Early ejaculation: what are the facts?

12 Jul 2021

Early ejaculation or rapid ejaculation are terms often used to describe premature ejaculation (PE). It’s a very common issue that affects nearly one man in three. And yet PE remains quite a taboo subject, so much so that only two thirds of affected men care to seek advice on it.

Premature ejaculation: preconceived ideas vs reality

Preconceived ideas abound on the subject of premature ejaculation, which should not automatically be interpreted as a disorder.

Rapid ejaculation in sexual novices

For many newcomers to sex, or men having sex with a new partner, ejaculation happens very quickly. There’s nothing abnormal about that. It comes with the change of sexual landscape; the exceptional lack of control can simply disappear with experience. This type of rapid ejaculation isn’t a big issue unless the problem persists and creates difficulties for the affected man or his sex partner.

Failure to lead the other partner to orgasm

Various factors can stall a partner’s climax (external worries, insufficient arousal, reduced sexual pleasure, etc.). Consequently, finishing before the partner may have nothing to do with an inability to hold back ejaculation during penetration. For example, a man who offers his partner twelve good minutes of sex before ejaculating, whereas the partner only comes after fifteen minutes, cannot be considered a premature ejaculator.

Failure to last 15 or 20 minutes

An international study (1) was conducted across 5 countries and 500 different couples. It yielded a figure of roughly 5.4 minutes for the median duration of sexual intercourse (6.5 minutes among 18–30 year-olds and 4.3 minutes for people over 50). That doesn’t mean it’s abnormal for coitus to go on longer than 5 minutes. But those figures do put the idea to bed that non-premature ejaculation must take at least 15 minutes.

At what point does rapid ejaculation become a real disorder?

There is a premature ejaculation issue when three specific criteria are fulfilled:

The “timing” criterion

Ejaculation happens too quickly after sexual arousal. When ejaculation comes in the first minute of penetration, it’s “precipitative” ejaculation. When it comes during the second minute of penetration, it’s “rapid” ejaculation. In both cases, it is considered as premature ejaculation.

The “loss of control” criterion

A man finds it hard to contain his excitement and hold back ejaculation in most of his sexual experiences. It is virtually impossible for him to choose the moment he will ejaculate. It catches him unprepared and comes too early for his liking.

The “personal distress” criterion

When the premature ejaculation issue persists for a certain time, which can vary, it starts affecting the sufferer psychologically. It causes annoyance or frustration, sometimes with conjugal repercussions. This criterion more than any other makes owning the problem extremely important.

What are the different types of premature ejaculation?

Neuro-psychiatric doctor M.D. Waldinger distinguishes four types of premature ejaculation:

Primary premature ejaculation

This occurs in novices discovering their sex life and affects nearly every intercourse they have, regardless of partner or context. Ejaculation almost always comes less than a minute into the penetration.

Secondary premature ejaculation

This appears gradually or out of the blue in a man’s sex life. Before its advent, the man is able to keep his arousal under control and ejaculates in normal time. However, once secondary premature ejaculation takes hold, ejaculation time decreases significantly until it dips below 3 minutes.

Natural or isolated premature ejaculation

This is just a normal variation in the time to orgasm. It depends on the context and shows up irregularly and infrequently. The man has the impression of diminished control over the ejaculatory reflex..

Pseudo-premature ejaculation

The man reaches orgasm in normal time, often between 5 and 25 minutes. He is therefore not by definition a premature ejaculator, but despite that, he is convinced he is. Pseudo-premature ejaculation thus manifests itself as an imagined loss of control over the ejaculatory reflex.

We have so far considered premature ejaculation only from the penetrative sex angle, but it can happen in other sexual situations too. Indeed, a man might ejaculate sooner that wanted during manual foreplay or oral sex.

PE can therefore happen at various moments of the intercourse:

  • Before the penis enters the partner’s genitals, an ejaculation is “anteportal” (before the gates)
  • At the very moment of entry, an ejaculation is “simultaneous” (with the entry)
  • During the first stroke after entry, the ejaculation is “intraportal” (inside the gates)

Premature ejaculation is not an illness but a widespread sexual trouble that carries with it many preconceived ideas, beliefs, and taboos. It is therefore vital to own it and discuss it to put an end to the dramatics and be better informed.

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