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Premature ejaculation: How long are you supposed to last

Premature or rapid ejaculation refers to the event where a man ejaculates before he feels he's ready to ejaculate.

Written by Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan |Updated : March 13, 2015 5:48 PM IST

In a country like India, where sex is still a taboo topic in family conversations, a lot of people end up forming conclusions about sex through porn. One of the misconceptions that this has created among men is that they are supposed to last for a long time before they ejaculate. Most porn films last 30 to 40 minutes, and expecting to have intercourse for that long is bound to lead to anguish and disappointment. We asked Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan, a Sexual Health Physician and Medical Sex Therapist to shed some light on premature ejaculation.vijaysarathi-ramanathan

In simple terms, premature or rapid ejaculation refers to the event where a man ejaculates before he feels he s ready to ejaculate. It s far more prevalent than we think, in fact it s the most commonly reported sexual problem for all the different ages. PE is definitely more common among younger men, perhaps because of their lack of experience or insecurity about sex.

How soon is too soon?

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The timing of ejaculation is generally used as an objective measure of ejaculatory control. So, there is no fixed time for defining too soon and it varies among the individuals or couples. Say for an example, if a man/couple wants to ejaculate after 40 minutes of sexual intercourse and if he ejaculates at 25 minutes that is still premature ejaculation for him /couple. On the other hand, if the man/couple wants to ejaculate in 3 minutes but actually ejaculated in 1 min, that is still premature ejaculation for him/them. For a heterosexual man, a commonly used definition of premature ejaculation is ejaculating between 1-2 minutes of his penis entering the woman s vagina. Studies have shown that most men ejaculate within 3 to 5 minutes after penetration.

Premature ejaculation can be basically divided into two categories

1. Primary or lifelong premature ejaculation is when a man has not had control of ejaculation from the time of his first sexual experience. If left untreated, this will continue for the rest of his life.

2. Acquired premature ejaculation is usually when there has been a period of normal functioning before the premature ejaculation began. Acquired premature ejaculation often happens as a result of psychological (relationship) issues or due to other erectile problems.

Most men will experience rapid ejaculation on some occasions. This is nothing to worry about. It becomes a problem only when it occurs during most sexual interactions. Before I can give advice about how to solve the issue, we need to understand that ejaculation is in fact part of a complex process which involves different parts of your body including the brain work together to contract the pelvic muscles that control ejaculation. Another thing you need to realise is that a male orgasm or a climax (the peak of sexual excitement) is actually a separate event from ejaculation. Since they happen so close to another we fail to appreciate the difference.

Causes of premature ejaculation

There can be various reasons for PE. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Anxiety:This can be triggered by a variety of reasons. Someone having sex for the very first time or with a new person or after a long interval will definitely feel a little nervous. It can also be triggered by a desire to play the part of the perfect lover . Feelings of guilt due to masturbation or irrational beliefs about sexual ability, body appearance, etc. can all make a person more anxious. Read about the various tips to deal with first night anxiety.

Sexual partner: Another reason for PE could be because of one s partner. A lot of partners put enormous pressure on their men by making sarcastic comments about coming too quickly which can play on man s mind for a very long time. Comments made in public can only make it worse.

Neurological: Lifelong premature ejaculation can be caused by a chemical imbalance in important brain centres, which may result in a lower ejaculatory threshold. As these men need less stimulation before they ejaculate, ejaculation can happen sooner than desired.

Erectile dysfunction: Acquired premature ejaculation is most commonly caused by erectile dysfunction. It is thought that men with erectile problems begin to ejaculate quickly to compensate for not being able to keep an erection. This may be because of the need for intense stimulation to get and maintain an erection or from anxiety about difficulty in getting and keeping an erection. If a man has erectile problems and experiences premature ejaculation, treating the erectile problems first is important.

Other medical condition: It is rare for premature ejaculation to be caused by a physical disease or conditions.

Mixed causes: It is quite possible for many men to have more than one cause. In such case, a careful history is important to understand the sequence of all events leading to premature ejaculation.But don't worry. Like other conditions premature ejaculation can easily be treated.

Treatment

There are several techniques that can help treat premature ejaculation. Some techniques like the squeeze technique, Masters and Johnson technique can help prolong the time it takes for you to ejaculate. You can read about how you can perform these techniques here. In case, they don't help then you should consult a sex therapist who will be able to suggest a way forward.

For further queries you can contact Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan on his website.

Image source: Getty Images


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