Premature ejaculation occurs in men when semen leaves the body (ejaculate) sooner than wanted during sex. Premature ejaculation is a common sexual complaint. As many as 1 out of 3 people say they have it at some time.
Premature ejaculation isn't caused for concern if it doesn't happen often. But you might be diagnosed with premature ejaculation if you:
- Always or nearly always ejaculate within 1 to 3 minutes of penetration
- Are not able to delay ejaculation during sex all or nearly all the time
- Feel distressed and frustrated, and tend to avoid sexual intimacy as a result
Premature ejaculation is a treatable condition. Medications, counseling and techniques that delay ejaculation can help improve sex for you and your partner.
The main symptom of premature ejaculation is not being able to delay ejaculation for more than three minutes after penetration. But it might occur in all sexual situations, even during masturbation.
Premature ejaculation can be classified as:
- Lifelong. Lifelong premature ejaculation occurs all or nearly all the time beginning with the first sexual encounter.
- Acquired. Acquired premature ejaculation develops after having previous sexual experiences without problems with ejaculation.
Many people feel that they have symptoms of premature ejaculation, but the symptoms don't meet the criteria for a diagnosis. It's typical to experience early ejaculation at times.
When to see a doctor
Talk with your healthcare provider if you ejaculate sooner than you wish during most sexual encounters. It's common to feel embarrassed about discussing sexual health concerns. But don't let that keep you from talking to your provider. Premature ejaculation is common and treatable.
A conversation with a care provider might help lessen concerns. For example, it might be reassuring to hear that it's typical to experience premature ejaculation from time to time. It may also help to know that the average time from the beginning of intercourse to ejaculation is about five minutes.