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Techniques for treating premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) affects around 30 million men in the United States. This condition (which I prefer to call early ejaculation as it feels less derogatory) occurs when a man reaches climax too soon.

There are obviously many definitions of what “too soon” might be. Masters and Johnson proposed that “too soon” should be determined by whether or not there was enough time for the female partner to achieve her satisfaction. For many obvious reasons, this is not an adequate litmus. More recent research has determined that the average man takes approximately 7.5 minutes to achieve orgasm (the average woman takes almost 20 minutes by the way). The current clinical understanding is that if a man is unable to last as long as this average, and it is causing him personal distress and negatively affecting his sex life, he may fit the definition of early ejaculation.

Early ejaculation can occur for many different reasons, but for most men, even if there is a physical causal factor, stress and performance anxiety are also somehow related. Sadly, this anxiety can often complicate a man’s sexual response. The man becomes so concerned with lasting “long enough” that he loses his ability to be in the moment and enjoy the activity. As a result, he becomes twice as stressed and his ability to control his sexual response decreases.

Although we can’t always trace early ejaculation back to its roots, the good news is that the research in this field has increased considerably. There are clinically proven training techniques that a sex therapist can provide in the form of exercises to do at home which increase what is known as “ejaculatory control.” Medical options have historically not been too optimal for this population. Some doctors prescribe antidepressants to men with early ejaculation, taking advantage of what is a normally unfortunate side effect of dampened sexual response, but many men are resistant to the idea of taking antidepressants for early ejaculation or are uncomfortable with the other side effects.

However, a new treatment is now available for early ejaculation that was recently approved by the FDA and is currently being tested in clinical trials. Promescent is an over the counter topical medication that is applied to the penis ten minutes before sexual activity, and it is designed to help a man to achieve better ejaculatory control through nerve desensitization. However, unlike other topical medications for early ejaculation, Promescent’s formulation allows the medication to penetrate beneath the skin to where the nerve endings that control ejaculation are located. This means he and his partner still have full sexual sensation.

While medical advances like this one are extremely promising, medication alone is not enough. It is crucial that men communicate with their partners. Tension in the bedroom will not only complicate his sexual response, but it will also detract from a couple’s intimacy and their relationship. Talking about early ejaculation might feel awkward at first, but rest assured that almost all men experience this issue at some time or another.

Whether you choose to go the behavioral training, medication or combined rout, communication is always a must. As is taking things slow and staying in the moment. Slow down when you feel yourself reaching the point of no return, and linger in foreplay as long as possible. Remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination!

Dr. Berman is a New York Times best-selling author
and her television shows,
“In The Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” and “The Dr. Laura Berman Show,” are featured on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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