WHAT IS INVOLVED?
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.
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Premature ejaculation (PE) is quite a common male sexual dysfunction, including between 30-70% of men of all ages. Nowadays it is described as a general difficulty or inability to exercise voluntary control over ejaculation or to delay it; this lack of control generates increasing levels of frustration, stress and even fear in males negatively affecting their sexual life and, by extension, generally damages couple relations and partnerships.
If premature ejaculation is suspected, the first rule is to remember that the problem can be tackled successfully, especially if treated early. Therefore, no one should feel embarrassed or ashamed for seeking medical advice as soon as possible. Trying to live with the problem is only likely to exacerbate anxiety and psychological disturbances, resulting in worsening of the disorder. Urologists/andrologists and sexologists are the referral specialists in this case.
Premature ejaculation is a disorder linked to many risk factors. Moreover, although it is curable, at least to some degree, it’s worth remembering that some risk factors can be controlled.