Is there any proven help for premature ejaculation?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Premature ejaculation
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Sexual health experts say don't rule out behavioral therapy for PE.

Two to five percent of men may suffer from premature ejaculation (PE), but whether behavioral or other therapies work, remains questionable. Still, experts say men shouldn't rule out the potential that treatment will help improve your sex life.

According to a study review from Cochrane researchers, co-authored by Stanley Althof of the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, even more men feel they ejaculate too soon after vaginal penetration. The definition of PE is orgasm within a minute after getting started.

Althof, executive director of the sexual health center says, “If you ask men themselves if they have premature ejaculation, you’re likely to get 20 to 30 percent who say they have it,”

Treatments offered include antidepressants, numbing agents topically applied and behavioral therapy that focuses on trying to teach men distraction techniques that might help them last longer during vaginal penetration.

Medications offer some help

According to the review, the antidepressant drug Celexa might help, combined with behavioral therapy, and compared to the just taking the medication. Other antidepressants such as Paxil and Zoloft are often prescribed by physicians for PE, and may help, but come with side effects that are sometimes intolerable.

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In one study, the drug Thorazine, used to treat schizophrenia, helped men who also engaged in behavioral therapy compared to just using the drug.

Topical anesthetics for premature ejaculation may be undesirable

Anesthetics like Lidocaine number the penis to help delay orgasm, but some men find them undesirable. …”because they must apply the cream 15 minutes before intercourse and use a condom, said Ege Serefoglu, a urologist at Kiziltepe State Hospital, in Turkey. He says…”some men do not like the treatment.” Serfoglu is not affiliated with the study.

What about behavioral therapy?

Teaching men to focus mentally and use various positions during intercourse to delay orgasm was found to help in only one study.

Serefoglu explains, “It’s like looking at a speedometer. We teach men to hover in the midrange of excitement and learn to slow down or speed up when they notice where they are.”

Still, the researchers say therapy for premature ejaculation may be worth the $100 to $125 a session investment if it improves your sex life. Even though the studies aren’t conclusive that it works, Althof says “it probably will”, but it may take up to eight sessions.

Men who feel distressed about inability to delay orgasm should have a physical exam. No one knows what causes premature ejaculation. It may come from anxiety, genetics, prostate disease or a malfunction in the orgasm reflex. By definition, PE is ejaculation that happens within one minute after vaginal penetration. Still…many men (and women) might be dissatisfied, even when premature ejaculation criteria isn't specifically met.

Image credit: morguefile

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