Understanding Premature Ejaculation

Understanding Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) is one of the most common forms of male sexual dysfunction and is when ejaculation happens during sex sooner than a man or his partner would like (by definition ejaculation under a minute). It can be frustrating, but your health care provider can help.

In the U.S., about 1 in 3 men 18 to 59 years of age have problems with PE. The exact cause of PE is not known, but the brain chemical serotonin may play a role. High amounts of serotonin increase the time to ejaculation. Low amounts can shorten the time to ejaculation, and lead to PE.

What Causes PE?

Psychological factors such as anxiety, guilt, or depression can also cause PE. In some cases, it may be related to a medical cause such as hormonal problems, injury, or a side effect of certain medicines.

How is PE Treated?

Psychological therapy, behavioral therapy, and drugs are the main treatments for PE. You can talk with your health care provider to decide is best for you. More than one type of treatment may be used at the same time.

  • Behavioral therapy uses exercises to help build tolerance to delay ejaculation. The goal is to help you train your body away from premature ejaculation.
  • Psychological therapy may help. The goal of therapy is to learn the source of problems and find solutions that may end PE. It can also help couples learn to grow closer. Psychological therapy can help you become less nervous about sexual performance. It can also give you greater sexual confidence and understanding to improve your partner's satisfaction.
  • Medical therapy. No drugs have been approved in the United States to treat PE. Still, there are some drugs and numbing creams or sprays that have been shown to slow ejaculation in men with PE.

With the simple techniques listed above, about 95 out of 100 men will recover from PE. There is no way to promise recovery, but learning how to relax helps. If the problem remains, continue to work with your health care provider to find solutions.

For more information about PE,  download our PE patient guide and fact sheet.