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Premature Ejaculation Problems

April 14th, 2005

Dr Petra

Premature Ejaculation (PE), when a man comes too quickly for himself and/or his partner to enjoy sex, is a common problem. However, it’s one that’s frequently overlooked, and the impact of this distressing condition on men and their partners ignored.

The May edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine is a special issue devoted to understanding more about PE. Research reported in the journal suggests around 30% of men globally suffer from PE, and it causes men to feel stigmatised, depressed and embarrassed. PE may also lead to relationship problems.

PE is frequently linked to anxiety, nerves over sexual performance, and a habit-forming problem – so men fear they’ll come to soon, and this worry leads to them ejaculating too quickly – forming a cycle of PE.

Some believe PE is caused by young men learning to masturbate to orgasm furtively and quickly – leading to a habit of sexual behaviour. Others suggest that physiologically coming quickly through penetration is natural – other mammals have a quick ejaculation time. Still more feel that ignorance about sex and unrealistic expectations gleaned from porn, lead men and their partners to inaccurately believe guys should last for hours.

Current treatment is based around relearning sexual behaviour, reducing anxiety, and enabling men to understand they don’t have to try and delay their orgasm until their partner has come. Supporting a partner to masturbate or enjoy oral techniques, as well as masturbating after a man has come, can reduce some pressure on men who worry about PE.

Support is available from the Sexual Dysfunction Association who offer information sheets and confidential telephone advice.

We do need to be aware of what’s happening with PE. Erectile dysfunction was for many years an overlooked condition, or one seen as being largely psychological in cause (as PE is now). With the advent of sex drugs for erectile dysfunction, any erectile problems have been reclassified as diseases, with physical origin. New moves are trying to reclassify PE as being a neurological issue, not a psychological one. Pharmaceutical companies are eager to reclassify PE as a medical condition requiring treatment – hyping up the prevalence and distress caused. Some of those involved with the Journal of Sexual Medicine do have links with the pharmaceutical industry – either as consultants to pharmaceutical companies, or by having their research sponsored by them.

PE is a distressing condition. But it is also a common one, and one which can often be overcome when men learn to relax about sex, and re-educate themselves about sexual functioning.

Let’s hope PE doesn’t become another way to medicalise our sexual behaviour, and cynically exploit men’s anxieties about sex to make money for Big Pharma. Or that ‘retarded ejaculation’ also doesn’t’ follow suit.

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