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Unique Study Helps Uncover Premature Ejaculation

Most Common Male Sexual Problem Is About More Than Timing
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April 15, 2005 -- Little is known about premature ejaculation, the most common male sexual problem. But a first-of-its-kind study should help men and their partners better understand this troubling condition.

Premature ejaculation is thought to affect about 20% to 30% of men. But few men actually seek treatment, say University of Washington researchers.

Men may be too embarrassed to talk about this personal condition. So much so that experts have even considered changing its name to help ease some of the perceived stigma.

Men may not also realize that treatments -- from specific techniques to medications -- are available for premature ejaculation and may think there isn't much reason to bring it up with their doctors.

This has contributed to doctors knowing relatively little about this condition, which causes significant distress in both men and their partners.

But this new study, which uses a unique approach to understanding this condition, should help men, their partners, and doctors better recognize this problem and deal with it.

Ready, Set, Go

Researchers recruited nearly 1,600 heterosexual men and their partners through radio announcements and brochures. The couples had been together at least six months to avoid the possibility that the excitement of a new relationship might affect ejaculation time.

The couples were given a stopwatch and were told to activate it upon vaginal penetration and stop it once ejaculation occurred or withdrawal without ejaculation.

Each man also had a doctor's evaluation looking for the following criteria:

  • Persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before, on, or shortly after penetration or before the person wishes it
  • Marked distress or difficulty with relationship
  • Evaluation for possible effects of substances known to increase the likelihood of premature ejaculation, such as alcohol and narcotics

The study by Donald L. Patrick, PhD, and colleagues appears in the May issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

More than 13% of the men were identified as having premature ejaculation.

On average, ejaculation occurred three minutes after penetration in men with premature ejaculation. This was significantly faster than the other men, who lasted more than nine minutes before ejaculation.

There did appear to be some overlap in ejaculation time between the two groups.

But almost all the men without premature ejaculation lasted two minutes whereas only half of the men with the condition were able to last this long. A two-minute time period is a sensitive criteria for defining premature ejaculation, write the researchers.

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