Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Premature ejaculation

Definition

Premature ejaculation is when a man has an orgasm sooner during intercourse than desired.

Causes

Premature ejaculation is a common complaint.

It is thought to be caused by psychological factors or physical problems. The condition often improves without treatment.

Symptoms

The man ejaculates before their partner would like (prematurely). This may range from before penetration to a point just after penetration. It may leave the couple feeling unsatisfied.

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider may do a physical exam and talk with you about your sex life and medical history. Your provider also may do blood or urine tests to rule out any physical problems.

Treatment

Practice and relaxation can help you deal with the problem. There are helpful techniques you can try.

The "stop and start" method:

This technique involves sexually stimulating the man until he feels like he is about to reach orgasm. Stop the stimulation for about 30 seconds and then start it again. Repeat this pattern until the man wants to ejaculate. The last time, continue stimulation until the man reaches orgasm.

The "squeeze" method:

This technique involves sexually stimulating the man until he recognizes that he is about to ejaculate. At that point, the man or his partner gently squeezes the end of the penis (where the glans meets the shaft) for several seconds. Stop sexual stimulation for about 30 seconds, and then start it again. The person or couple may repeat this pattern until the man wants to ejaculate. The last time, continue stimulation until the man reaches orgasm.

Antidepressants, such as Prozac and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often prescribed. These medicines can increase the time it takes to reach ejaculation.

You can apply a local anesthetic cream or spray to the penis to reduce stimulation. Decreased feeling in the penis may delay ejaculation. Condom use also may have this effect for some men.

Other medicines used for erectile dysfunction may help. Some studies show that using a combination of behavioral techniques and medicines may be most effective.

Evaluation by a sex therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist may help some couples.

Outlook (Prognosis)

In most cases, the man can learn how to control ejaculation. Education and practicing simple techniques are often successful. Chronic premature ejaculation may be a sign of anxiety or depression. A psychiatrist or psychologist can help treat these conditions.

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 your provider if you are having a problem with premature ejaculation and it does not get better using the methods described above.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent this disorder.

References

Cooper K, Martyn-St. James M, Kaltenthaler E, et al. Behavioral therapies for management of premature ejaculation: a systematic review. Sex Med. 2015;3(3):174-188. PMID: 26468381 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26468381.

McMahon CG. Disorders of male orgasm and ejaculation. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 29.

Shafer LC. Sexual disorders and sexual dysfunction. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 36.

Review Date:1/30/2017
Reviewed By:Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No