How to talk to your partner about premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation can be a difficult topic to talk about. Men often shy away from a conversation about their issues because of fear of being stigmatized or made fun of. But it’s actually the most common sexual dysfunction in men. According to estimates, up to 39% of men worldwide experience premature ejaculation at some point in their lives.
What is premature ejaculation?
When men are unable to delay ejaculation for less than 1 to 1.5 minutes, they are said to be ejaculating prematurely. The average duration of a normal ejaculation is 7.3 minutes according to a study of 1,587 men.
Ejaculation occurs when sensory receptors and neuronal processes in the brain act together. It’s essentially a reflex action designed to release the sperm during sex. When these processes become disrupted, premature ejaculation may be the consequence.
What causes premature ejaculation?
Psychological problems are the most reasons why men experience premature ejaculation. This includes depression, anxiety, and emotional stress. One study found that 64% of men with premature ejaculation said they experienced high levels of distress. It’s likely that highly anxious men are distracted from delaying ejaculation by their worries and attempts to control the situation. Ejaculation is a process that requires concentration. What’s more, half of men with erectile dysfunction also suffer from premature ejaculation. In an attempt to not lose their erection, men with erectile dysfunction tend to rush sexual intercourse.
Physical issues such as an inflamed prostate gland or a problem with the spinal cord may also result in uncontrolled ejaculations.
How can you prevent or treat premature ejaculation?
The diagnosis of premature ejaculation is fairly simple. Your doctor will usually ask questions about your sexual history. The more accurate you can be, the easier it will be to determine if your issues are emotional or if you require further examination of underlying physical conditions.
Prevention is the best medicine. A healthy attitude toward sex goes a long way. If you’re a bit anxious about your sex life, you could seek a therapist to help discuss your issues. Remember that there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ kind of sexual experience or the ‘perfect’ sexual intercourse. Every couple is different. Talk to your loved one about your sexual preferences.
There are several approaches to treat premature ejaculation. If the condition is due to anxiety or another mental health issue, you could seek psychotherapy to talk about your fears.
Two common behavioral techniques are the “stop-start” technique and the “squeeze” technique.
During the “stop-start” technique, a partner stimulates the penis until the urge to ejaculate arises. Stimulation is then stopped until the feeling subsidies. This is repeated a few times before allowing a partner to ejaculate and allows your partner to train to regain control over his ejaculation.
The “squeeze” technique requires a partner to squeeze the penis glands just before ejaculation. Similarly, this is repeated a few times before an ejaculation.
Available drug treatments to delay ejaculation include serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and phosphodiesterase inhibitors like Viagra. There are also creams available that numb the penis leading to reduced stimulation. By lowering penis stimulation, some men find it easier to prolong their sexual performance. Another option to delay orgasms is to use multiple condoms.
Consult your doctor if premature ejaculation has an effect on your sexual pleasure.
How to talk about premature ejaculation?
In most cases, honesty is the best approach. Partners will usually be understanding of the issue and want to work together to find a solution. Don’t pressure each other or blame one another for the condition. Focus on the solution instead. Premature ejaculation is rarely inevitable and many therapeutic methods are available.
- McMahon, C. (2007). Premature ejaculation. Indian Journal of Urology, 23/2: 97. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/0970-1591.32056
- Premature Ejaculation: It's Not All In Your Head. (2019). ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 24, 2019, from <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050414111105.htm>
- Patrick DL, Althof SE, Pryor JL, Rosen R, Rowland DL, Ho KF, et al. Premature ejaculation: An observational study of men and their partners. J Sex Med. 2005;2:358–67.
- Cooper, K., Martyn-St James, M., Kaltenthaler, E., Dickinson, K., Cantrell, A., Wylie, K., … Hood, C. (2015). Behavioral Therapies for Management of Premature Ejaculation: A Systematic Review. Sexual medicine, 3(3), 174–188. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/sm2.65