Determining the incidence of premature ejaculation is not easy. Many men have trouble discussing the problem with their doctor, and it is difficult to establish a clinical definition of the disorder. American data reveal that more than the 30% of men under the age of 40 had experienced some form of premature ejaculation during their lifetime. The psychological impact of the disorder also varies considerably from man to man and from culture to culture: some individuals with short ejaculatory latency may not consider it a problem, while some men with normal duration of sexual intercourse may feel insufficient and ask for a medical consultation. On average, intravaginal ejaculatory latency tends to decrease over the years, but premature ejaculation appears to be more widespread in younger men, where it correlates with a greater prevalence of anxiety and perhaps less sexual experience. Secondary (or acquired) premature ejaculation is often associated with other types of disorders, in particular erectile dysfunction, performance anxiety or use of drugs and psychotropic substances. Whereas the primary or lifelong form (present from the first sexual activity) is often linked to psychological disorders, unusually early sexual experiences, family problems in childhood or stress. In both cases, the psychological effects are significantly negative in terms of distress, bother or avoidance of intimate contact. For 88% of men (with or without sexual disturbances), their partner's sexual satisfaction is extremely important. Moreover, the inability to achieve a mutually satisfactory sexual experience strongly influences the quality of life of both members of the couple. For example, a study in 2014, conducted on 1463 women from three different countries (Mexico, Italy and South Korea) showed a correlation between early ejaculation and female sexual dissatisfaction: in particular, 40% of women identified "short time between penetration and ejaculation" as the main reason for their dissatisfaction, which in the medium to long term leads to a higher chance of ending the relationship. A 2004 study analyzed the impact of premature ejaculation on the psychological wellbeing of more than 1,300 volunteers, demonstrating that they experience much less satisfaction during sexual intercourse, have a less fulfilling relationship, find it difficult to relax during intimacy and to discuss sexuality problems with their partners. The result is a strong reduction in the frequency of sexual intercourse.

Suggested readings

  • C Carson1 and K Gunn2; Premature ejaculation: definition and prevalence; International Journal of Impotence Research (2006) 18, S5–S13.
  • Laumann, E., Paik, A., Rosen, R.C., Sexual dysfunction in the United States: prevalence and predictors, JAMA 1999.
  • Rowland, D., Perelman, M., Althof, S., Barada, J., McCullough, A., Bull, S., Jamieson, C., Ho, K.F., Self-reported premature ejaculation and aspects of sexual functioning and satisfaction, J. Sex. Med. 2004.
  • Burri, A., Giuliano, F., McMahon, C., Porst, H., Female Partner’s Perception of Premature Ejaculation and Its Impact on Relationship Breakups, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction, J. Sex. Med. 2014; 11: pp. 2243-2225.
  • Burri, A., Graziottin, A., Cross-cultural Differencese in Women’s Sexuality and Their Perception and Impact of Premature Ejaculation, Urology (2015).
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