In short: ‘coming’ earlier than you’d like during sex. This can vary from person to person, and is really down to you and your partner to decide what you’re happy with. But the general feeling is that premature ejaculation can be defined by a short latency (time between starting and finishing sex), which you struggle to control and that causes distress.
There are two types:
Primary (lifelong) premature ejaculation: where you have always had the problem, and
Secondary (acquired) premature ejaculation: where the problem is a recent development.
No widely accepted ‘normal’ latency (normal time that it takes to ejaculate) exists, but an estimate suggests around 7 minutes for men without premature ejaculation, and just under 2 for men with it.
But, as we said earlier, this is more a question of whether you feel like premature ejaculation is causing distress and is getting in the way of you and your partners’ sex life.
How common is premature ejaculation?
Pretty common. It’s pretty difficult to get accurate data on just how common, as the definition can often be loose or subjective, and many men ‘suffer in silence’ - so estimates can range from 4%-66% of men worldwide - though most studies indicate that the number is between 25%-40%
Whatever the exact number, most men will have at least one premature ejaculation at some point in their lives. Most of the time it’s not a concern, and often it will only happen once or twice.
It’s really only a problem if it happens with enough frequency to cause further distress, disrupt your relationship, or has happened consistently since you’ve been sexually active.
How do you stop premature ejaculations?
There are things you can try before seeking medical help. Some men find it useful to masturbate around one to two hours before sex, or to use condoms (or thicker ones if you already do) to lessen sensitivity. You can also take breaks, change position, or try to think about something a little less exciting.
Also, if you’re in a relationship, there are things you can do with your partner to help to extend your orgasms. The two main recommendations are the ‘squeeze’ technique, and the ‘stop and start’ technique. Both of which involve stopping intercourse when you are close to climaxing, and starting again when you feel comfortable. But these take a lot of practice, and might not always work.
Failing this, there are treatments you can take which have been shown to help you to delay ejaculations.
How do premature ejaculation treatments work?
One of the most common treatments for premature ejaculation are drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These were originally designed as antidepressants, but an unintended side effect of these was that they delayed ejaculation.
This happens because serotonin manages the transportation of pleasure signals around the body, and SSRIs increase the activity of serotonin within a certain point of the nervous system, which leads to the user having greater control over their orgasms during sex.
Because of this, SSRIs started to be recommended to people who were struggling with premature ejaculations, but they have to be taken daily and there is often a delay of 1 to 2 weeks before you feel the effects. More recently, an “on demand” SSRI has been licensed with the sole intention to help people with premature ejaculation: Dapoxetine (or Priligy). This is the only drug marketed at helping to prevent premature ejaculations.
EMLA is another possible treatment. This is a topical anaesthetic cream which will reduce sensation when applied to the penis. You may need to use a condom when using EMLA, though, as the cream can transfer to your partner when engaging in sex or foreplay, which can cause numbing and a loss of sensation for them.
When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.
What causes premature ejaculation?
Most of the time the cause is psychological. This can be anything from depression or stress, to performance anxiety (particularly with a new partner). These can often be the reasons for acquired premature ejaculation. And although it may feel as though the problem will last forever, it can often only result in you suffering from premature ejaculation temporarily, or until the root cause is resolved.
But it can also be caused by factors that will more likely mean lifelong premature ejaculation. This can be biological things, like having a higher-than-normal penis sensitivity, or psychological reasons.
Premature ejaculation tablets
Your best option for a premature ejaculation tablet will most likely be Dapoxetine (Priligy).
This is because it’s currently the only licensed treatment for premature ejaculation. Also, Priligy works “on demand”, so you can simply take it from 1 to 3 hours before sex, and be ‘good to go’ as and when you need to be. Though it’s recommended that you don’t take it more than once a day.
You can also take other SSRIs, which may help you to delay your ejaculation. SSRIs that are currently licensed as antidepressants include Paroxetine, Sertraline and Fluoxetine, and these could work, but are not recommended strictly for this purpose, so you would have to take them daily, and any usage of these would be “off label” (not licensed for use in this way, but can be prescribed if the clinician believes the treatment will work and the benefits outweigh the risks).
EMLA cream for premature ejaculation
Lidocaine/ Prilocaine (the active ingredient in EMLA cream) works by reducing the strength of sensation to the applied area. So, when applied to the penis, you should feel a reduction in sexual sensation, allowing you to ‘go’ for longer.
It’s recommended that you pair this with the use of a condom. This is to help reduce the risk of your partner also experiencing numbing side effects if they do not want to.
Also, EMLA cream is a topical anaesthetic used in minor skin procedures, and wasn’t developed as a PE treatment. So when doctors prescribe this, it’s also off-label.
What about natural remedies for premature ejaculation?
Aside from trying to learn how better to control your ejaculations - there aren’t any, really. Some people might claim that they have found a natural remedy to combat premature ejaculation but these are unlikely to be backed by strong scientific basis, and could end up being dangerous or doing more harm than good.
This is because some homeopathic medicines can have serious side effects, and as they aren’t generally prescribed by a medical professional, you won’t receive the health checks you need to make sure it’s safe for you to use. So it’s always best to consult a clinician to talk through whatever options are available, so you can be given the best, safest advice.
FAQ: Premature ejaculation
Have something specific you want to know? Search our info below, or ask our experts a question if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Does Viagra help with premature ejaculation?
Viagra isn’t a premature ejaculation treatment but some research suggests it can help with the problem. A study performed on 150 people that suffered from premature ejaculation showed sildenafil (Viagra) to be effective in helping them to last longer. But, interestingly, a combination of both Viagra and dapoxetine was most effective.
Again, though, it is important to remember that Viagra is not licenced to treat premature ejaculation, and as such any usage of it for this purpose would be “off-label” - so be sure to talk to your clinician before using Viagra to try to help with your premature ejaculation.
Can exercise help with premature ejaculations?
There hasn’t been a direct link drawn to show that exercise can help with premature ejaculations. But exercise can help to reduce stress, and stress can sometimes be a factor in premature ejaculation.
Unfortunately, though, exercise is very unlikely to be too effective in helping with type 1 (lifelong) premature ejaculation. So if this is something you’ve always suffered with, you’ll be better off getting in touch with a clinician to come up with a more robust plan that will be more effective.
Can you get side effects from premature ejaculation treatment?
Yes. But usually they are only mild. Common side effects of SSRIs and dapoxetine include feeling or being sick, fatigue, diarrhoea, excessive sweating and dizziness.
Less common side effects can include bruising or bleeding easily, such as vomiting blood or blood in your stools. There is also a small chance of becoming confused, having trouble with your movement (such as stiffness), having hallucinations or being unable to pee.
If you experience any of these symptoms severely, then you should stop taking the treatment and seek advice, but if you notice blood in your vomit or stools, or are unable to pee, then you should speak to your doctor or go to your nearest hospital immediately.
Can premature ejaculation cause fertility issues?
Premature ejaculation and infertility aren’t thought to be directly linked. The length of time of insertion does not matter greatly in terms of your chances of conceiving - so if that’s what you’re trying to do, then you shouldn’t worry.
Although if premature ejaculations are causing frustrations which are causing you and your partner to have less sex, or you are ejaculating during foreplay and before insertion, then naturally, your chances of conception will drop, and you may need to seek medical advice in order to help you to concieve.
Does the likelihood of experiencing premature ejaculation increase with age?
It would appear not. Sufferers from premature ejaculations seem to be spread quite evenly across age ranges amongst those that don’t also suffer with erectile dysfunction. This is because research has shown a link between erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
This seems to be counterintuitive, but stresses around sexual performance caused by erectile dysfunction, or worries about being able to sustain an erection, can contribute to the same stresses that cause premature ejaculation.
This is why if you’re suffering from both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, Viagra could solve them both. So make sure you’re honest with your clinician about your health to get a simple solution that can work for you.
Why should I buy premature ejaculation treatment from Treated?
We can cut through the noise and find a solution that works for you. Just tell us about your health, and our clinician will advise you of the options that will be safe and suitable to use. From there on out, the choice is in your hands.
You’ll be able to select a dose and frequency that supports your needs and lifestyle, and we’ll check in regularly to see how you’re getting on. You may realise that the treatment isn’t working as you’d liked, or that you want to stop or change your medication.
Whatever the reason, you can reach out to our clinical team whenever you want and they’ll give you the help and advice you need.
Comparison of the clinical efficacy and safety of the on-demand use of paroxetine, dapoxetine, sildenafil and combined dapoxetine with sildenafil in treatment of patients with premature ejaculation: A randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial. Andrologia, 50(1), p.e12829.
There are several reasons why you might not be lasting as long as you’d like to. Scientists aren’t sure of exact causes, but a mix of biological and psychological triggers could result in finishing quickly.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.
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