What is premature ejaculation?

In premature ejaculation, a man has an orgasm and ejaculates earlier during intercourse than he would like. It often happens very early during intercourse, with little stimulation. It can be a frustrating experience for both sexual partners.

Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual condition affecting men under the age of 40. It is said to affect about one in five men between the ages of 18 to 59. It is also likely that premature ejaculation will affect most men during some point in their life.

There is no medical time-limit that defines ejaculation as “premature,” but ejaculating within a minute from the beginning of intercourse is regarded as premature by many doctors. A man’s feeling as to what is premature for him is also a factor in diagnosis.

Who suffers from premature ejaculation?

Any male past puberty can suffer from premature ejaculation. It is most common in men 18 to 59.

What causes premature ejaculation?

The causes of premature ejaculation are not known. Premature ejaculation is more often caused by a psychological stressor such as anxiety or depression. It is much less common, but it can also have a physical cause such as:

  • An injury
  • An infection
  • A hormonal problem

Sometimes, premature ejaculation can occur with a new partner, due to nervousness. If a man has not had sex for a long time, he may also experience premature ejaculation when he becomes sexually active again. Many men learn to delay ejaculation as they become older and more skilled sexually.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/07/2016.


  • American Urological Association. Premature ejaculation Accessed 03/07/2016
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  • O’Leary MP. Managing Early Ejaculation: What Does the Future Hold? Rev Urol. 2004 Winter; 6(1): 5–10. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Waldinger MD. Premature ejaculation: definition and drug treatment. Drugs. 2007;67(4):547-68. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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