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Men's Health

Sex: Fact and Fiction

What’s the average penis size? How fast is premature ejaculation? Exactly where is the G-spot? Grab a ruler and a stopwatch as the experts sort sex myths from the facts.
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Just the Facts on the G-Spot continued...

How Long, Part 2: How Premature Is Premature Ejaculation?

The possibilities for exploring a woman's erogenous zones may be tremendously exciting -- which leads to another source of sex myth and male anxiety: How long can I last? And how long should I be able to last?

Premature ejaculation is "the most common form of sexual dysfunction in younger men" according to Ira Sharlip, and its prevalence is around 20% to 30% in men of all ages.

The medical method of determining premature ejaculation is called "intravaginal ejaculatory latency time" (IELT), a stopwatch-timed duration measured from the beginning of vaginal penetration until ejaculation occurs. However, Sharlip adds, this quantitative measure doesn't tell the whole story: "There are men who ejaculate within a minute but say that they don't have premature ejaculation. And then on other end of spectrum, there are patients who are able to last for 20 minutes, and they say they do have premature ejaculation."

In other words, the definition of "premature" may be largely in the eye (or mind) of the beholder, and depends on a man's sexual satisfaction and his perception of his ability to control when ejaculation occurs.

If you just can't wait for the numbers, though, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found "a median IELT of 5.4 minutes."

Ian Kerner says a common cutoff time used to define premature ejaculation is two minutes, but he adds that many of the men he works with "are not guys who can last a few minutes; they're having orgasms during foreplay, or immediately upon penetrating. They have a hard time lasting past 30 seconds."

But a quick trigger is normal, says Kerner. "Men were wired to ejaculate quickly -- and stressful situations make them ejaculate even more quickly. It's been important to the human race. If guys took an hour to ejaculate, we'd be a much smaller planet."

Sex therapists and physicians offer a number of techniques that can help men manage their anxiety and prolong their time to ejaculation. Several drugs -- like some antidepressants and topical creams  -- have been prescribed by doctors to extend time to ejaculation.

And, contrary to the common perception that distraction or decreasing stimulation is the answer (slow down, think about baseball), some say that giving in to sensation can help address the issue as well. "The way to learn [to last longer] is by getting used to intense stimulation," says Prosterman, "to increase the frequency of intercourse, and feel every sensation of being inside your partner and enjoy it."

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