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Premature ejaculation

3-minute read

Premature ejaculation is very common. Many men ejaculate prematurely, or come too early, at some time in their lives. It is more common in younger men.

There is no fixed time for ejaculating. Premature ejaculation is when you lose control over when you ejaculate. If it happens occasionally, that is not a worry. But if you regularly come earlier than you or your partner would like, then it is an issue to think about.

It is important to remember that ejaculation problems are nothing to be embarrassed or shy about. Talking to your partner or a health professional about your concerns can often help to reassure you. Your doctor will also be able to provide more advice.

This is important. Most men with premature ejaculation can be helped, which can help with developing and maintaining intimate relationships.

Causes of premature ejaculation

Sometimes premature ejaculation is a lifelong problem that starts the first time a man has sex.

Acquired premature ejaculation can develop after a period of normal ejaculation. It is usually due to a psychological problem such as performance anxiety. Other factors that can contribute to premature ejaculation are anxiety, stress, erectile dysfunction and relationships problems. Alcohol and recreational drugs can make premature ejaculation worse.

Some men may have physical problems tied in with premature ejaculation, such as impotence or high blood pressure. Some medicines can make it worse too.

Premature ejaculation treatments

There are a number of ways you may wish to try before seeking medical help. These include:

  • masturbating an hour or two before you have sex
  • using a thick condom to help decrease sensation
  • taking a deep breath in order to briefly shut down the ejaculatory reflex (an automatic reflex of the body during which ejaculation occurs)
  • having sex with your partner on top, as you may find this position less arousing
  • taking a break and thinking of something other than sex.

If you seek medical help, there are many different options for treatment.

Couples therapy

If you are in a long-term relationship, you may benefit from couples therapy. There are two stages in couples therapy. First, couples are encouraged to explore any issues that may be affecting their relationship, and given advice on how to resolve them. Second, they are shown techniques that can help the man 'unlearn' the habit of premature ejaculation. Sex therapists can advise on techniques available to do this.

Medicines

Another treatment is a local anaesthetic spray that can be bought over-the-counter at your pharmacy without prescription. You spray it on the head of your penis 10 minutes before having sex.

Also, antidepressants and other medicines have been used successfully to treat premature ejaculation.

Counselling

There are sex therapists and other specialists to deal with ejaculation and other sexual problems. You may benefit from seeing one of these professionals.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your premature ejaculation, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2017

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