation is one of the most common male sexual disorders, affecting about 20-30% of men. It can occur at any age.



Though the exact cause of PE is not known, serotonin may play a role. Serotonin is a natural substance in your body made by nerves. High amounts of serotonin in the brain increase the time to ejaculation. Low amounts can shorten the time to ejaculation, and lead to PE.

Psychological Issues

Psychological, or mental health, issues can be involved in PE and may include:

  • depression
  • stress
  • guilt
  • unrealistic
  • expectations about sexual performance
  • history of sexual repression
  • lack of confidence
  • relationship problems

Taking care of emotional problems often helps.

Other Issues 

PE and Age

PE can happen at any age. Aging is not a direct cause of PE, though aging does cause changes in erections and ejaculation. For older men, erections may not be as firm or as large. Erections may not last as long before ejaculation occurs. The feeling that ejaculation is about to happen may be shorter. These changes can lead to an older man ejaculating earlier.

PE and Your Partner

With PE, you may feel you lose some of the closeness shared with a sexual partner. You might feel angry, ashamed or upset, and turn away from your partner. Premature ejaculation may not only affect you, it may also affects your partner. PE can cause partners to feel less connected or feel hurt.

Talking about the problem is an important step. Couples counseling or sex therapy can be helpful. Exercises, such as the squeeze technique, may be helpful for you and your partner to prolong an erection (see the treatment section of this article for details). Most importantly, a couple should learn ways to relax. Worry (such as performance anxiety) can make PE worse.




If premature ejaculation is not a problem for a man and his partner, treatment is not needed; however, when premature ejaculation happens so frequently that it interferes with a man’s sexual pleasure, it becomes a medical problem requiring the care of a doctor.

To understand the problem, the doctor will need to ask questions about your sexual history. Usually, laboratory testing is not necessary.

There are several treatment choices for premature ejaculation. A combination of all of these treatments may be helpful.

  • Psychological Therapy: Meeting with certified sex therapist individually and/or with your partner can help you effectively communicate about the problem and address feelings or anxieties you may have about sexuality and sexual relationships that contribute to your PE.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Makes use of exercises (such as the Squeeze and Hold technique) to help a man develop tolerance to stimulation and, as a result, delay ejaculation.
  • Oral Medical Therapy: Medications that are commonly used to treat depression can be used in low doses in men with premature ejaculation to delay in the time it takes from the beginning of sexual stimulation until ejaculation occurs.
  • Topical Anesthetic Creams: May be used to increase the time it takes from the beginning of sexual stimulation until ejaculation occurs

Frequently Asked Questions

For years PE was thought to be a psychological problem, but new studies have shown that a low level of serotonin, a natural substance that is produced by nerves, may be a cause.

PE may be slightly more common among younger men, but it’s a myth that older patients aren’t also affected.


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