What is premature ejaculation?
Ejaculation is the release of semen from your penis during an orgasm. When ejaculation happens faster than either you or your partner would like, it’s referred to as early or premature ejaculation (PE) or early ejaculation, premature climax or rapid ejaculation.
Research shows that at least 33% of men aged between 18 and 60 will experience premature ejaculation at some point in their lifetime.
Nearly every man will experience premature ejaculation from time to time; although not life threatening, it is a condition that can cause emotional stress as well as relationship problems.
What causes early or premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation rarely stems from a physical problem; contributing factors are usually emotional or psychological in nature.
Some psychological triggers may be temporary. For instance, an individual may have experienced premature ejaculation during early sexual experiences, but as they grow older and have more sexual experience, they learn different techniques to help delay ejaculation.
Otherwise, premature ejaculation is usually caused by:
- Poor self-esteem or body image.
- History of sexual abuse, either as the victim, survivor, or perpetrator.
- Worrying about ejaculating too early
- Issues or dissatisfaction in your intimate relationship
- Excess levels of testosterone
Note: It is not uncommon for patients with erectile dysfunction to experience premature ejaculation as many tend to rush through sex before losing their erection.
What are the symptoms of premature ejaculation?
The major symptom associated with early ejaculation is the consistent inability to delay ejaculation for more than a minute after penetration during sex. Rapid climax when masturbating may also become a problem for some people.
Premature ejaculation is broadly categorised as:
- Primary (lifelong) premature ejaculation: You have always experienced this problem, or at least since your last sexual encounter.
- Secondary (acquired) premature ejaculation: You have had longer-lasting ejaculations in your life, but have now developed early ejaculation.
As already explained, occasional episodes of early ejaculation aren’t usually something to worry about. However, if your premature ejaculation symptoms occur more frequently for an extended period, don’t hesitate to consult your local doctor.
Is early ejaculation a form of sexual dysfunction?
Yes, premature ejaculation is generally considered a type of sexual dysfunction – a sexual dysfunction is any type of sexual problem that may prevent a couple from having a satisfying sexual activity.
However, premature ejaculation is very different from erectile dysfunction.
ED is defined as the inability of a man to get and maintain an erection firm enough for a satisfying sexual experience. With PE, you still can get an erection and complete sexual intercourse – albeit for a short amount of time.
How is premature ejaculation diagnosed?
During your appointment, your doctor will:
- Inquire about your sex life as well as your entire life history
- Conduct some blood tests to examine your hormonal levels
- Recommend you to a mental health specialist or urologist if necessary
How is premature ejaculation treated in Singapore?
- Consistent use of condoms: Condoms may help combat premature ejaculation by reducing the sensitivity of your penis, which in turn, help delay ejaculation. Try using thicker condoms, as normal or thinner condoms may not be as effective.
- Withdrawal method: This technique requires you to withdraw just before you ejaculate – when the urge to ejaculate subsides, you can resume your sexual act.
- Topical creams: Numbing creams have proven to be highly effective at curbing premature ejaculation. These creams reduce the sensitivity in your penis, preventing early ejaculation. However, when you use a numbing cream, you basically don’t have control over the extent of desensitization – meaning you and your partner may not experience sexual satisfaction.
- Oral medication: Currently, only one drug is approved for the treatment of early ejaculation. Doctors usually use it in conjunction with ED drugs. Your doctor may prescribe certain painkillers to help delay ejaculation; but they should only be taken when needed and right before having sex.
Note: It has been proven that the use of medication often treats or rather reverses PE symptoms much faster compared to behavioral techniques.
For this reason, doctors often combine both treatment methods for the best results.
Regardless of the mode of treatment used, your symptoms may take some time to subside.
Premature ejaculation is a treatable health problem. Techniques that delay ejaculation, oral medication as well as counseling can help improve sex for both you and your partner. But you must first consult your doctor, who will determine the root cause of your PE symptoms before coming up with the most appropriate mode of treatment.
Seek immediate medical intervention if:
- Premature ejaculation is occurring or has occurred enough times to lead to relationship issues.
- Early ejaculation prevents you from engaging in intimate relationships.
- Early ejaculation symptoms make you feel unconfident or self-conscious.