The (Too) Fast Lane
Breaking the Pattern
Laundry List of Causes
Behind the inability to endure can be many factors. Some men ejaculate too
quickly due to an innate "reflex" or physiological predisposition of
the nervous system. Sometimes, too-fast ejaculation can be a side effect of
taking certain drugs -- even over-the-counter ones such as cold pills. Stress
on the job or in a relationship can set up a guy to climax too fast, too.
In other men, the condition is caused by a serious psychological condition such
as obsessive-compulsive disorder, or the result of a physical problem, such as
a urinary tract infection. Still others haven't learned to manage their bodies'
reactions properly during sexual arousal.
Solving the Problem
When the cause is physical, the treatment can be simple and swift. Such was
the case with a 31-year-old man who was receiving counseling from Anthony
Jerome Brown, CSW, a New York social worker. The man told Brown he had an
infected prostate gland (prostatitis) and had been given the antibiotic Cipro.
What he hadn't told the physician who diagnosed the infection -- but did tell
Brown -- was that he also suffered from premature ejaculation.
After taking the antibiotic twice daily for a month, his three-year bout with
the ejaculation problem was over. Brown wrote up the case report for the
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, suggesting that more research
might be conducted on how often the infectious condition and premature
ejaculation might coexist.
Other medical treatments are even simpler, says Pryor. He and others have had
success prescribing antidepressants, taking advantage of a known side effect of
the drugs to balance the problem: in some men they can block ejaculation. The
most thoroughly studied of these, Pryor says, is Anafranil. A man can take a
single dose 12 hours before planning to have sex, he says, and "you don't
have to take it continuously." But it doesn't work for everyone,
If an antidepressant doesn't do the job, Pryor recommends other measures.
"Condoms can help a lot, too," he says. "They dull the
sensation." Lidocaine jelly, a topical anesthetic available by
prescription, can be used to numb the skin of the penis. But that numbness can
be transferred to the partner and quickly zap the romance, he says.
If a man focuses too much on his partner's reactions -- thus ignoring his own
-- Pryor often will recommend sensual awareness training to learn to better
keep his state of arousal under control and last longer. (Forget the old
"think about football" distraction. This works better, Pryor
Some remedies that have been mentioned for years are often not effective, or
not effective on their own without some behavioral retraining, too, says Metz.
The squeeze technique -- in which the man's partner squeezes the tip of the
penis when the man is on the verge of orgasm -- has limited effectiveness, Metz
and Pryor say. And a pacing strategy known as the stop-start technique is best
used with other techniques, Metz says.