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What is premature ejaculation?

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Premature ejaculation or P.E. means ‘coming too quickly’. It’s also widely known as ‘hair-trigger trouble’ or ‘being too excitable’. It’s one of the commonest of all sexual problems. It is more common in younger men. This is not surprising, as there’s a distinct tendency for it to improve with age. Men generally develop better control as they grow older.

Does it matter if a guy has premature ejaculation?

Well, in most cases it does matter – because it makes people unhappy and frustrated. And in severe cases P.E. can threaten or even ruin a marriage – simply because it spoils the sex lives of both partners. Sometimes the condition is so bad that the man cannot even manage to have intercourse because he invariably ejaculates before he can get into the vagina. This can be devastating for a guy’s self-confidence. And it can be hugely frustrating and annoying for his partner too. However, most men merely find P.E. a considerable irritation – a condition which makes them ‘come’ very soon after they enter their partners (say, after only one to two minutes), so that neither party gets a lot of satisfaction.

What causes premature ejaculation?

For many years, sex experts have tended to say that early ‘conditioning’ causes premature ejaculation. In other words, the man’s early, rushed (and perhaps furtive) sexual experiences had to be QUICK – so as to avoid detection! The idea is that all this hectic ‘rush’ conditions him to climax as quickly as possible.

However, many men with P.E. say that they did NOT have rushed, hasty early sexual experiences. They maintain that they were ‘highly triggered’ right from the start of their sex lives.

It’s worth noting that from an evolutionary point of view, it’s probable that throughout human history, males who climaxed quickly were more likely to have children. (In other words, if you were a caveman who ‘came’ very fast, you’d stand more chance of impregnating cavewomen and, therefore, enlarging and strengthening your tribe – than a chap who took all day about it.)

Therefore, the tendency to reach orgasm quickly may actually be INHERITED rather than learned.

Finally, there’s no question that anxiety (or ‘nerves’) plays a part in many cases of P.E. If you’re nervous, you’re likely to come too quickly. That’s why many males have discovered for themselves that a small amount of alcohol eases their nerves and makes them less likely to climax prematurely. But we wouldn’t recommend alcohol as a treatment!

What can be done for premature ejaculation?

Very mild cases

If you have very mild P.E. (for instance, if you can ‘last’ a good five minutes but would like to last 10), there’s probably no point in going to a doctor. You should be able to improve matters by simple ‘distraction techniques’. This means turning your mind to something else when you sense that a climax is near. For instance, you can:

  • Think very hard about something totally unconcerned with sex, like fishing, football, or feng shui.
  • Pinch yourself hard.
  • Bite the pillow.

Some men try to treat themselves with a local anesthetic gel. This product is advertised to the public as a good way to ‘damp down’ sexual sensation in the penis. But we do not advise using it firstly, because the local anesthetic can ‘dull’ the sex sensation for the partner, and secondly because it can sometimes cause a distressing skin sensitivity reaction.

The Masters-Johnson Method

This method cures the vast majority of people, provided that both partners are keen to co-operate (which isn’t always the case!). It is based on a special ‘penis grip’ developed by the American therapists, Masters and Johnson. This finger-grip abolishes the desire to climax, so if the couple use it – under careful instruction – over a period of weeks, they can usually ‘re-train’ the man so that he can last much, much longer. For instance, we have seen many men who had P.E. so badly that they couldn’t even last for 30 seconds. But after careful training with their partners, they were soon able to last as long as half an hour. The program and the grip technique work for male gay couples as well as for heterosexual ones.

The Grip

The Masters and Johnson grip really needs to be demonstrated to you personally by an expert. Most couples that try to learn it from the Internet or a book get it wrong. But basically, it involves one partner placing his hand so that his thumb is on one side of the man’s erect penis (the nearer side to him – when he is facing him), while his index and middle fingers are on the other side. The index finger is just above the ridge of the glans (the ‘head’ or ‘fireman’s helmet’) while the middle finger is just below the ridge. When the man feels that he’s near to a climax, he tells his partner. The other partner then squeezes his shaft firmly between her thumb and the other two fingers (Don’t worry: it’s painless!).

Treatment with drugs 

In recent years, it has also proved possible to treat P.E. with antidepressant drugs. That may seem a little odd, but the reason is that certain antidepressants are well known for the side effect of delaying male climax. For most men, that side effect is unwanted. But for guys with premature ejaculation, it’s quite desirable. Antidepressants, which are commonly used for this purpose, include clomipramine (Anafranil) and sertraline (Lustral). But please be warned: these are powerful drugs, with a considerable list of potential side effects. Before going on to one of them, talk it over carefully with your doctor.

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