What is Premature Ejaculation?

what is premature ejaculation

Believe it or not, premature ejaculation can happen to anyone—and for all kinds of reasons. If it’s happening to you or your partner and you’re looking for answers, you’ve come to the right spot. 

In this guide, we’ll answer all your questions (and we’ll likely answer a little more, too). So let’s get right to it.

The Basics of Premature Ejaculation 

Before we dive into the specifics of why it happens, we want to cover the basics of exactly what is premature ejaculationjust so there’s no confusion. Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates sooner than he and his partner would prefer. Roughly 1 in 3 men report experiencing premature, uncontrolled ejaculation at some point during their sexual intercourse experiences, so it’s a common issue that happens often. 

Typically, rapid ejaculation will occur within one minute or less of vaginal penetration. If you’re experiencing premature ejaculation, first and foremost, know that you’re not alone. Being proactive by knowing the symptoms and causes can help guide you in the right direction toward treatment options. 

That’s why we’re here, after all.

Classifications of Premature Ejaculation

When discussing what is premature ejaculation, the condition can be broken down into two categories: lifelong (primary) and acquired (secondary). Keep in mind, some men experience periods of both normal ejaculation and premature ejaculation. 

Lifelong Premature Ejaculation

Lifelong Premature Ejaculation refers to premature ejaculation that has occurred for your whole life in all (or nearly all) of your sexual relationships.

Acquired Premature Ejaculation 

Acquired Premature Ejaculation develops after you’ve already had sexual encounters that occur without ejaculation issues.

Symptoms of Premature Ejaculation 

Premature ejaculation can feel different for everyone and can come on for a variety of reasons. The key symptoms of premature ejaculation include:

  • Ejaculation that often occurs with little sexual stimulation
  • Ejaculation that occurs with little control
  • Decreased sexual pleasure due to lack of control over ejaculation
  • Feelings of guilt or frustration

What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

Now that we’ve covered how it’s defined, let’s talk about what causes premature ejaculation. Although the exact cause of premature isn’t known, it can often be broken down into psychological and biological causes.

Psychological Causes of Premature Ejaculation

Underlying psychological problems can also impact your sexual relationships and lead to premature ejaculation. In many cases, men who have experienced premature ejaculation become anxious that they’ll experience it again. This performance anxiety can lead to recurring premature ejaculation. Additional psychological factors include:

  • Early sexual experiences
  • Sexual abuse
  • Depression and anxiety
  • History of erectile dysfunction 
  • Poor self-esteem or body image
  • Being anxious or nervous about premature ejaculation 
  • Relationship problems 
  • Feelings of guilt that can lead you to rush through sexual experiences

Biological Causes of Premature Ejaculation

There are a handful of biological causes that can lead to premature ejaculation. These can occur alongside psychological factors—or they can lead to psychological factors and increase the overall risk of premature ejaculation. These biological factors include:

  • Abnormal hormone levels
  • Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
  • Inflammation and infection of the prostate or urethra
  • Certain Inherited traits that cause physical abnormalities 

Complications of Premature Ejaculation 

Fertility Problems

If couples are trying to have children, premature ejaculation can prove to be a problem (if ejaculation is not occurring intravaginally). 

Relationship Issues

One of the most common issues associated with premature ejaculation is relationship problems with your partner. If sexual dissatisfaction is occurring as a result of rapid ejaculation, this can lead to performance anxiety and stress.

Frustration and Depression

Premature ejaculation can lead to feelings of frustration and depression. It can also lead to a lack of sexual intimacy, which can affect overall self-esteem and feelings of connectivity. 

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Treatment Options for Premature Ejaculation 

Premature ejaculation is often treated with behavioral therapy, counseling, topical anesthetics, and medication. Some other techniques—like utilizing the right condoms or implementing devices for erectile dysfunction—can also be helpful.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is one approach to treating premature ejaculation. There are a few different methods to experiment with if you’re thinking of exploring behavioral therapy.

“The Squeeze” Technique 

A popular technique is referred to as “the squeeze” technique. With this premature ejaculation treatment method, a man will stop sexual intercourse when he feels that he is going to orgasm. Either the man or his partner will then squeeze the shaft of the penis, just below the head, between the thumb and two fingers. This light pressured squeeze will be applied for roughly 20 seconds and then released. After this, sexual activity can resume. 

This technique can be repeated as often as necessary and the good news is, through delaying ejaculation with the squeeze, the man is able to take control of his ejaculation. Although this specific type of behavioral therapy requires work from both partners, it’s been shown to help between 60% to 90% of men with premature ejaculation. 

Masturbation Before Sex 

Masturbating before sex is another technique that men incorporate when treating premature ejaculation. In some cases, masturbating an hour or two hours before sexual intercourse can decrease the chances of premature ejaculation happening. 

Other Types of Sexual Play

In certain situations, your healthcare provider may suggest avoiding sexual intercourse and instead, focusing on other types of sexual play. In doing so, the pressure is often removed from the act of sex itself (once you begin having sex again), and you’re able to hold off from ejaculating too soon.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

For some men, a weak pelvic floor may be the answer as to what causes premature ejaculation. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help to strengthen your muscles and improve your sexual performance. To pinpoint these muscles, you’ll want to stop urinating midstream. Then, tighten the muscles that help to prevent you from releasing gas. It seems easy enough, but repeating these exercises and perfecting your technique while you sit, stand, or walk, can be incredibly beneficial.

Topical Anesthetics 

Anesthetic creams and sprays are often used for premature ejaculation treatment. These creams or sprays contain a numbing agent like benzocaine, lidocaine, or prilocaine. They’re typically applied to the penis roughly 10 to 15 minutes before sex. Once applied, they’ll reduce sensation and help to delay ejaculation. However, if you’re considering going this route, keep in mind that topical anesthetics do have potential side effects. Some men and women report decreased sexual pleasure and loss of sensitivity. 


Because condoms decrease the sensitivity of the penis, they can help delay ejaculation. Certain condoms may also come with a numbing agent or may be made of thicker latex which will also help offset penis sensitivity and decrease the risk of premature ejaculation.  

Oral Medications 

Certain oral medications may work to delay orgasm and therefore, may be suggested by your healthcare provider as premature ejaculation treatment. None of these drugs are specifically approved by the FDA to be used for premature ejaculation and they may be prescribed either alone or in combination with other treatments. Although, consult with your doctor for more natural remedies in place of medication to treat this type of sexual dysfunction.


One side effect of antidepressants is a delayed orgasm. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used to delay orgasm and premature ejaculation. It’s important to note that antidepressants can come with a range of side effects, like nausea and decreased libido.


Analgesics, like Tramadol, are sometimes prescribed when SSRIs do not work. Side effects include delayed ejaculation, but it can also lead to other negative side effects like drowsiness and nausea. 

Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors

Medications that treat erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, can also help treat erectile dysfunction. These medications can also create negative side effects like indigestion and headache. For these reasons, you should speak to a doctor about the effects of ED pills.

Psychological Therapy

For many men, knowing what causes premature ejaculation is a step toward the right treatment plan. In some situations, psychological therapy is beneficial, as it allows individuals to discuss their relationships and experiences. This can help individuals better deal with the root cause of their premature ejaculation and the impact it has on their sex life. 

In addition, visiting a sex therapist with your partner can help rekindle a bond of closeness and intimacy (which can often be lost when disconnection occurs as a result of premature ejaculation). 

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Want to read more about how Eddie boosts sexual performance and confidence, reconnects couples, and reduces stress? Visit our testimonials page. Knowing what it is and exactly what causes premature ejaculation is the first step. The next step is being proactive over your sex life and getting your control back. 

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1. Premature Ejaculation: Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed December 5th, 2020.

2. Premature Ejaculation. Harvard Health Publishing. URL. Accessed December 5th, 2020.

3. Causes and Risk Factors of Premature Ejaculation. URL. Accessed December 5th, 2020.

4. Premature Ejaculation: Diagnosis and Treatment. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed December 5th, 2020.