Premature ejaculation is normally a cause for embarrassment and frustration for both men and women during sexual intercourse. It occurs when a man experiences an orgasm and ejaculates semen before the penis can penetrate the vagina or shortly after doing so. The common consensus for the definition of “premature” in this context is usually within one minute of the beginning of sexual activity or the arousal stage.
Premature ejaculation can also end up occurring unexpectedly and at any time during intercourse, where the man is unable to control or delay his reaction. It is a very common type of sexual dysfunction that usually causes the sex lives of many couples to suffer, as the men end up feeling embarrassed and the women are often left irritated. Research has revealed information on the scientific mechanism behind premature ejaculation and may help men in dealing with this condition.
Causes of Premature Ejaculation
Many experts are still unclear as to what the exact cause of premature ejaculation is. It has long been thought to be a psychological phenomenon, but scientists have discovered several possible genetic links and physiological circumstances that could be connected to ejaculation. Aberrant levels of hormones and neurotransmitters may play a role in inducing higher sensitivity in the penis.
An infection or inflammation in the urethra could also have an effect, as can any nerve damage or previous physical trauma in the penis, scrotum, anal region, or the skin surrounding these parts. Studies have shown that many men who have premature ejaculation have had blood relatives that have suffered similarly. It is also theorized that drugs can cause ejaculation as a side-effect. Many scientists still agree that the leading causes behind PE are psychological, such as in having performance anxiety, issues with aggression, or unresolved emotional feelings toward sex.
Symptoms Premature Ejaculation
The immediate symptoms of premature ejaculation occur in two stages – first in emission, then expulsion. In the emission phase, the seminal fluids from the vas deferens and prostate gland are deposited in the posterior urethra. During expulsion, the urethra experiences muscular contractions and relaxes after the fluid is released. PE may be lifelong, which occurs for all sexual encounters, including the first, or acquired, wherein the male was previously able to engage in intercourse with no difficulties. More difficult cases of premature ejaculation involve ejaculation occurring even in masturbation.
PE leaves many men feeling depressed or ashamed, as they perceive it as a sign of failure for their manhood. Their female partners are also left sexually unsatisfied. The lack of vaginal penetration also presents difficulties for couples trying to get pregnant, while unexpected ejaculation may result in unwanted pregnancies.
Diagnosing Premature Ejaculation
Many males are too hesitant or embarrassed to open up about such intimate physical problems. Because there are no definitive physiological bases behind premature ejaculation, it is also difficult for physicians to distinguish between PE as a disorder or as a single bout of sexual problems. To make an effective diagnosis, the male has to be open with his physician about his health and sexual history. He may also have to talk his partner about their sexual matters. Doctors usually take the blood and urine samples to check for any infections. If coupled with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation may be a sign of testosterone imbalance.
In cases that relate more to psychological matters, the doctor may prescribe the patient to seek out a therapist to handle his issues instead. In these situations, the physicians differentiate between global ejaculation, which occurs in all sexual contexts, and situational premature ejaculation, which only occurs in certain situations or with certain partners. Situational PE may be a sign of relational dispute between the man and his partner.
Recommended treatments and medications
Because premature ejaculation is perceived mostly as a psychological phenomenon, counseling and psychiatric therapy are the most common forms of treatment. The goal of the therapist is to get to the psychological or emotional root of the male’s problems that may be driving his PE. Alternatively, there are also several medications that have the biological effect of delaying climax. Putting off ejaculation is a side-effect of many antidepressants, such as Anafranil, Prozac, and Lustral. These drugs are only advisable if prescribed by a doctor, however, as they can have several other side-effects that are harmful and undesirable. Ointments and gels can dampen the penis and prevent any immediate sensations. “Long love” condoms are laced with these gels, though they have still been known to permit a few sensations. Constriction devices worn throughout the day near the head of the penis have been theorized to reduce sensitivity.
Physical techniques during sexual intercourse
There are a few techniques and practices men can use during sexual activity to delay ejaculation. Some try thinking of non-sexual thoughts to “turn off” their sex drive and avoid early excitement. The stop and start method during intercourse involves exciting the male until he nears orgasm, and then stopping stimulation for only 30 seconds before continuing again in cycles. Another similar technique involves the man’s partner gently squeezing the tip of his penis also for 30 seconds then continuing with stimulation before squeezing again. Couples are advised to regularly practice these methods to gradually condition the male to control his ejaculation. Many males are able to successfully delay ejaculation for up to an hour after months of practicing these techniques.
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