Premature Ejaculation

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Conditions Basics

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is when you ejaculate semen before you want to, either before or soon after intercourse starts. This is a common male sexual problem.

What causes it?

Most cases of premature ejaculation do not have a clear cause. Premature ejaculation may occur with a new partner. It may happen only in certain sexual situations or if it has been a while since the last ejaculation. Psychological factors such as anxiety, guilt, or depression can also cause it. In some cases, it may be related to a medical problem or a side effect of certain medicines.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is not being able to control ejaculation. It occurs either before or soon after intercourse starts, with little stimulation. This can make the person feel anxious about having sex. And it can leave one or both partners feeling frustrated.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will discuss your medical and sexual history with you. A physical exam will also be done. Your doctor may want to talk to your partner also. Premature ejaculation can have many causes. So your doctor may order lab tests to rule out any other medical problem.

How is premature ejaculation treated?

In many cases premature ejaculation gets better on its own over time. Treatment may not be needed.

Your doctor may recommend techniques to help delay orgasm. Counseling or behavioral therapy may help reduce anxiety related to this problem.

Antidepressant medicines are sometimes prescribed. One of their side effects is delayed orgasm. A doctor may also suggest over-the-counter products such as creams, gels, sprays, and wipes. These and other options, such as using a condom or a double condom, may be used to reduce feeling.


Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.