Oct 28

In a global survey that was released a couple of months ago, about 10 per cent of males said that they had experienced premature ejaculation: coming too quickly is one of the commonest of all sexual problems. Not too surprisingly, especially younger men are suffering from it – as they grow older, most men will usually gain better control.

But what exactly is premature ejaculation (PE)? That’s an interesting question, as the ideas of what is ‘normal’ are differing amongst people and what doctors or therapists think is just one side of the medal after all. An American research paper stated that the average lasting time of men with PE was 1.8 minutes, while ‘normal’ men lasted an average of 7.3 minutes. However, there are men and women who are not sexually satisfied even if the man can last 5-10 minutes – and who could blame them for needing more? But according to clinical manuals, only the approximately 2.5 per cent of men who can’t last 90 seconds inside the vagina would be diagnosed with PE. Sex therapists see PE as the inability to sufficiently enjoy and play with the various levels of arousal between the start of an erection, sexual intercourse and the orgasm. Men suffering from PE are almost directly piloting towards the orgasm right from the beginning of the intercourse and have very little control over its length or intensity. In severe cases, affected men can’t have sex because they ejaculate before actually getting into the vagina.

While PE doesn’t necessarily have to be considered as a serious problem, it can make sex frustrating and even annoying for both partners. Yet, psychological pressure will often negatively affect sexual performance or even increase the problem.

Today, health professionals agree upon that PE is only caused by psychological factors, so it can usually be successfully resolved after a couple of sex therapy sessions. While there are ‘tools’ like local anesthetic gels or ‘long love condoms’, they can’t help with the roots of the problem or even further reduce sexual confidence because patients often feel increasingly dependent on the product. Also, these kinds of products often affect the sexual experience of the woman. Sex therapy will usually involve efforts to understand the psychological patterns triggering the dynamics involving PE, and the integration of techniques allowing to regain control over the sexual act. Often, ‘homework exercises’ will be prescribed in order to control the success of the therapy sessions and to achieve stable long-term effects.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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