What is premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation symptoms
What counts as premature ejaculation is very much down to the individual and their partner. Medically speaking, premature ejaculation tends to refer to ejaculation occurring no more than 60-90 seconds after penetration. It tends to be younger men who experience it most commonly, or men who have had fewer sexual experiences.
However, if you orgasm quickly during sex but you and your partner feel satisfied and happy, there is no medical need to seek treatment.
What causes premature ejaculation
Performance anxiety, muscle tension caused by some sexual positions, and sensory overload can all contribute to PE. Some men might be hypersensitive in certain areas, making them more susceptible to early ejaculation. There is documented evidence that PE is more common in men of South Asian origin.
How long do men last in bed?
An NHS study of 500 couples concluded that the average duration of penetrative sex before ejaculation was 5.5mins. However, it is important that you and your partner are happy with how long penetrative sex lasts, even if that's less than the rough national average. Try not to pay attention to claims other men make about lasting for hours as these may not be true. Try not to focus on the time it takes, but how much satisfaction sex brings.
Treatments and side effects
Prescription PE treatments inhibit your body’s impulse to orgasm. You might be prescribed an anaesthetic cream to numb the penis, or a prescription tablet to delay ejaculation impulses in the brain. As with all medicines, these may cause undesirable side effects or may not be suitable for you.
Psychological, ‘self-control treatments’ and counselling are the most effective long-term treatments for premature ejaculation. Often, talking about these issues with a partner can be helpful, as this can relax you, restore your confidence, and remove the perceived pressure that you have to perform well.
Doctor's PE advice
The causes of PE vary from man to man. It's important to remember that if you and your partner are happy with your sex life, it doesn't matter how long you last in bed. If, however, 'finishing too soon' is causing you distress or creating problems in your relationship, there are treatments that can help.
This is why talking with your partner about how you both feel is so important. It may be that unrealistic expectations have been created by exaggerated stories from friends, films or pornography. Remember, there's no such thing as 'normal' – it's about what's right for you.
Our PE clinic
Complete an online PE consultation and our clinicians will recommend you treatment, if it’s suitable for you. You might be recommended Priligy, EMLA or a combination pack of these two treatments. You may be redirected to an erectile dysfunction (ED) consultation instead. This is because some people who think they have PE actually have ED or have both ED and PE. Often, in these cases ED treatment might be more suitable.
Some men find that counselling helps to treat psychological causes. Discussing concerns and any anxiety with a professional and learning some coping techniques can be very beneficial to your overall state of mind, and that in turn can mean a better sexual experience.
There are also behavioural and physical techniques such as 'edging' and applying pressure to your penis to try and hold off orgasm. These treatments are intended to either help you last longer, or be more satisfied with your performance overall.
Alternatives to penetrative sex
If you find that your PE continues, even with treatment and/or counselling, you should know that there are alternatives to penetrative sex. Foreplay, cuddling and focusing on your partner can all be satisfying ways of making the sexual encounter last longer and feel more satisfying. If you believe you won't last long, you could save penetration to the last minute to ensure you are both having an enjoyable experience.