Premature Ejaculation

What is premature ejaculation?

Ejaculation is the release of sperm and semen during a man’s orgasm. Ejaculation may be called premature, or too early, if you have an orgasm sooner than you or your partner wishes during sex. It can be a problem that keeps a couple from having satisfying sex.

About one third of American men have trouble controlling when they have an orgasm. This problem is more common in younger men, but can happen at any age.

What is the cause?

Many things can affect the timing of orgasm, such as:

  • Excitement
  • The sensitivity of the penis
  • Feelings such as guilt, anxiety, or fear
  • Pressure to perform
  • Stress in your relationship with your sexual partner

Premature ejaculation may happen if you’ve gone a long time without sex. It is also common the first few times you have sex with a new partner.

Medical problems are rarely a cause.

How is it treated?

If you are concerned about premature ejaculation, ask for help from your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can suggest ways to lengthen the time between sexual arousal and orgasm. For example, you might change the thoughts and fantasies you have during sex. Also, learning and practicing the “start-stop” or “squeeze” techniques can help. Ask your provider about these techniques.

There are some things you can do to make your penis less sensitive. For example, you can use a condom or a numbing cream that your provider can prescribe for you.

In rare cases your provider may prescribe medicines that can prolong the time it takes to have an ejaculation.

You may benefit from sex therapy to learn to control your ejaculation. This means learning how to control the various things that affect when you have an orgasm. It may help if both you and your partner see a therapist. Anyone can claim to be a sex therapist. It is important to seek treatment from a licensed professional. A sex therapist should be a healthcare provider such as a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, social worker, marriage or family therapist, or psychologist who has special training in sexual problems. You can get referrals from:

  • Your healthcare provider
  • Your health insurance company
  • Your employee assistance program (EAP) at work
  • Local mental health or human service agencies
  • Professional associations of psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-18
Last reviewed: 2014-04-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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