Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common problem for men during (or before) intercourse. It occurs when the male ejaculates (comes) too quickly during sex. There are no strict parameters regarding what is ‘too quickly’, though a recent survey looked at 500 couples and found that the average time between a man putting his penis into his partner’s vagina and ejaculation was approximately five-and-a-half minutes. This figure should only be treated as a guide as there is no official definition regarding how long intercourse should last. It should always be down to the individual and his partner to decide what amount of time is satisfactory for them. However, it is commonly agreed upon that an ejaculation that occurs in less than two minutes can be classed as premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation most commonly affects men in their teenage years and 20’s, however 40% of men have experienced it at some stage.
The causes for premature ejaculation are varied and not always clear. It can be caused by physical or psychological problems or in some cases both. For example, if a man has had erectile problems in the past, this can lead to a feeling of anxiety when engaging in sexual intercourse. This anxiety could result in premature ejaculation.
Common physical causes of PE include:
- High blood pressure
- Recreational drug use
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Multiple sclerosis
- Prostate disease
- Overactive or underactive thyroid
Common psychological causes of premature ejaculation include:
- Unresolved sexual or emotional issues within a relationship
- Anxiety about sexual performance (this is usually a common cause at the start of a new relationship, or when a man has had previous problems with sexual performance).