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Is premature ejaculation just a teenager’s problem?

Too excited, or a bigger problem at hand?About 20-25% of men suffer from early ejaculation, a condition that affects men from 18 all the way to 60 - let’s not ignore it.

Sex plays a huge role in the happiness and success of a relationship. As a men’s health doctor who’s treated conditions like erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency, I’ve firsthand witnessed how persisting sexual problems can gradually destroy trust and love in relationships.

We realise the importance of addressing ‘minor’ issues in a relationship and nipping them early in the bud, but why do we not do the same for the bedroom? Take premature ejaculation. 

Premature ejaculation is a health problem that can affect men of all ages and impact relationships the same way other ‘bigger’ issues can. The simplest way to describe this condition is an ejaculation that takes place before both partners would want it to. As there is a lot of unnecessary shame associated with premature ejaculation, a significant number of men shy away from opening up about their condition. 

But failing to talk about it can worsen the problem. Let’s encourage open dialogue about our bedroom issues, especially those that affect men. 


Is it true only teenage boys experience premature ejaculation? 

Premature ejaculation is a condition that can affect nearly any male who is sexually active. In Singapore, about 20-25%1 of men suffer from early ejaculation. 

It is not uncommon for people to tease premature ejaculation as something temporary young men go through, but PE is actually a form of erectile dysfunction

Thankfully, this condition is very treatable - as long as you can identify you have this issue. 


What are the types of premature ejaculation?

Occasionally losing control over your ejaculation should not be considered a problem. Most men periodically attain orgasm sooner than they would like.

For instance, it is pretty common for men to ejaculate quickly the first time they have intercourse. It is also common to reach orgasm quickly if you haven't had sex or ejaculated for a long time. Simply put, the occasional loss of control over your orgasm doesn't entirely imply that you are suffering from a major sexual problem. 

However, you should seek help if you frequently ejaculate early enough to the point that it affects your relationships and quality of life. 

The American Urological Association defines three distinct levels of premature ejaculation severity. 

Mild 

Ejaculation occurs within 30 seconds to 1 minute of penetration 

Moderate 

Ejaculation occurs within 15-30 seconds of penetration 

Severe

Ejaculation occurs within 15 seconds of penetration

Early ejaculation can also be classified as: 

Primary/lifelong 

Primary or lifelong implies you have had this condition for an extended period or almost always since you had your first sexual encounter.

Secondary/acquired 

Secondary or acquired premature ejaculation means you have had satisfying ejaculations in your life, but have recently developed the problem2


What are the potential causes of premature ejaculation?

There are lots of factors that contribute to premature ejaculation, including emotional and psychological factors as well as underlying physical medical conditions. 

Physical and chemical factors that lead to premature ejaculation may include:

  • A penis that is overly sensitive to stimulation.
  • An underlying medical problem.
  • Relatively low dopamine or serotonin levels, which are brain chemicals involved in sexual excitement and desire.
  • An existing ED diagnosis.
  • A hormonal issue with oxytocin levels, which plays a role in male sexual function. Other notable hormones that play a part in sexual function include thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Psychological or emotional factors may include:

  • Performance anxiety, which could be caused by the nervousness of being with a new sex partner, lack of confidence, guilt, the anxiousness of having intercourse after a long period of abstinence, or even being extremely excited.
  • Relationship issues.
  • Depression.
  • Stress.

Psychological Therapy

Is premature ejaculation treatable?

Before you seek a medical appointment, it is important that you first talk to your partner

I understand that it can be difficult, but having an open conversation with your partner is usually the starting point of getting a lasting solution to sexual problems. This will help both of you to understand and accept that premature ejaculation is a treatable condition and is also a very common problem.

Common treatment techniques that are used to combat premature ejaculation include:

Biofeedback

This is a technique that helps train your mind to always control your body better. By knowing the potential triggers of your premature ejaculation, you may be able to better control these triggers.

Medications

There are drugs such as antidepressants, which are better known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and can be used to combat premature ejaculation. 

However, some of these medications have potential side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and even decreased libido! So, you should consult your doctor before you use any drug purported to treat erectile dysfunction.

Numbing creams and sprays applied to the shaft and head of the penis are another viable treatment option to delay ejaculation. The anesthetic spray or cream is applied to the penis, absorbed for about twenty minutes until there is less sensitivity in your manhood. It is advisable to wash your penis before intercourse to prevent numbness to your partner's vagina.

Pelvic exercises

Research has shown that Kegel exercises, which work by strengthening your pubococcygeus muscles, can potentially help men delay their ejaculation. To perform this particular exercise, flex the same muscle you would use to prevent the flow of urine for at least five sets of ten reps daily.

Adult circumcision

While somewhat a more dramatic solution, research has shown that the removal of the foreskin may help desensitize your penis.

Condoms

Besides preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, condoms may also help desensitize your penis, delaying ejaculation in the process. Climax control condoms are available over the counter, and contain numbing agents or feature fairly thicker latex to help delay ejaculation.


The bottom line

If there is one single topic that bothers men as much as size, it's stamina - how long can you go without ejaculating? 

While usually considered a problem of the aged or inexperienced youngins, premature ejaculation affects a significant number of men aged between 18 and 60. So, if you are currently suffering from this particular problem, no need to despair. While highly prevalent, it is a health problem that can easily be solved through medical intervention as well as behavioral changes.


References

  1. Crowdis, M., & Nazir, S. (2021). Premature Ejaculation. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  2. Serefoglu, E. C., McMahon, C. G., Waldinger, M. D., Althof, S. E., Shindel, A., Adaikan, G., Becher, E. F., Dean, J., Giuliano, F., Hellstrom, W. J., Giraldi, A., Glina, S., Incrocci, L., Jannini, E., McCabe, M., Parish, S., Rowland, D., Segraves, R. T., Sharlip, I., & Torres, L. O. (2014). An evidence-based unified definition of lifelong and acquired premature ejaculation: report of the second International Society for Sexual Medicine Ad Hoc Committee for the Definition of Premature Ejaculation. The journal of sexual medicine, 11(6), 1423–1441. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12524 

This article was written and medically reviewed by Dr Ben, M.D on 11/01/21

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