What Is Premature Ejaculation?
When it comes to male sexual problems, erectile dysfunction is the first (and maybe even the only) thing that comes to mind for many people. However, there is another major male sexual health issue which can make sexual activities stressful and joyless for both partners – premature ejaculation. Canadian Family Pharmacy healthcare experts have taken a closer look at premature ejaculation as a medical condition and rounded up their findings in this article so that you can find out what premature ejaculation is, why does it happen to some men, and how to get rid of this unpleasant sexual problem.
Premature ejaculation happens when a man has orgasm and ejaculates (expels semen) after a very brief penetrative sexual intercourse. Premature ejaculation is involuntary, so there is no way a man or his sexual partner can have control over it. The fact that there is only little sexual stimulation to the penis required to make men experience orgasm and thus end sexual intercourse often leads to unsatisfactory sex life both for men and their partners. When this dissatisfaction becomes a source of relationship issues, there is a high chance that premature ejaculation will cause anxiety in men and resentment in their sexual partners, which can further decrease the quality of a couple’s sexual activities.
Read also what is erectile dysfunction in our guide: mycanadianfamilypharmacy.com/erectile-dysfunction.html
What Are the Main Premature Ejaculation Causes?
Unfortunately, scientists and researchers have not been able to figure out the exact causes of premature ejaculation yet. However, we do have a working understanding of what factors contribute to suffering from premature ejaculation and how they affect a man’s sexual life. Back when there was little research on premature ejaculation available and being conducted, scientists used to believe that the reasons behind the condition were purely psychological. Today healthcare experts all over the world agree that while psychological issues do play a major role in contributing to premature ejaculation, there is also a number of physiological causes which could lead to premature ejaculation, and this domain is being further researched. In the paragraphs below you will find a brief summary of what is known about premature ejaculation risk factors now.
Psychological causes of premature ejaculation are various by nature and can be difficult to diagnose and address even when a patient is actively seeking professional medical help. The most prominent psychological risk factors for premature ejaculation include depression and anxiety. Depression has a complex impact on sexual performance both for men and women, but its manifestations are best visible for male patients because it causes premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Sexual performance anxiety is also a powerful contributor to premature ejaculation problems. It may come from a number of reasons, ranging from poor body image and low self-esteem to worrying about having premature ejaculation and how it affects sexual intercourse. In addition, a lot of men who suffer from premature ejaculation tend to have strong feelings of guilt about ruining the sexual experience for their partners, so they want to be done with sexual intercourse as soon as possible. As a result, premature ejaculation becomes almost a desirable effect, and of course, the chances of it not happening are getting slimmer.
Another group of psychological premature ejaculation risk factors includes everything that is somehow connected to early sexual experiences. First sexual encounters can be traumatizing for men in many ways, ranging from wrong choice of partner to the inability to perform up to his own (or his partner’s) expectations. Such experiences and emotions connected with them become deeply rooted in the conscience, and can often lead to sexual disorders in adult life. Being sexually abused as a child is also a major risk factor for premature ejaculation issues later in life for virtually the same reason: traumatizing memories that are associated with sexual activities have a huge (possibly lifelong) impact on one’s sexual behaviors and performance.
According to recent research data, erectile dysfunction could also be a contributing factor for premature ejaculation. Men who suffer from ED are always afraid that they are going to “lose” the erection at some point of the intercourse, so the rushing of ejaculation becomes natural for them. This behavioral pattern easily translates into premature ejaculation with time, and it does not go away even after erectile problems have been addressed with ED drugs or other treatment forms.
According to research data found by Canadian Family Pharmacy, psychological premature ejaculation can even be partner-specific. If a man experiences premature ejaculation with one partner but is able to have satisfactory sexual intercourse with other partners, the reason behind his premature ejaculation could be relationship issues with one particular partner. Anxiety and negative emotions that build up as a result of poor relationship quality gradually become a powerful trigger for premature ejaculation that is situation-specific: it happens only during sexual intercourse with the person who is part of the dysfunctional relationship.
As mentioned above, psychological causes are not the only factors that can contribute to premature ejaculation. Healthcare experts now believe that there is a complex interaction of psychological and biological factors that is required to cause premature ejaculation, but there is little information on the biological risk factors available as of now. Inherited traits seem to play a major role in determining the chances of suffering from premature ejaculation. Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals used by the brain) and/or particular hormones were found in a significant part of premature ejaculation patients, which suggests a certain connection between the amount of these chemicals in the body and the premature ejaculation disorder. Finally, having an inflamed or infected urethra can cause ejaculation to become completely uncontrollable, and in this particular case there might not even be any additional psychological factors involved.
Premature Ejaculation Symptoms and Diagnosis
The most prominent symptom of premature ejaculation is the inability to control (and delay) ejaculation for longer than 60 seconds after penetration. Sometimes premature ejaculation happens even in other sexual contexts, such as masturbation or even foreplay.
Premature ejaculation can be primary and secondary. Men who are diagnosed with primary premature ejaculation have ejaculation problems throughout their whole life, possibly starting with their first sexual encounter. Secondary premature ejaculation is an acquired condition, which may develop at any point of a man’s life after he has already had years of sexual experience without ejaculation disorders.
A lot of men feel like they have symptoms that are associated with premature ejaculation diagnosis, but they do not meet the standard diagnostic criteria for this condition. This is often due to the phenomenon of variable premature ejaculation, which is a natural trait and causes men to have interchangeable periods of normal and premature ejaculation.
It is advisable that you consult your healthcare provider about possibly having premature ejaculation if you find that you frequently ejaculate earlier than you would prefer to and/or than you used to. It is common for men to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about discussing their sexual problems with a doctor, but if you do have premature ejaculation, it can be treated and the quality of your sexual relationships will improve greatly. That said, you do not necessarily suffer from premature ejaculation if you think that you ejaculate too soon. Men often set themselves sexual performance standards that are simply too high and unrealistic and struggle with anxiety and possibly even depression when they fail to meet those standards. In such cases, it might be helpful and reassuring to hear from a qualified healthcare professional that rapid ejaculation occasionally happens to most men and the average length of sexual intercourse for a man from penetration to orgasm is around 5 minutes.
Alternatively, your healthcare provider could find that you may indeed have premature ejaculation, in which case he/she would need to perform a physical exam and discuss some aspects of your sexual life, as well as your general medical history with you. Your sexual partner could be helpful in providing additional information for diagnosis, so some doctors ask for their patients’ sexual partners to come along for the next appointment. You might also have to undergo additional tests and examinations to rule out some potentially dangerous premature ejaculation causes such as an inflamed urethra.
Premature Ejaculation Treatment
Premature ejaculation can be treated in a number of ways. Your healthcare provider will help you find a way that works best for you and your sexual partner. You might have to try out several treatment methods before you understand which one is the most effective for you. In this section of the article you will find a brief overview of the most popular and effective premature ejaculation treatment methods and techniques.
Some healthcare providers recommend to begin premature ejaculation treatment with behavioral techniques, as they are the simplest and the least obtrusive way to address rapid ejaculation. It might be helpful for you to masturbate an hour or two prior to having intercourse, as that will help increase the time between penetration and ejaculation. It is also a good idea to refrain from having intercourse at all for a certain period of time. During that time, other sexual activities can be explored and the man does not experience so much pressure and stress regarding the premature ejaculation.
If premature ejaculation behavioral treatment turns out ineffective, you could try Kegel exercises to improve your pelvic floor muscles strength and use them effectively to delay ejaculation. First, you have to locate those muscles in your body and learn to tighten them voluntarily. Pelvic floor muscles are the ones that help you stop urinating in the middle of the process, so you can try doing that to identify them in your body. Once that is done, you can go on to actually try doing the exercises. Most men find it easier to start with the exercises while lying down, but you could start in any other position that’s comfortable for you. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold them contracted for three seconds, then relax them for 3 seconds. It might be challenging at first, but you will get the hang of it soon enough. You should aim at doing at least 3 sets of Kegel exercises with 10-15 repetitions each on a daily basis to see some progress. Make sure that you are only contracting your pelvic floor muscles, not the muscles in your abdomen or thighs. Once your pelvic floor muscles get stronger, you can proceed to do the Kegel exercises in standing, sitting, and even walking positions.
Another relatively simple method to combat rapid ejaculation is using the pause-squeeze technique. You will need the cooperation of your sexual partner for this method, as it involves interrupting sexual activity at the point where you feel like you are about ejaculate and having your partner squeeze the tip of your penis for several seconds. This is almost guaranteed to curb your desire to ejaculate, so you can resume the intercourse. The pause-squeeze technique can be used as often as needed, and some men eventually learn to control their ejaculation even without having to resort to the squeezing. If squeezing feels painful or uncomfortable, you can simply stop your sexual activities to wait until the level of arousal naturally declines, and then go on.
Some patients find it helpful to use condoms to reduce the sensitivity of the penis to arousal and thus prolong the time needed to reach orgasm and ejaculate. Some condoms are even designed specifically to prolong sexual pleasure by applying some numbing agents to the penis and making it less responsive. Using such condoms might be a good addition to the effect of behavioral techniques and Kegel exercises.
Should all of the methods above turn out ineffective (or maybe you just want a quick and guaranteed effect), your healthcare provider can prescribe you some medications to help address premature ejaculation. Topical anesthetics are a very common solution to rapid ejaculation problems because they are well-tolerated and highly effective. On the downside, many patients notice that they do not seem to find sexual intercourse as enjoyable when using anesthetics. In some cases, the numbing effect from the medication might even affect the patient’s sexual partner. You can go further by using oral medications, such as antidepressants, analgesics, or ED medications, to treat premature ejaculation, but that is a serious step which should only be taken after discussing the matter with your healthcare provider.
Counseling is often used in conjunction with drug therapy, but you could try it even without a complementing medication treatment. Working out the emotional problems in the relationship with your sexual partner might turn out helpful in reducing anxiety, stress, and increasing your libido. Premature ejaculation is a lot easier to deal with when you feel optimistic and have the support of your partner, so if this is something that you feel you are missing out on, you might find counseling sessions with your sexual partner quite helpful.