Premature ejaculation occurs when a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner would like. Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint. Estimates vary, but as many as 1 out of 3 men say they experience this problem at some time.
As long as it happens infrequently, it's not cause for concern. However, you might be diagnosed with premature ejaculation if you:
Always or nearly always ejaculate within one minute of penetration
Are unable to delay ejaculation during intercourse all or nearly all of the time
Feel distressed and frustrated, and tend to avoid sexual intimacy as a result
Both psychological and biological factors can play a role in premature ejaculation. Although many men feel embarrassed talking about it, premature ejaculation is a common and treatable condition. Medications, counseling and sexual techniques that delay ejaculation — or a combination of these — can help improve sex for you and your partner.
The main symptom of premature ejaculation is the inability to delay ejaculation for more than one minute after penetration. However, the problem might occur in all sexual situations, even during masturbation.
Premature ejaculation can be classified as:
Lifelong (primary). Lifelong premature ejaculation occurs all or nearly all of the time beginning with your first sexual encounters.
Acquired (secondary). Acquired premature ejaculation develops after you've had previous sexual experiences without ejaculatory problems.
Many men feel that they have symptoms of premature ejaculation, but the symptoms don't meet the diagnostic criteria for premature ejaculation. Instead these men might have natural variable premature ejaculation, which includes periods of rapid ejaculation as well as periods of normal ejaculation.
When to see a doctor
Talk with your doctor if you ejaculate sooner than you wish during most sexual encounters. It's common for men to feel embarrassed about discussing sexual health concerns, but don't let that keep you from talking to your doctor. Premature ejaculation is a common and treatable problem.
For some men, a conversation with a doctor might help lessen concerns about premature ejaculation. For example, it might be reassuring to hear that occasional premature ejaculation is normal and that the average time from the beginning of intercourse to ejaculation is about five minutes.