Ladies, did you know that one in 3 men had, have, or will have premature ejaculation issues? No? Well, it’s true. So, what exactly is premature ejaculation? Well, premature ejaculation usually occurs when a man ejaculates (“orgasms”) more quickly than he or his partner would like, during sex or sexual activities. Premature ejaculation, also referred to as PE, is more like a sexual issue, than actual disorder or disease. And, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the man’s sex life, relationship, or self-esteem, it’s usually not a major concern.
It is important to note, however, that some PE cases can negatively affect women and their relationships. In fact, research suggests that PE can cause women to feel distressed and experience sexual problems like low libido’s when their partners have this condition. Definitely unpleasant! If you have been negatively affected by PE, and wondering how to approach this issue, keep reading because this article will explain what the symptoms are, how it is treated, and how you can discuss treatment options with your partner.
So, how do you know if your partner has PE or if it’s simply a single “misfire” that probably will never occur again? Well, one way to determine if your man has PE is to pay attention to how often he experiences it and how quickly he ejaculates after penetration.
According to the medical definition your partner may be experiencing PE if he:
- Tends to ejaculate a minute or two after penetrating you
- Has trouble postponing ejaculation most or all of the time, during sex or sexual activities
- Is so worried about and/or distraught over the PE that he purposefully avoids being physically intimate with you
There are also 2 main types of PE:
- Chronic (Primary) PE – Chronic PE occurs most or all of the time from the moment the man starts having sex.
- Acquired (Secondary) PE – Acquired PE typically pops up suddenly – with no prior ejaculation issues.
But, putting the dry definition aside, many sex therapists prefer to define PE as ejaculation that occurs before the man or his partner wishes to. So the question you have to ask your self is how much does this bother you and your partner?
So, what causes PE? Well, the exact cause varies and isn’t completely known at this time. In the past, PE was thought to be solely psychological in nature; however, modern research suggests that it may stem from an intricate combo of both psychological and biological factors. When looking for a cause, however, it is important to look at both the ‘here and now’ and underlying cause of this sexual condition.
‘Here and Now’ Cause:
What is the ‘here and now’ cause of PE? Well, the ‘here and now’ (immediate) cause of PE in an inability to accurate discern a “point of no return.” What does that mean? It means that for some reason your partner is unable to clearly interpret what his body is telling him, during sex. And, as a result, he is unable to regulate his sexual response, leading to premature ejaculation. Thus, a man with PE is unable to prolong the plateau stage of sex. What this means is that for your partner, the plateau stage is not only short, but probably non-existent. Now, there is a possibility that he’s able to hold off ejaculating temporarily, but really has no control over it past a certain point.
As mentioned above, a variety of factors can trigger or worsen PE. These underlying causes may involve genetic, physical, or even psychological factors. So, even if you are just now noticing the PE, your partner may have been suffering with condition, since his first sexual experience. Or, it could have suddenly arrived – without warning, surprising both of you. Regardless, it is extremely important for you to reassure your partner that he has nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Remind, your man that the condition is incredibly common and completely out of his control.
Listed below are some common causes of PE:
- Behavioral Problem
Your partner’s PE may be caused by a learned behavioral problem. In other words, the first time he had sex with you, he may have been so aroused that he ejaculated without realizing how quickly it happened. Truthfully, this is normal. How can PE be linked to a learned behavioral problem? Well, in this case, an interruption probably occurred in his brain, during sexual activity, that prevented him from recognizing and/or fully understanding what his body was trying to tell him. More specifically, he was most likely unable to identify his ‘point of no return.’ And, because he was unable to recognize this point during sex, he never really learned how to extend the plateau stage, delay his orgasm, and/or control his ejaculatory reflex. He learned a cyclic pattern of sexual dysfunction. Okay, so when could he have learned this behavior? Most likely, your partner learned it, during adolescence, after a particularly stressful sexual situation.
- A Serotonin Deficiency
Another common underlying cause of PE is a serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) responsible for happiness and well-being, so a low level of serotonin in the body can interfere with the normal sexual process, leading to sexual issues like premature ejaculation.
Genetics can also play a role in the development of PE. In fact, research suggests that the majority of PE cases are hereditary.
- Psychological Factors
Have you ever thought that maybe your partner’s PE comes from psychological distress? Well, if not, maybe it’s time to consider this possible cause, because psychological factors can cause or aggravate PE.
Listed below are some psychological factors that can trigger or worsen PE:
Performance Anxiety – Your man may be experiencing a boatload of anxiety right now, due to his inability to sexually “perform” like he wants to. This sexual anxiety may stem from the stress of trying to impress you by “going for a long time,” during sexual intercourse or sexual activities. Destructive thoughts, sex-related trauma (i.e. childhood sexual abuse, rape, etc.), sexual naiveté, and/or unrealistically high sexual expectations – are just some of the ways performance anxiety can activate or exacerbate PE.
Stress – As mentioned above, stress can really affect your partner’s ability to “get it up and keep it up.” In fact, relationship, financial, workplace, health, and/or life stress can really put a damper on a couple’s sex life, leading premature ejaculation.
So, guess what? PE can be successfully treated – in fact; it is one of the easiest sexual dysfunctions to conquer! Yay!
In fact, there are a ton of things you can do to help fix your partner’s premature ejaculation, such as:
Desensitization – Desensitizing (numbing) sprays, creams, and condoms can boost your partner’s ejaculation latency time.
Antidepressants & Painkillers – Antidepressants and painkillers can delay ejaculation, but negatively affect your partner’s libido.
Behavioral Sex Therapy Exercises – There are two common behavioral sex therapy exercises: the squeeze technique (stops arousal by squeezing the penal glands) and the stop-start method (stops PE by tempering down your partner’s arousal). Note: The purpose of these exercises is to help your partner better identify his “point of no return,” so he can improve his sexual stamina.
So, how can you tell your partner that you would like for him to seek treatment?
Listed below are ways you can talk to your partner about seeking PE treatment:
Share your feelings with your partner. Don’t hold back! If he knows just how much PE is affecting you, he’ll most likely seek treatment for it. Avoid (at all costs), however, blaming him for the condition, instead, talk about it and work together to come up with a viable solution.
Suggest talking a walk on the wild side together – i.e. trying out new sex positions, locations, and/or toys, during treatment. The goal is to offer your partner an incentive to seek treatment – one he’ll love.
Talk about what seeking treatment would look like. In other words, discuss various treatment options and determine which one would be best for your partner – and you!
In summary, you may be feeling alone right now, but, trust me, that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Honestly, there is no real stigma when it comes to PE. Why not? Well, because it’s way too common, even if it is not talked about often. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your partner is to encourage him to openly and honestly talk about his PE experience and motivate him to see treatment. Your man needs you to listen to him, not try to “fix” him. More specifically, he needs your support and unconditional love. In other words, he needs to know that it’s “going to be okay.” And, lastly, it is important for your partner to know that there are treatments (i.e. exercises) available that can help him improve his control, so you both have a very long and enjoyable sexual experience.
References available on request.
Dr. R.Y. Langham holds a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy and a Ph.D in family psychology. She serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which provides sex-therapy online programs for men and couples experiencing premature ejaculation.