U study examines premature ejaculation

The study of more than 1,500 men looked at physical and psychological factors.

Naomi Scott

Premature ejaculation occurs in approximately two minutes, compared with approximately seven minutes for men not plagued by the disorder, according to a recent study co-authored by Jon Pryor, University professor and head of the urologic surgery department.

The study, published in last month’s Journal of Sexual Medicine, set standards for a prevalent condition that is not defined well in medicine. Besides being a disorder of time, premature ejaculation can have negative psychological effects, the report said.

Researchers timed ejaculation for more than 1,500 men by giving stopwatches to their sexual partners.

Approximately 200 of the research subjects suffered from premature ejaculation. These men took 1.8 minutes to ejaculate after beginning sexual intercourse, compared with 7.3 minutes for men without the disorder, the study said.

Eli Coleman, director of the University’s Program in Human Sexuality, said the study shows ejaculatory control might be innate.

“I think Dr. Pryor’s research has shown that there are people that are born with a very rapid response,” he said. “It’s not a result of learning, or conditioning, or psychological trauma.”

For other people, anxiety can play a role, Coleman said.

“Anxiety can speed things up,” he said. “There are medications and relaxation techniques to help them be in control of their sexual response.”

Still, only 1 percent to 12 percent of men who report suffering from premature ejaculation actually seek treatment, the study said.

Subjects with premature ejaculation also had higher ratings of personal distress, interpersonal difficulty with their partners, lack of ejaculation control and dissatisfaction with sexual intercourse, the researchers found.

Coleman said some men who suffer from severe premature ejaculation cannot reach orgasm because the ejaculation happens too quickly.

“They’re ejaculating, but they’re not deriving much pleasure from it,” he said.

Premature ejaculation is the most common male sexual dysfunction and affects approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of the male population at any one time, the report said.

Michael Miner, who is part of the faculty and clinical staff of the Program in Human Sexuality, said most men will have erectile problems at some point in their lives.

“The penis doesn’t always perform as commanded,” said Miner, who is also a professor in the family medicine and community health department.

Coleman said premature ejaculation affects young men more than older men.

“(Younger men) tend to be very efficient in reaching orgasm, and women at that age are not as efficient,” he said.

Spencer Hartberg, an electrical engineering junior, said he has never talked about premature ejaculation with his friends.

“I think it’s a common problem, but it seems like something (men) might work on with their girlfriends rather than their buddies,” he said.

Hartberg said he learned from a human sexuality class that sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction happen to a lot of men at least occasionally.

Despite its prevalence, Coleman said, one reason premature ejaculation does not have a specific medical definition is that many dysfunctions are difficult to measure.

Also, research on sexual disorders has increased in recent years, he said.

“Before the advent of Viagra, there had been very low interest in doing much research about facilitating sexual function,” he said.