Studies estimate that up to 1 in 3 men aged between 18 and 59 years have experienced premature ejaculation (PE) – occurring when an individual has an orgasm sooner than they or their partner would like.
PE can be embarrassing, frustrating, and can put a strain on relationships and intimacy with a partner. It can even effect your sexual and body confidence…
With some help men’s health expert Dr. Shaan Patel of Ted’s Health we look at the main causes of premature ejaculation and what you can do to control it.
What Causes Premature Ejaculation?
Dr. Shaan explains that PE often occurs due to multiple underlying physical and psychological issues. In most cases, these are not serious and do not require immediate medical attention, but in rare instances premature ejaculation can be caused by nerve damage from surgical procedures. He lists some of the more common causes:
- An overly-sensitive penile head
- Overstimulation or excitement
- Being nervous/uncomfortable with a partner or performance anxiety
- Past trauma
- Erectile dysfunction
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.
What can you do?
Dr. Shaan recommends trying out a few tactics before turning to medical help.
For many men, premature ejaculation (PE)—ejaculating sooner than you or your partner would like—gets in the way of enjoying a good sex life. This experience can lead to a loss of confidence and maybe even the desire to avoid intimacy altogether.
Edging is a technique some use to manage their PE.
Also called “surfing,” “peaking,” “teasing,” or “orgasm control,” edging involves bringing yourself right to the brink of climax (without going over), pausing until the urge to ejaculate subsides, then resuming stimulation. With practice, you learn to recognize when you’re approaching “the point of no return,” allowing you to extend intercourse (Raveendran, 2021).
You don’t have to do it for an hour. In fact, the average duration of penis-in-vagina sex is 5.4 minutes, and most women who have sex with men say their desired duration of penetration is 7–13 minutes (Waldinger, 2005). The goal of edging sex is just to prolong things a bit and increase your sexual stamina.
How does edging work?
When edging, you stimulate yourself nearly to the “point of no return,” otherwise known as the end of the “plateau phase” of orgasmic response. The plateau phase is a pretty brief period of the sexual response cycle: It’s the point where, if sexual stimulation continues, you’re pretty sure you’re going to come. It extends right to the point when ejaculating is inevitable (Guiliano, 2012).
During an edging session, you stimulate yourself (or have a partner stimulate you). Before reaching the point of no return, you back off before letting yourself climax. You might downshift gears, so to speak, slowing down or altering stimulation. Or pause and rest. Then you repeat the process if you’d like
We recommend repeating 3 or 4 times before you allow yourself to orgasm.
Other Self-help tips
There are a number of self-help techniques you can try before getting medical help.
- masturbating 1 to 2 hours before having sex
- using a thick condom to help decrease sensation
- taking a deep breath to briefly shut down the ejaculatory reflex (an automatic reflex of the body, during which you ejaculate)
- having sex with your partner on top (to allow them to pull away when you’re close to ejaculating)
- taking breaks during sex and distracting yourself by thinking about something completely different
Talk to someone you trust
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you may benefit from talking openly with your partner or having couples therapy.
You’ll be encouraged to explore issues that may be affecting your relationship and be given advice on how to resolve them. You may also be shown techniques that can help you “unlearn” the habit of premature ejaculation.
What about medication?
Dapoxetine is the mainstay of PE medical treatment, an SSRI medication which is also sometimes used as an antidepressant. These are taken ‘on-demand’ before expected sex, but aren’t suitable for everyone and can have side-effects. Anaesthetic creams can also be applied to the head of the penis 30 minutes before sex to reduce sensitivity. The cream must be washed off before sex so it does not cause numbness in your partner or loss of erection.
Choosing what’s right for you
It’s a personal journey and trying some home options, exploring your penis and masturbation may help before seeking medical advice.
All in all, try not to put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll enjoy sex again once you relax and develop your ejaculation.