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Updated 29 January 2009

Premature ejaculation

Apart from impotence, nothing torpedoes a bloke’s self-confidence like coming too soon.

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Apart from impotence, nothing torpedoes a bloke’s self-confidence like coming too soon.

In the 50s, experiments to determine the average time a man could 'do it'before climaxing suggested that around 30% of men ejaculate within one minute of penetration. About 60% ejaculate within five minutes. About 5% last about 15 minutes.

Just how long you take depends on many factors. Some men find that they come quickly the first time they ejaculate in a bout of lovemaking. Later the same night they might take much longer to climax.

Most medical types who discuss this sort of thing agree that the term premature ejaculation can simply be defined as coming sooner than you’d like to.

In a few cases, premature ejaculation may be a symptom of some neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis, but in the vast majority of cases it’s simply a matter of conditioning. Many men have become used to “getting it over with”. Like any habit, that can be relearned.

Couples should treat this as something to manage together, rather than “his problem,” or it may become self-perpetuating. It’s also important not to regard sex as a marathon. Many women feel that taking ages to come does more for the male ego than the female libido, and point out that they’d far rather have some steamy, weapons-grade foreplay than an hour of thrusting.

Still, coming within eight seconds can put a damper on things, so if you have a chronically short fuse, you can take some basic precautions on your own, such as masturbating before making love. Simply making love more often might solve the problem. Few men would find a problem with this sort of therapy. Some men also find that a sudden, deep breath helps block the ejaculatory reflex.

Learning to use your pelvic floor muscles – the ones you use to pinch off the flow of urine – may also help. You can pinch these dozens of times a day to strengthen them. One of the more successful – and enjoyable – forms of therapy involves getting your partner to stroke you until you nearly reach orgasm, then stopping to let your erection subside. She repeats this several times before finishing you off. You can do this on your own, but it’s more effective with a partner.

If these measures don’t work, chat to your doctor.

(William Smook, Health24, updated July 2012)

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