What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is a type of sexual dysfunction that occurs when a man has an orgasm and releases (ejaculates) semen sooner than he or his partner would like. It often happens before or shortly after penetration during intercourse. Premature ejaculation can be a frustrating experience for both you and your sexual partner and makes your sex lives less enjoyable. However, the good news is that it’s usually fixable!

How common is premature ejaculation?

Between 30% and 40% of men experience premature ejaculation at some point in their life. According to the American Urological Association, premature ejaculation is the most common type of sexual dysfunction in men. About one in five men between the ages of 18 and 59 report incidences of premature ejaculation.

What time frame medically defines a man’s ejaculation as premature?

Although the definition of premature ejaculation varies, the American Urological Association defines ejaculation as “premature” if it occurs sooner than desired, either before or shortly after penetration, causing distress to either one or both partners. The American Psychiatric Association defines three levels of severity (mild, moderate, severe), based on time to ejaculation, with mild being under one minute. If pressed for a time frame, many doctors would define prematurity as ejaculation within a minute of beginning intercourse. Despite professional opinions, your feelings as to what is premature are also considered.

What causes premature ejaculation?

Physical, chemical and emotional/psychological factors cause premature ejaculation.

Physical and chemical problems include:

  • An underlying erectile dysfunction diagnosis.
  • A hormonal problem with oxytocin levels, which has a role in sexual function in men. Other hormone levels that play a role in sexual function include luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Low serotonin or dopamine levels, chemicals in the brain that are involved in sexual desire and excitement.
  • A penis that is extra sensitive to stimulation.

Emotional or psychological causes include:

  • Performance anxiety. Could be due to the nervousness of being with a new partner, anxiousness of having sex again after a long period of abstinence, lack of confidence, guilt, being overly excited or stimulated or other reasons.
  • Stress.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Depression.

Are there other symptoms of premature ejaculation?

No. The only symptom of premature ejaculation is the condition itself.

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