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Ejaculation which occurs more quickly than a man and his partner would wish, causing problems in a sexual relationship.
The usual problem is that a man will come during penetration itself or very soon afterwards.
It's a very common problem — in fact, it's the most common sexual dysfunction affecting men.
About one in three men of all ages suffers from premature ejaculation.
It's very rarely caused by a physical problem.
The most common causes include stress, anxiety about sex (perhaps because of a fear of pregnancy, a sexually transmitted infection or failing to perform adequately), relationship difficulties and the lasting effects of teenage sexual experiences which had to be quick to avoid detection.
There's not much you can do to prevent it but it may be helpful to find ways of coping with stress and resolving difficulties with your partner.
You should see your GP if the problem is persistent and causing you anxiety or affecting your relationship. The GP may be able to advise you about self-help measures or refer you to a specialist clinic or a qualified sex therapist.
This is normally based on two techniques:
An old treatment that is still sometimes used is local anaesthetic gel or spray applied to the penis. The idea behind this is to reduce penile sensation. Although this works in some men it is not always effective and some men are allergic to the treatment. Another problem is that the gel may be transferred to your partner during sex and anaesthetise her sensitive parts. In some cases, doctors will prescribe particular antidepressant drugs that, as a side-effect, slow down your body's progress towards ejaculation. The problems with this treatment are that you end up taking powerful medication designed to treat a completely different condition and that the drugs don't always work anyway and may have unpleasant side-effects. They are best reserved for use when sex therapy has failed to solve the problem or where the man has religious reasons not to stimulate his penis by hand.
You could try these short-term remedies (although they won't necessarily tackle the underlying problem):
Good. With determination and persistence, it's possible to develop good ejaculatory control.
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Date of last review 08/04/14
Date of next review 08/04/16