Premature ejaculation happens when a man has an orgasm sooner than he or his partner would like. Premature ejaculation can happen before or shortly after penetration. Some men ejaculate as soon as foreplay starts. Others lose control when they try to insert their penis, while some ejaculate very quickly after penetration. Whatever the case, premature ejaculation can create tension between a man and his partner.

Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint. Estimates vary, but as many as one out of three men may be affected by this problem at some time.

Both psychological and biological factors can play a role in premature ejaculation. Although many men feel embarrassed to talk about it, premature ejaculation is a common and treatable condition.

Exams and Tests : There usually are no abnormal findings with the condition. The health care provider can get more useful information from interviewing the person or couple.

Possible Complications : If a man ejaculates very early, before entering the vagina, it may prevent a couple from getting pregnant. A continued lack of control over ejaculation may cause one or both partners to feel sexually dissatisfied. It may lead to sexual tension or other problems in the relationship.
When to Contact a Medical Professional : Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are having a problem with premature ejaculation.

Prevention : There is no way to prevent this disorder. However, relaxation can make it less likely to occur.


We now know premature ejaculation is more complicated and involves a complex interaction of both psychological and biological factors.

Some patients believe that early sexual experiences may establish a pattern that can be difficult to change later in life, such as:

Situations in which you may have hurried to reach climax in order to avoid being discovered.
Guilty feelings that increase your tendency to rush through sexual encounters.

Other factors that can play a role in causing premature ejaculation include:

Erectile dysfunction. Men who are anxious about obtaining or maintaining their erection during sexual intercourse may form a pattern of rushing to ejaculate which can be difficult to change.
Anxiety. Many men with premature ejaculation also have problems with anxiety — either specifically about sexual performance, or caused by other issues.
Relationship problems. If you have previously had satisfying sexual relationships in which premature ejaculation happened infrequently or not at all, it’s likely that interpersonal issues between you and your current partner are contributing to the problem.

A number of biological factors may contribute to premature ejaculation, including:
Abnormal hormone levels.
Abnormal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Abnormal reflex activity of the ejaculatory system.
Certain thyroid problems.
Inflammation and infection of the prostate or urethra.
Inherited traits.

Nervous system damage resulting from surgery or trauma.
Withdrawal from narcotics or a drug called trifluoperazine (Stelazine) that is used to treat anxiety and other mental health problems.
Although both biological and psychological factors likely play a role in most cases of premature ejaculation.


The primary sign of premature ejaculation is ejaculation that occurs before both partners wish, causing concern or distress. However, the problem may occur in all sexual situations, even including during masturbation.

Premature ejaculation is characterized by:
Ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs within one minute or less of vaginal penetration.
The inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations.
Negative personal consequences, such as distress, frustration or the avoidance of sexual intimacy.


Various factors can increase your risk of premature ejaculation, including:
Erectile dysfunction. You may be at increased risk of premature ejaculation if you occasionally or consistently have trouble getting or maintaining an erection. Fear of losing your erection may cause you to unconsciously hurry through sexual encounters.
Health problems. A medical concern that causes you to feel anxious during sex, such as a heart problem, may cause you to unknowingly rush to ejaculate.
Stress. Emotional or mental strain in any area of your life can play a role in premature ejaculation, often limiting your ability to relax and focus during sexual encounters.
Certain medications. Rarely, drugs that influence the action of chemical messengers in the brain (psychotropics) may cause premature ejaculation.


While premature ejaculation doesn’t increase your risk of serious health problems, it can cause problems in your personal life, including:

Relationship strains. The most common complication of premature ejaculation is relationship stress. If premature ejaculation is straining your relationship, ask your doctor about treatment.
Fertility problems. Premature ejaculation can occasionally make fertilization difficult or impossible for couples who are trying to become pregnant. If premature ejaculation isn’t effectively treated, you and your partner may need to consider infertility treatment.


Talk with your doctor if you ejaculate sooner than you and your partner wish during most sexual encounters. Although you may feel you should be able to fix the problem on your own, you may need treatment to help you achieve and sustain a satisfying sex life.

Don’t hesitate to bring up the topic with your doctor during a general checkup or a visit for other health concerns. Your doctor knows that a healthy sex life is very important to your well-being, and he or she may ask you about your satisfaction with your sex life before you even have a chance to bring it up.

It’s normal to feel embarrassed when talking about sexual problems, but you can trust that your doctor has had similar conversations with many of his or her patients. Premature ejaculation is a very common and treatable condition.

Being ready to talk about premature ejaculation will help you get the treatment you need to get your sex life back on track.
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