IT can be humiliating to “come too early” while having sex.
But rest assured it is pretty common, with around one in three men suffering what’s medically called rapid or premature ejaculation.
Premature ejaculation is when a man orgasms much quicker than he had planned, sometimes within seconds of sex.
The NHS says the average time to ejaculate during sex is five and a half minutes, according to one study of 500 couples.
Climaxing early as a one-off is common. But repetitive episodes can cause frustration in a relationship.
The causes can be due to thyroid problems, age or using drugs.
But more often they are complex and down to emotions including stress, depression, lack of confidence.
And many men get stuck in a loop of feeling worse about their sexual performance, exacerbating the issue.
Sometimes premature ejaculation is a problem for men who have erection problems.
A new study aimed to work out just how many middle-aged men suffer with both, or either of the conditions.
Researchers asked 2,888 European men aged between 40 and 79 years old across Europe about their sex life.
Almost a third (30.8 per cent) said they had premature ejaculation, but this was not backed up with measurement of time.
Among them, 7.3 per cent claimed to be distressed, according to the findings in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
And the higher levels of distress that the men reported, the more they said their sexual performance was struggling.
They also had a higher risk of erectile dysfunction, depression and “mood disturbances”.
“Men with any degree of self-reported rapid ejaculation show increasing levels of depression, worse quality of life and worse couple satisfaction”, said the authors, led by Dr Giovanni Corona of Maggiore-Bellaria Hospital, Italy.
The team also said distress about the problem may explain why there are relatively few men who come forward to speak to their doctor.
Here is how you can last longer during sex:
1. Masturbate before sex
Masturbating one of two hours before sex might give you that “release” before you get between the sheets.
Then, when it comes to having sex, you will already feel relieved, reducing the likliehood of needing to ejaculate.
The NHS says this is one of the ways to try and help yourself before seeking more medical help.
2. Use a thick condom
Another starter tip is to use a condom that is thick enough to decrease sensation around your penis.
Using a rubber is often deemed a sex mood killer. But in this instance, it could really spruce things up.
There are a variety of products that claim to give extended pleasure due to the way the condom is designed, so give a few a try.
3. Use a delay product
Some condoms contain a local anesthetic called benzocaine which numbs sensitivity around the penis.
It will help reduce how much you feel when you enter your partner.
There are creams, sprays and wipes that do the same thing, but there is not much scientific research into how much longer you’ll last in bed.
It may also be worth considering that it can transfer to the vagina.
4. Think about something boring
Yep – this is an NHS tip to prevent you coming too early.
It can take a huge amount of control to step away from what is enjoyable and take a break.
But by switching your thinking away from the pleasure in front of you and to what’s for dinner that night may help.
Your partner doesn’t need to know a thing, either.
Why do men suffer premature ejaculation?
According to the NHS, a number of psychological and physical factors can cause premature ejaculation.
Physical reasons include prostate problems, thyroid problems and recreational drugs.
Meanwhile psychological problems include depression, stress, relationship problems or anxiety about sexual performance.
Men may have suffered with premature ejaculation their whole life, which could be down to a traumatic sexual experience in childhood or a strict upbringing and beliefs around sex.
"Conditioning" is also when a man has conditioned himself to come early by accident.
This may have been caused by trying to ejaculate quickly as a teenager to avoid being caught masturbating, for example.
5. “Squeeze and stop-go”
Now onto the more hardcore method, the NHS says during couples therapy, the “squeeze” and “stop-go” techniques are often taught.
In the squeeze technique, your partner masturbates you, but stops before the point of ejaculation and squeezes the head of your penis for between 10 to 20 seconds.
They then let go and wait for another 30 seconds before resuming masturbation.
This process is carried out several times before ejaculation is allowed to occur.
The stop-go technique is similar, but your partner does not squeeze your penis.
Once you have got the hang of it you can start having sex and stopping and starting as you feel is necessary.
This type of learning requires a lot of practise and won’t be a one-time fix.
6. Master the mini-orgasm
This is one for you to try on your own.
Ian Kerner, a sex therapist who cured himself of his premature ejaculation, advises men to “practice masturbating nearly to the point of ejaculation, and then stop”.
In an article for Men’s Health, Ian said you will be able to tell you have reached the mini-orgasm phase because you will experience one or two small pelvic contractions – but won’t fully ejaculate.
Once familiar with this method, it’s time to use it during sex to ease the tension mid-bonk – allowing you to last longer without ejaculating.
7. Make your penis a sex toy
Ian, who wrote a book about pleasing women in bed titled “She Comes First” says some sex positions can help to make sex enjoyable for both parties.
He reckons that perpendicular sex positions, that allow guys to stimulate a woman’s clitoris without penetration, are favourable.
He said: “As you each lie on your side facing each other, create a 90-degree angle between your shaft and her vulva.
“Instead of penetrating, press your shaft lengthwise against her clitoris and gently move it back and forth.”
You could also experiment with sex toys in order to make the experience of sex last longer.
8. Put some weight on
A 2014 study found slimmer men are more likely to suffer from premature ejaculation.
Researchers in Turkey studied 200 men over a year, comparing their body mass index (BMI) to their sexual performance.
Fatter men with bigger bellies lasted longer in bed then their svelte counterparts – 7.3 minutes compared with 1.8 minutes.
The scientists thought that the reason behind larger lads lasting longer is that they have higher levels of the female sex hormone oestradiol, which may disrupt the body's chemical balance and inhibits them from climaxing for longer.
Some medications can help with premature ejaculation if all else fails.
These include antidepressants called SSRIs, particularly one called dapoxetine (sold as Priligy), and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (sold as Viagra).
SSRIs need to be taken for around two weeks before the effects are noticed.
But dapoxetine is taken “on demand” – between one and three hours before sex no more than once a day.
Side effects of these drugs include dizziness, nausea and headaches. So it is worth trying other options before medicines.
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