What is Premature Ejaculation and how can Sexual Stamina be Increased?
Admitting that you have a problem with your sexual stamina can feel shameful, embarrassing, and downright degrading.
We are talking about sexual performance here, specifically, premature ejaculation. This can be a clinically diagnosed disorder that affects up to 20% of the male population around the world (Porst et al, 2007)
This isn’t just your own private shame; men around the world are suffering in silence by the millions.
To a doctor, you will be considered to have this disorder if you exhibit the following (from the American Psychiatric Association):
- Undesired ejaculation within 1-2 minutes of vaginal penetration
- Has been occurring for more than 6 months and occurs every time or most times that he has sexual intercourse.
- Is a cause of distress for the individual and/or his partner.
- The cause of the sexual dysfunction is not better explained by other factors such as medications, psychological issues, or severe relationship stress.
Is it all in your head?
There still is debate within the medical community whether the causes (and therefore, treatments) of premature ejaculation are psychological (in your head) or physiological (factors within your body like hormones).
There is no doubt that PE is related to significant and negative psychological issues in men. Determining whether the psychological issues are stemming from the low self-esteem, high anxiety, and poor outlook that PE causes or if the psychological issues themselves are causing PE is indeed a complicated process.
Psychological treatment is one option that is available to help patients with PE. The goals of many psychotherapeutic treatments are (Althof 2006):
- learning techniques to control and/or delay onset of orgasm (ex. the Fleshlight STU);
- gaining confidence in sexual performance and sexual abilities;
- reducing performance anxiety;
- changing sexual habits and schedules;
- overcoming barriers to intimacy;
- fixing interpersonal issues that relate to intimacy;
- coming to terms with feelings/thoughts that interfere with sexual function and;
- bettering communication with partner
As you can see, there isn’t only one factor that will contribute to premature ejaculation. Oftentimes, one factor can be a root cause of the disorder, and another factor (such as performance anxiety) can compound the problem and make it worse.
What Kind of Treatment Should You Seek?
When you work with a Pyschologist, you will be able to dive into all of the possible root and contributing causes to your premature ejaculation.
Interestingly, for single men, individual therapy has been found to be the single most effective treatment for PE. This is likely because single men exhibit extraordinarily high levels of anxiety when entering a new relationship because of PE. Once men are able to come to terms with their dysfunction, through the help of a psychologist, they report much better outlooks on their future relationship opportunities.
For men in long term relationships who have dealt with PE for most of their lives and both partners are relatively psychologically healthy, couple’s therapy has shown to be the most effective therapy option. These partners will have open communication, be willing to work together on the problem, and, generally be more receptive to treatment.
For some men in relationships, individual therapy is more effective if there is an underlying issue that doesn’t relate to relationships. For example, a patient has been the victim of sexual assault and cannot overcome the memories of his trauma. Another time that a married man might benefit more from individual therapy is when the relationship is unhealthy, chaotic, or the partner is unwilling to cooperate or help with improving relations (Althof, 2006)
If your Partner is Suffering from Premature Ejaculation
If your partner is suffering from PE, it is important to realize how he may be feeling.
Men with PE are often afraid of their escalating sexual excitement. They fear that the more they are enjoying sex and the better it feels, that the quicker they will ejaculate.
Many men will often use visualizations in their head to otherwise occupy their thoughts to avoid escalating their sexual excitement. They will often think of things that have a negative implication or may be disgusting to think about. They may also count, do math, think of complicated problems to solve, etc. If it feels like your partner isn’t fully engrossed in your lovemaking, chances are that he isn’t and he’s trying to avoid orgasm.
There are various ways that men attempt to circumvent the effects of PE and these aren’t always healthy. Do not encourage your partner to consume alcohol (especially excessively) before intercourse as this may lead to another host of problems such as erectile dysfunction. You should also discourage your partner from attempting to use things such as desensitizing sprays or creams, or various homeopathic pills or medicine. These products will not work, especially on the long term, and can be harmful.
If your partner hasn’t yet seen a doctor about his dysfunction, you can help by remaining positive about his condition. Be understanding of his sexual needs. Be the one to suggest that a change in position or a quick break is needed. If he is open to it, introduce sex toys such as vibrators so that he can take a break and pleasure you while he regains his composure.
The first step in helping treat your premature ejaculation is talking with your partner. If you are unable or unwilling to speak with your partner, your doctor is your next resource. Your doctor will be able to refer you to a specialist that can help you increase your confidence, reduce your anxiety, and address the underlying issues that may be causing your premature ejaculation.
As mentioned above, this is a problem that affects almost 1/5th of the population. There is no need to be ashamed of your condition and nobody will think less of you because of it.
Talk to your doctor today!
Althof SE, Psychological approaches to the treatment of rapid ejaculation. The Journal of Men’s Health & Gender. 2006;3,(2):180–186. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmhg.2006.04.001
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®), Fifth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. [Ref list]
Porst H, Montorsi F, Rosen RC, et al. The Premature Ejaculation Prevalence and Attitudes (PEPA) survey: prevalence, comorbidities, and professional help-seeking. Eur Urol 2007;51:816-23; discussion 824. 10.1016/j.eururo.2006.07.004 [PubMed] [Cross Ref]