Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when a man expels semen soon after beginning sexual activity, and with minimal penile stimulation. It has also been called early ejaculation, rapid ejaculation, rapid climax, premature climax, and ejaculatio praecox. There is no uniform cut-off defining "premature", but a consensus of experts at the International Society for Sexual Medicine endorsed a definition of around one minute after penetration. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) applies a cut-off of 15 seconds from the beginning of sexual intercourse.
The causes of premature ejaculation are unclear. Many theories have been suggested, including that PE was the result of masturbating quickly during adolescence to avoid being caught, performance anxiety, passive-aggressiveness, or having too little sex; but there is little evidence to support any of these theories. Several physiological mechanisms have been hypothesized to contribute to causing premature ejaculation, including serotonin receptors, a genetic predisposition, elevated penile sensitivity, and nerve conduction atypicalities.
The 1948 Kinsey Report suggested that three-quarters of men ejaculate within two minutes of penetration in over half of their sexual encounters. Current evidence supports an average intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT) of six and a half minutes in 18- to 30-year-olds. If the disorder is defined as an IELT percentile below 2.5, then premature ejaculation could be suggested by an IELT of less than about two minutes. Nevertheless, it is possible that men with abnormally low IELTs could be satisfied with their performance and do not report a lack of control. Likewise, those with higher IELTs may consider themselves premature ejaculators, suffer from detrimental side effects normally associated with premature ejaculation, and even benefit from treatment.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines premature ejaculation as "A persistent or recurrent pattern of ejaculation occurring during partnered sexual activity within approximately 1 minute following vaginal penetration and before the person wishes it," with the additional requirements that the condition occurs for a duration longer than 6 months, causes clinically significant distress, and cannot be better explained by relationship distress, another mental disorder, or the use of medications. These factors are identified by talking with the person, not through any diagnostic test.
Drugs that increase serotonin signaling in the brain slow ejaculation and have been used successfully to treat PE. These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as paroxetine or dapoxetine, as well as clomipramine. Ejaculatory delay typically begins within a week of beginning medication. The treatments increase the ejaculatory delay to 6–20 times greater than before medication. Men often report satisfaction with treatment by medication, and many discontinue it within a year. However, SSRIs can cause various types of sexual dysfunction such as anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, and diminished libido.
Many men attempt to treat themselves for premature ejaculation by trying to distract themselves, such as by trying to focus their attention away from the sexual stimulation. There is little evidence to indicate that it is effective and it tends to detract from the sexual fulfilment of both partners. Other self-treatments include thrusting more slowly, withdrawing the penis altogether, purposefully ejaculating before sexual intercourse, and using more than one condom. Using more than one condom is not recommended as the friction will often lead to breakage. Some men report these to have been helpful.
- An Evidence-Based Unified Definition of Lifelong and Acquired Premature Ejaculation
- Premature and Delayed Ejaculation: Genetic and Environmental Effects in a Sample of Finnish Twins
- Premature Ejaculation: The Scope of the Problem: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Vol 33, No 2
- Premature or Rapid Ejaculation: Heterosexual Couples' Perceptions of Men's Ejaculatory Behavior
- Prosolution Plus - Improve Premature Ejaculation By Up To 64%
- Premature Ejaculation Results in Female Sexual Distress: Journal of Urology
- What Does Premature Ejaculation Mean to the Man, the Woman, and the Couple?