What is Premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation (PE) means coming too quickly, and it’s one of the most common sexual problems.
In a survey of several thousand British males, approximately 10 per cent of them said that they often or sometimes had this trouble. It is more common in young men – which is not surprising, as there’s a distinct tendency for it to improve with age. Men generally get better control as they grow older.
It’s almost impossible to get an accurate definition of premature ejaculation: what some couples consider a satisfactory length of intercourse would be very inadequate for others.
At the 2006 Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, an American research paper reported:
‘The average lasting time of men with PE was 1.8 minutes. An average male without PE will last an average of 4.2 minutes.’
I see many men who claimed to have premature ejaculation, yet who could last over 10 minutes. This clearly shows people have wildly differing ideas about what is normal. Misconceptions regarding the time of ejaculation is eagerly exaggerated by other males and the perception is distorted.
Does it matter?
In most cases premature ejaculation does matter, because it makes people unhappy and frustrated. And in severe cases PE can threaten or even ruin a marriage – simply because it spoils the sex lives of both partners.
Sometimes, the condition is so bad the man can’t have sex because he ejaculates before he can get into the vagina. This can be devastating for a man’s self-confidence. And it can be hugely frustrating and annoying for his partner – especially if she wants to get pregnant.
However, most men merely find PE a considerable irritation. It’s a condition that makes them come very soon after they enter their partner so neither party gets a lot of satisfaction.
What causes it?
For many years, sex experts have tended to say that premature ejaculation is caused by early conditioning.
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 this conditions him to climax as quickly as possible.
It’s worth noting that from an evolutionary point of view, it’s probable that 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 your woman and enlarging your tribe.
Some men seem to be highly triggered right from the start of their sex lives, and we have encountered instances where their fathers were much the same. Therefore, we feel that the tendency to reach orgasm quickly may possibly be inherited rather than learned.
Finally, there’s no question that anxiety plays a part in many cases of PE. If you’re nervous, you’re likely to come too quickly. This is 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!