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Penis And Testicle Health - Conditions and Complications | February 4, 2021, 5:25 CST

When to Get Help for Premature Ejaculation
Living with PE is challenging but not hopeless. Solutions exist. Find one that works for you.

Written by

Scott Boyter
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Photography by David Heisler

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common problem, affecting as many as 1 in 3 men at some point in their lives. But that doesn’t make it any easier to handle.

PE occurs for many possible reasons, but whatever the cause, it can take a toll on relationships.

Causes of premature ejaculation

A man is diagnosed with PE if he is unable to delay ejaculation to his or his partner’s satisfaction 50 percent of the time during sex.

Why does this happen? There is no clear-cut reason, but a hormone known as serotonin may play an important role. Serotonin regulates mood and aids sleep. A lack of serotonin may increase the risk of PE because if you don’t have enough, ejaculation could be hastened.

Other potential causes of PE include stress and depression, lack of sexual confidence and age. Inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, can also increase the chances of premature ejaculation. One study found that nearly 50 percent of participants with PE also had prostatitis.

PE & relationship problems

Premature ejaculation can be an incredibly frustrating issue and, in some instances, can devastate a relationship. PE not only can rob a man of his self-esteem but also his own sexual pleasure.

Men with premature ejaculation aren’t the only ones who suffer, however. Their partners may also experience some frustration.

Researchers conducted a survey of more than 1,500 women whose partners had PE, and about 40 percent of them said ejaculatory control was a major part of a satisfying sexual encounter. Their main source of frustration wasn’t necessarily with the duration of sex, but with the man’s preoccupation with premature ejaculation. They said that men with the condition often spend so much energy trying to delay ejaculation during sex that they ignore their partner’s needs and desires.

When to see a doctor

If you’re having problems controlling ejaculation on a regular basis, especially if it’s starting to affect your relationship, it may be time to consider getting medical help.

Your doctor may ask several questions, and it’s important that you give honest answers. For example, your doctor may want to know how often you experience PE and how long it’s been an issue. You may be asked whether it happens every time you have sex, and whether your premature ejaculation has changed the way you have intercourse. A doctor who has reason to believe your PE is related to a health issue will probably want to conduct a physical examination as well.

Treatment options

No matter how frustrating PE may be, the situation is far from hopeless. Many safe, effective methods can address the condition.

One option is the "squeeze technique." When you’re about to orgasm, you or your partner can try squeezing the shaft of your penis slightly below the head with the thumb and fingers. Do this for about 20 seconds, until your urge to ejaculate passes, and then let go. Once you release the squeeze, wait about 30 seconds and then go back to stimulating your penis. If you feel like you’re about to ejaculate too soon again, simply repeat the process.

The purpose of the squeeze method is to help reduce your impulse to ejaculate. As you or your partner continue to use this method, you eventually may be able to control that impulse without needing the technique.

Yoga may also help some men with PE. By controlling the pelvic muscles and increasing your awareness of impending ejaculation, you may be able to gain better control. Certain yoga poses may help delay contraction of the ejaculatory ducts within the penis, helping to reduce the chances of premature ejaculation in the process. Various yoga breathing practices and relaxation techniques may work well, too.

Be patient but take action

You do not need to continue to suffer with premature ejaculation, and you certainly shouldn’t suffer alone.

Whether you try the squeeze technique, yoga or another option your doctor may suggest, whether you communicate with others in support groups, or you just discuss everything openly with your partner, make sure you do something.

Patience—not just with your partner but also with yourself—will be extremely important. You likely will experience anxiety and might even feel anger, and that’s normal. But don’t give up on yourself and keep trying to find a solution that works for you.

Written by

Scott Boyter

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