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Premature Ejaculation: Causes, Consequences, & Treatments - Sexual Improvements

Premature Ejaculation: Causes, Consequences, & Treatments

premature ejaculation causes

Do you finish too soon? The good (and bad) news is, you’re not alone. Premature ejaculation is an incredibly common problem: according to sexual therapist Dr. Laura Berman, premature ejaculation is the most common problem in her male patients under 40, and affects between 15% to 30% of men in a self-reported survey.premature ejaculation causes and treatments

And while finishing too soon is frustrating in a sexual sense, it has other consequences as well: not only can finishing too soon take a toll on your mental health, but it may also strain your current and future relationships or exacerbate any preexisting psychological issues you may have.

It can sometimes feel like an overwhelming annoyance; a constant monkey on your back that makes everything else seem frustrating as well.

But don’t worry: because premature ejaculation is such a common problem, lots of research has been done into the topic, and there are plenty of options out there to help overcome your premature ejaculation.

I suggest you also check out this article on what causes premature ejaculation.

What is premature ejaculation?

Technically, the medical definition of premature ejaculation is very narrow: according to Dr. Helen Webberly, classic premature ejaculation is “a form of sexual dysfunction where a man always, or consistently climaxes and ejaculates before or very soon after sexual penetration, causing distress”, and “under strict criteria, premature ejaculation is relatively rare.”

Instead, the most common type of premature ejaculation lasts anywhere from one to three minutes into sex, and happens when a guy finishes too soon–and that “too soon” part is totally up to you and your partner.

Basically, if you feel you finish so fast that you don’t get enough out of sex and you feel disappointed in yourself or are worried your partner isn’t getting enough out of sex, you may be experiencing premature ejaculation.

Why does premature ejaculation happen?

The “whys” of premature ejaculation are definitely a source of contention in the medical community: while once it was considered a purely psychological problem, more research is coming out to suggest that a combination of mental and physical factors come into play with men who struggle with PE. Here’s a quick list of some of the most common causes.

  • Childhood habits and thought patterns

If you grew up in a big household like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about: when your mom’s in the living room, dad’s in the kitchen, and your siblings are in your bedroom, it’s hard to find space for some one-on-one time with you and your penis. This leads to practices like trying to finish as fast as possible during masturbation in order to not get caught, and essentially trains your brain and body to view ejaculation as a race.

Similarly, a lot of us carry feelings of sexual repression or guilt: whether your parents were extremely religious, awkward, or just anti-sexuality in general, you may harbor some unhealthy feelings towards sex that are subconsciously telling you to “get it over with” when you’re trying to finish.

You may have some repressed feelings of shame or guilt that are keeping you from being sexually healthy and happy.

  • Relationship issues

If you only have problems with PE with one particular partner, premature ejaculation can be caused by relationship issuesthere may be interpersonal issues to blame. Ask yourself some questions: does your partner make you feel belittled, are they verbally or physically abusive, do they have extremely high expectations for you, or is something just not “right” between you two? Make sure to sort these issues out before coming into the bedroom: While sex can be a healing experience, it’s important to be intimate with someone only when you know your consciences are both clear and there’s no bad energy between the two of you.

But don’t stress over this one. A lot of men jump straight to the conclusion that their PE must mean they’re cosmically fated not to be with their partner, and that’s just plain silly. All we’re trying to say here is that if you have a significant issue with your partner, working those things out will lead to better sex, and may make it easier for you to last longer.

Stress is also a common trigger for premature ejaculation.

  • Generalized anxiety

Unfortunately, PE can be a vicious cycle sometimes: you feel embarrassed when you finish too early, and because of that embarrassment, you may feel anxious when it comes time to have sex again, causing you to finish too early or lose your erection.

This is probably the toughest cause of PE to treat, but it’s definitely doable: keep reading to learn how.

  • Physical factors

Because PE can be a symptom of several medical issues, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor to make sure your PE isn’t just a symptom of a different medical issue.

Things like abnormal hormone levels, abnormal reflex activity of the ejaculatory system, thyroid problems, prostate or urethra infections, or nerve damage can all be culprits when it comes to figuring out why you’re finishing too soon.

Again, don’t stress over these: most of the conditions that cause PE as a symptom are nothing too serious, but it never hurts to get yourself checked out.

Why is premature ejaculation a problem?

Now that you’ve seen some of the most common causes of premature ejaculation, let’s look at some of the misconceptions you may have about its consequences (here’s a hint: it’s much less about other people, and much more about you).

So, before we get to the actual consequences, let’s address the elephant in the room when it comes to men suffering from PE.

First, here’s what’s not a consequence: your partner thinking you’re worthless.

the effects of premature ejaculationUnfortunately, our society has a bad habit of equating guys with their sexual prowess, i.e. “if a guy can’t make you orgasm he’s worthless”, “if a guy can’t wash laundry on his ab muscles, he’s worthless”, and especially, “if a guy finishes too early, he’s worthless”.

Let’s go ahead a nip this one in the bud: your self-worth does not come from how well you perform in bed–in fact, the whole idea of sex as “performance” is really silly.

Human sexuality is super diverse, and chances are, your partner is also dealing with a whole host of issues outside of her control (because unfortunately, you know that whole “society tells me I’m worth as much as my sexual skills” thing? That’s super common for women as well).

If your partner expresses concern at how soon you finish, gently asks you what she can do to make the problem better, or asks how you two can work on the problem together, perfect! That’s the type of woman you want to be with.

But if your partner is mean, bullies you about your PE, and demands you change, then that’s a huge red flag (and also pretty statistically rare: see the study below).

How concerned are women about PE?

Unless your partner has specified otherwise, chances are, she’s probably not as concerned about your PE as you are. According to a study by the Psychology Department at the University of New Brunswick, women generally saw premature ejaculation as less of a problem than their partners did, and reported no significant loss of contentment in their relationship when their partner had EP (Ejaculatio Praecox). The men who were surveyed reported much higher feelings of dissatisfaction with their sex lives when they had EP.

So what does dispelling this myth mean?

It means that in order to have a healthy sex life, you need to stop focusing on how you’re “disappointing” your partner, because it’s not as big of a deal to her as you think. By constantly beating yourself up, you’re creating a cycle of anxiety that contributes to more EP. It also means that when you’re trying to beat premature ejaculation, remember: you’re doing this for yourself, so that you can have a healthier sex life.

Also, just as a disclaimer: don’t take this as permission to not care about how your partner feels when it comes to sex. Their concerns and issues are valid, and everyone’s different. If your partner respectfully communicates to you that she has a problem with your PE (and again, this is statistically rare), then you have to accept that and understand that it’s just life, and don’t be discouraged: there are plenty of ways to treat PE.

But, there can definitely be consequences if you don’t treat or learn how to manage your premature ejaculation.

Because humans are inherently sexual, we naturally desire fulfilling sex. And the blunt truth of it is that ejaculating prematurely can prevent that in some men. So not treating your PE can cause a litany of disorders and annoyances. According to the European Association of Urology, consistent premature ejaculation can cause these unwanted symptoms:

  • Loss of confidence

            Sometimes those feelings we were talking about in our last section–not feeling adequate, feeling like you’re letting down your partner, etc–can take a toll on you.

You can start feeling like you’re not good enough. While it’s not true in the slightest, it’s natural for the human mind to go there, especially if we’re already prone to issues with self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Interpersonal difficulty

Knowing that you suffer from EP can make dating and courting new sexual partners very tough. Because you have this recurring self-doubt and anxiety about your sexual performance. you may feel awkward and unable to really express yourself to a potential date.

  • Mental distress

This one’s kind of self explanatory: living with EP sucks. It can make you sad, upset, anxious, angry, etc.

  • Anxiety

If you don’t treat your premature ejaculation and learn how to manage it, it might mean anxiety for you every time you enter the bedroom: wondering whether you’ll “make it” this time or not can become a prominent question in your mind, distracting you from sex (and guess what this leads to? Finishing too quickly).

  • Embarrassment

Although if you’ve made it this far in the article you know that women don’t care as much about PE as men do, it can still be embarrassing when you finish too soon. It’s a natural reaction.

  • Depression

In severe cases, all of these things can lead to depression: not feeling like dating is even worth it, questioning why you need to have sex in the first place, and feeling like you just want to give up may happen.

But don’t worry! There are lots of ways to help fix PE. Read on for some tips.

Treatments

Now that I’ve probably gotten you all freaked out again with what to do against premature ejaculationthat list of what can happen if you don’t treat your PE (sorry!), take a few deep breaths, find your center, and relax. Us guys have been finishing too soon since forever, and plenty of men before you have passed down some wisdom for fixing the problem. It’s not too difficult, and with some patience, you’ll get there (or, you’ll get there later!).

Speaking of relaxing…take some deep breaths

According to Dr. Laura Berman, one of the best ways to last longer is to control your breathing. Basically, some men’s PE can be blamed on too high of a heart rate, over-excitement, and super-high libido levels (which might explain why you finish faster when your partner looks really good). To counteract this, Berman suggests mastering your breathing patterns. By forcing yourself to slow down and take longer, deeper breaths, you stop your body from getting too close too soon.

When you’re not having sex, try this: every once in a while (sitting at your office desk, stuck in traffic, whatever), practice taking slow, deep breaths. I won’t give you a formula, because that kind of defeats the purpose: just find out what feels good to you. Continue doing this for a few minutes and see how your body reacts–you should feel calmer, more focused, and less stressed.

When you are having sex, try this: when you feel like you’re building too close to an orgasm, stop taking short, shallow breaths, and focus on those deep, long, slow breaths. It’ll help cool your body down and hopefully keep you from finishing too soon.

Experiment.

Bet you’ve never had masturbation as a homework assignment, huh? Well now you do. Don’t treat your body like a pump-n-go: find out what stimulates you and what does less for you. Figuring out your own boundaries will help you during sex: if you figure out what positions, motions, or areas immediately make you finish, then you’ll know to avoid them when you’re having sex.

Practice the “stop and start” method as well: while you’re masturbating and you feel you’re about to finish, stop all sensation. Wait till you’ve cooled down. Once you’re cool again, start back up. Not only will this make your final orgasm way better, it also gives you a better idea of where your limits are, and when you should pull out to switch positions or take a break when you’re having sex.

Squeeze.

There are two ways squeezing can help put off your orgasm: Kegels, and manipulating your penis. Thought Kegels were only for women? Nope! Kegels are actively engaging your PC muscles, which men have in the same area that women do–it’s just obviously covered by different stuff. To figure out where your PC muscle is, try stopping when you’re peeing (obviously it’s okay if you can’t fully stop). The muscle that you used to try to stop is your PC muscle. Working that muscle out on a daily basis (try 3 reps of 10 once a day) will help strengthen it, so that when you feel you’re about to finish, you can Kegel your way back to safety.

The other squeezy method is really simple: when you’re masturbating and you feel you’re about to cum, try squeezing just under the head of your penis. It’s a little “trigger” area that can completely reduce the urge in some men. Play around, see what works, and if you’re confident in that skill, show your partner how to do it in order to prolong your orgasm during sex.

Address any underlying issues you may have.

If you read the section above on “childhood issues and trauma” and thought, “yeah, that’s me”, then don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. If your PE has been a constant throughout your life and you feel it may stem from some deeper issues you have about sex, there’s no shame in going to someone for professional help. Better sooner than later!

Need help with dealing with your premature ejaculation? Check out this article with excercises and tips on delaying your ejaculation.

Mark Meyers

Mark is founder and sexcoach at Sexual Improvements. "Anyone can have an awesome sexlife with the right information!"

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