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Maybe you want to last longer during sex because you’re unhappy with your sexual performance, or maybe you’re worried that your partner isn’t satisfied and you want to last longer for her. Whatever your reasons, there are proven solutions available that can help, such as psychotherapy, prescription medications, pelvic floor exercises, hormone therapy, and more.
If you’re not lasting as long you’d like, you could be dealing with premature ejaculation. This condition occurs when you reach orgasm and ejaculate too quickly with no control. Simply, ejaculation takes place before you want it to happen . It leads you to ask “How can I last longer in bed?”
Keep in mind, the amount of time a man lasts can vary. The length of time you last is only a problem if it’s bothering you or your partner. If you’re both happy with your sex life, then there’s no need to do anything. However, if it’s something that’s bothering you or your partner, it can negatively affect your relationship . When it becomes a problem, it’s time to get help and learn how to last longer in bed. But you need to make sure you choose proven solutions that are safe and effective.
Types of Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation occurs when you ejaculate before you or your partner desire it. However, there are two different types of premature ejaculation (PE): primary premature ejaculation and secondary premature ejaculation.
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Primary Premature Ejaculation
Primary premature ejaculation, often referred to as lifelong PE, is defined as ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs before vaginal penetration or within about a minute of penetration and the inability to stop ejaculation during all or almost all vaginal penetrations .
Secondary Premature Ejaculation
Secondary premature ejaculation or acquired PE occurs when a man develops the problem of early ejaculation at some point in life, previously having had normal ejaculation experiences . Studies show that men with secondary PE are usually older, are more likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction, often have cardiovascular risk factors, and usually last longer than men who have primary PE .
Causes of Premature Ejaculation
The precise cause for premature ejaculation has not been identified . However, there are many different factors that may cause PE. It’s important to understand the root cause of your PE in order to determine the most effective solution or solutions to lasting longer.
Many of the factors for PE are psychological, and performance anxiety is a psychological factor that may contribute to PE. Becoming preoccupied with poor sexual performance can make the problem worse, resulting in decreased sexual function. Performance anxiety often has a reciprocal relationship with PE. Performance anxiety can result in problems with early ejaculation, and then early ejaculation only increases performance anxiety . This results in a cycle that is self-perpetuating, and ultimately may lead you to feel frustrated about how PE affects intimacy with your partner and your sexual relationship .
Some cultures and belief systems have distorted ideas about sexuality that are established in childhood. Sexual experiences, both masturbation and sexual intercourse, may be portrayed as shameful, inappropriate, or something that shouldn’t be enjoyed. These issues established in childhood can result in sexual dysfunction, including premature ejaculation .
Stress and Anxiety
Both stress and anxiety can cause PE. Studies show an association between anxiety and premature ejaculation, especially acquired PE . For men who have been through extreme stress, sexual dysfunction, including PE, is a common problem. For example, veterans with PTSD often deal with sexual dysfunction.
According to research published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “PTSD impairs sexual functioning across multiple domains: desire, arousal, orgasm, activity, and satisfaction…The most commonly reported problems were erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and overall sexual disinterest .” One small study found that over 80% of veterans with PTSD deal with sexual dysfunction . Another case report specifically looked at spontaneous ejaculation as a symptom of PTSD, a problem that developed in one patient when the PTSD symptoms increased.
Studies have also found a relationship between depression and premature ejaculation, and it’s estimated that approximately 18% of men within the U.S. are affected by depression . One review of multiple observational studies suggested a significant association between depression and PE, and prevention and treatment of depression may significantly reduce your risk of PE . If you’re dealing with depression and you want to last longer, effectively treating depression may improve problems with PE, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you may be dealing with depression.
Body Image Issues
Although body image issues are often thought of as women’s issues, both the movie industry and the porn industry have created body image issues for men, too. Along with feeling like they must be both slim and muscular, men often deal with issues surrounding the size of their genitals and their functionality. While these body image issues have been something men have worried about throughout history, the porn industry has now created a picture of a man who has a nine-inch penis and who can engage in sexual activity for 30 minutes and have an incredible ejaculation, leaving many men feeling insecure about their body, their genitals, and their ability to perform . Unfortunately, these body image issues often contribute to problems with PE and other types of sexual dysfunction.
In many cases, health problems may be the underlying cause of PE, and those health issues will need to be solved if you want to last longer. Some of the health issues that may cause premature ejaculation include:
Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism – Men with abnormal thyroid hormone levels often experience sexual dysfunction, such as PE. The high prevalence of ejaculatory disorders like PE and their quick reversibility suggest that there’s a direct involvement in thyroid hormone levels and ejaculation physiology. There is a big difference in PE depending on whether men have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, and studies show that 50% of hyperthyroid men deal with PE while only 7.1% of hypothyroid men deal with PE .
Chronic Prostatitis – Since the prostate gland is involved in ejaculation, chronic inflammation of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, can result in problems with premature ejaculation .
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Unbalanced Hormone Levels – Low levels of testosterone and higher levels of prolactin have been found in men who have PE, resulting in the belief that unbalanced hormone levels could be to blame for PE in some cases . Studies looking at testosterone levels in men with PE have been small, but it’s thought that there may be a correlation between low testosterone and PE .
Diabetes – Premature ejaculation is far higher in diabetic men compared to non-diabetic men, with diabetic men reporting a higher incidence of PE along with increased severity of erectile dysfunction .
According to the University of Utah, other medical disorders and issues that may result in ejaculation disorders include :
- Spina bifida
- Prostate surgery
- Spinal cord injury
- Radical pelvic surgery
There’s often a link between erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. If erectile dysfunction leaves you anxious about getting and keeping an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse, it may lead you to form a pattern of hurrying to ejaculate before you lose the erection, whether it’s conscious or unconscious . Over time, this can turn into a pattern of PE that can be difficult to change .
Relationship or “interpersonal issues” are one of the psychological factors known to cause problems with PE in men . In some cases, it may be anxiety about the relationship or anger towards one’s partner that results in decreased sexual function and problems like PE . Other studies have found that some men feel there’s a discrepancy between their own sexual experience and the more extensive sexual experience of their partner, and this creates feelings of insecurity and anxiety that can contribute to PE .
Lifelong or primary PE is often caused by conditioning during a man’s youth. Some men may condition themselves to ejaculate quickly while they are young because they feel rushed when masturbating . Other men have had early sexual experiences when they were rushed and nervous, such as sex in a car or sex while trying to avoid discovery by parents, and men may unconsciously have learned to associate sex with discomfort and speed, resulting in a lifetime of PE .
Hypersensitivity of the Penis
The ejaculatory spinal cord pathway is right at the bottom tip of the head of your penis, and if you have hypersensitivity at this point, it can result in premature ejaculation . One study has also shown that men with lifelong PE often have penile hypersensitivity that results in the inability to last very long after vaginal penetration . However, in this study, men with PE not only had peripheral hypersensitivity of the glans penis, but at the penile shaft levels as well.
Solutions for Premature Ejaculation: Tips for Making Sex Last Longer
If you are dealing with premature ejaculation, there are solutions that can help you last longer. You’re not doomed to deal with this problem forever. Many different solutions are available. The right solution for you will depend largely upon the specific causes of your PE. In many cases, a combination of these solutions will provide the best results. Talking to your doctor about the problem can help you determine which of these solutions will help you achieve more satisfying sex with your partner.
Tip #1 – Communicate with Your Partner
One of the best things you can do if you’re dealing with PE is to communicate with your partner. Open communication can reduce the anxiety you both feel, resulting in more satisfactory experiences in the bedroom. Some studies have found that PE keeps men from attaining complete intimacy in their relationships even if their partners were actually satisfied with sexual intercourse .
Your conversation might be as simple as explaining that you prefer a certain position (check out our list of 100+ sex positions) because you can last longer.
What you think is a big deal may not be an issue to your partner. She could be completely happy with your sex life, but if you don’t communicate with your partner, eventually this will become an insurmountable problem in your own head. This not only makes the problem worse but can ultimately be devastating to your relationship.
Because talking about sex is difficult, we wrote the guide to sexual communication.
Tip #2 – Wear a Condom
Many men report that decreased penile sensitivity is a drawback of wearing a condom during sexual intercourse. However, for men who are worried about premature ejaculation, the decrease in penile sensitivity can actually be a benefit to wearing condoms . If increased sensitivity is a problem for you and causes PE, then wearing a condom may help you prolong sexual activity. However, wearing more than one condom at a time can make them more likely to break .
Not sure how to use a condom? Check out this post with step-by-step instructions.
Tip #3 – Pharmaceutical Solutions
Daily Treatment with SSRIs – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline, are often used as an off-label treatment for PE . Daily treatment with SSRIs can be used and it usually takes about four weeks to see maximum results . Some men report adverse effects, such as fatigue, perspiration, and mild nausea, but these usually go away after a couple weeks .
On-Demand Treatment with SSRIs – On-demand treatment with SSRIs is also a pharmaceutical option, and in this case, medications are taken 4-6 hours before having intercourse. However, it’s not as effective as daily treatment with SSRIs .
Tricyclic Antidepressants – Clinical trials on tricyclic antidepressants, specifically clomipramine, have shown it to be effective at managing PE . However, side effects like dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, and drowsiness often drive men to discontinue this pharmaceutical therapy .
Sildenafil (Viagra) – While sildenafil, more commonly known by the brand name Viagra, is usually used to treat erectile dysfunction (discover how to get hard), it’s been found to be an effective treatment for PE in some men, particularly those who deal with both PE and erectile dysfunction . One small study found that sildenafil worked better than clomipramine, paroxetine, sertraline, and the pause-and-squeeze technique when it came to satisfaction and latency . That answers the question “Does Viagra make you last longer?”
Tramadol – Tramadol has also been studied as an off-label pharmaceutical therapy for PE, and several studies have shown varying doses of on-demand or daily tramadol therapy to be an effective treatment for PE . When compared to daily and on-demand paroxetine, topical anesthetics, behavioral management, and placebo, meta-analysis showed tramadol to be a more effective option . However, while tramadol may be an effective treatment for PE, it should be noted that there is a risk of addiction and tramadol should not be combined with SSRIs according to one case report .
Tip #4 – Numbing Creams
One of the simplest solutions for PE is to use topical numbing creams that temporarily desensitize the head of the penis . This option is easy-to-use, effective, and can be used quickly right before intercourse, allowing for spontaneous sex. Although this is often an off-label treatment option, there’s a lot of evidence that supports the use of on-demand topical anesthetics like prilocaine and lidocaine as a spray, gel, or cream for PE . A systemic review and meta-analysis showed that using topical anesthetic agents for PE is moderately effective and is well tolerated by patients .
Although no severe side effects have been noted with the use of numbing agents like lidocaine if a condom is not worn it’s possible for the topical anesthetic to transfer into the vaginal wall, which can result in vaginal numbness . The resulting vaginal numbness could make it difficult or impossible for females to orgasm.
Tip #5 – Masturbation
According to Cornell Health, masturbation techniques can be used to help you gain control over PE and last longer . Four different steps are outlined to help men learn to delay orgasm:
Step #1 – Masturbation Without Lubrication – Begin by masturbating with no lubrication and when you feel like you’re close to ejaculation, stop. Wait until the sensations decrease and them resume. Repeat several times. Finally, allow yourself to ejaculate while focusing on the sensations. Do this several times each week.
Step #2 – Altering the Type or Amount of Stimulation During Masturbation – Begin altering the type or amount of stimulation that you use while masturbating instead of stopping. When you’re close to ejaculation, change up the type of stimulation. Keep arousal high but focus on control. Repeat this cycle several times a week.
Step #3 – Adding Lubrication to Masturbation – Begin adding lubrication (discover how to choose lube), which will increase sensations. Repeat the previous two steps with lubrication to gain more confidence.
Step #4 – Progress to Intercourse with a Partner – Use the same principles that you’ve already developed with the previous steps, staying aware of the sensations that let you know you’re close to ejaculation. Wait for sensations to decrease or change the stimulation. This might mean switching to a slower thrust or rocking instead of jackhammering away. Resume slowly and repeat this process before you allow yourself to ejaculate.
The above method can help you naturally last longer in bed.
For some men, masturbating before having sexual intercourse may also make it easier to last longer.
Tip #6 – Edging (“Stop and Start” Method and the “Squeeze” Method)
Two of the oldest treatments for PE include the “stop and start” method and the “squeeze” method . Both of these methods are a bit like the modern day sexual technique known as edging, which involves bringing yourself to the very edge of orgasm and then backing off and stopping before you orgasm. The “stop and start” method involves sexually stimulating the man until he’s close to ejaculation, stopping the stimulation and then restarting after 30 seconds. This can be repeated until you’re ready to ejaculate.
The “squeeze” method is very similar and involves sexual stimulation until you’re about to ejaculate. At that point, you or your partner gently squeeze the end of the penis where the head meets the shaft for a few seconds, and sexual stimulation is stopped. Then sexual stimulation is resumed. This can be repeated until you’re ready to orgasm.
Not only can edging help you last longer, but some people find that it leads to more intense orgasms.
Tip #7 – Psychotherapy and/or Counseling
Psychotherapy and counseling combine psychodynamic, cognitive, and behavioral approaches to offer a solution for PE, and the main principles of this type of treatment include learning to control ejaculation and managing and resolving the snowball effect that PE can have on you, your partner, and your relationship as a couple. In many cases, these snowball effects may include developing lower self-esteem, performance anxiety, hostility from your partner, avoiding sexual activity, and a decrease in the quality of your relationship .
Unfortunately, the evidence regarding the effectiveness of psychotherapy and counseling for the treatment of PE is inconsistent and weak. Some randomized controlled studies of psychotherapy for PE have reported an improvement in men’s ability to last longer, although these studies have been small . While these studies are small and evidence is inconsistent, psychotherapy still may be worth pursuing, especially when combined with other treatments.
Tip #8 – Pelvic Floor Exercises (aka Kegels)
If lasting longer is your goal, strengthening the pelvic floor with pelvic floor exercises is another potential solution for PE to consider. One trial took 40 men who had lifelong premature ejaculation, putting them through a 12-week pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation program. The results were very promising, with 82.5% of the patients gaining greater control over their ejaculatory reflex . With these results, this therapy is now being proposed as a new therapeutic option for treatment PE.
Psst, did you know women can do Kegels, too? Check out our Kegels for women tutorial.
Another trial took 78 patients with premature ejaculation and put them through treatment involving: awareness of their pelvic floor muscles, learning how to contract pelvic floor muscles pre-orgasm, and providing pelvic floor rehabilitation, which included electrostimulation, biofeedback, and pelvic exercises. The therapy does take 2-6 months to complete and requires some commitment from the patient, but in this study about half of the patients were cured after undergoing treatment .
Tip #9 –Breathing Exercises and Yoga
There’s a sliver of evidence to show that natural methods like breathing exercises and yoga may prove helpful for treating premature ejaculation. In one small pilot study, after engaging in yoga for just 21 days, a small percentage some improvement in their control over ejaculation . Another comparative trial compared the use of yoga against fluoxetine for PE and all the patients in the trial saw significant improvement in PE with yoga, showing it to be a feasible, effective, safe nonpharmacological solution for PE .
Other research has indicated that stretching therapy combined with breathing exercise can increase sexual satisfaction in men, and it’s hypothesized that it does this by increasing self-esteem and reducing psychological distress .
Breathing exercises are a common part of Tantric sex. Discover more.
Tip #10 – Hormone Therapy
Some data seems to suggest that testosterone levels can play a role in the control of ejaculatory reflex, which means it may be worthwhile to have your doctor test your testosterone levels . Although more studies need to be done on hormone therapy as a solution for PE, if you do have low testosterone levels, consider talking to your doctor about whether hormone therapy is right for you.
Tip #11 – Circumcision
Although it may seem like a radical solution, circumcision may be a viable treatment for PE. Circumcision desensitizes the penis, but incomplete circumcision that leaves behind foreskin remnants may actually result in premature ejaculation. Some men may find that removing those foreskin remnants left behind in the initial circumcision may increase ejaculation time and improve sexual satisfaction in men . However, it is never used as the first choice of treatment for PE.
Reduced sensitivity from circumcision is not often considered a positive. Before you go ahead with surgery, read this post about circumcised versus uncircumcised penises.
Other New Potential Treatments for Premature Ejaculation
Along with these solutions for premature ejaculation, new potential treatments are being studied to help men last longer. Some of the new potential treatments for PE that are currently being studied include:
- Botox injections for PE 
- Exercise as an intervention for PE 
- Transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation (TPTNS – a therapy for controlling urinary incontinence) for PE control 
Warning: “Magic” Pills and Herbal Remedies May Not Be Safe
Although there are many proven, effective solutions that can help you figure out how to last longer, there are also many “remedies” you should avoid. For example, all you have to do is browse online or watch television, and you’ll see advertisements for “magic” pills that will fix your sex life. Since many men want to last longer, they go for a quick fix like an over-the-counter pill because they don’t want to talk to their partner or their doctor about the problem.
Unfortunately, those over-the-counter male enhancement pills and herbal remedies come with a few big drawbacks. First, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s tough to know their exact pharmacological makeup and whether they come with potential side effects. Since you don’t know the exact dosages and contents in these pills and herbal remedies, it’s tough to know which options are really safe. There’s a serious risk for drug interactions or side effects that could negatively affect your health .
Don’t Make the Problem Bigger in Your Head
It’s important to note that many men believe that they have premature ejaculation when their average latency time (the time between penetration and ejaculation) is normal. Sexually explicit media and popular culture often give men a false idea of what is normal. On average, the latency time for most men is around five minutes. This often leaves men thinking that they’re dealing with premature ejaculation and wondering how to not come so fast when they’re actually in the normal range .
Men don’t just do it with time, either. Many men want to make their penises bigger (learn how) even though their partners are completely satisfied.
Plus, it’s fun to have a quickie now and then. What’s a quickie?
It’s possible to make this problem bigger in your head, and your perception of your control over ejaculation becomes a big issue. It can be a disappointment, but it’s not usually going to turn a woman off.
If you continually think that you don’t have enough control over ejaculation, you may build this up in your mind to such a point that it becomes a cycle and interferes with your sexual satisfaction . Once again, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner about the problem. You may find after talking to your partner that the problem is only in your head and your partner may be completely happy with your shared sexual experiences.
If you’re always trying to last longer, you might be making your partner uncomfortable. Or it may be obvious that you’re not focused on the pleasure because you’re so focused on holding your come in, so you’re both less satisfied.. but not because of how long you last in bed.
Furthermore, don’t just think of sex as the time spent during penetration. Sex includes activities before and after — usually what people think of as foreplay (tips here). But if you can make your partner orgasm through oral or manual sex or by using a sex toy before you’ve even penetrated her, you’ll feel that much less pressure.
Finally, you might be asking how to last longer during sex to get her to orgasm. But most women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Follow these tips to make a woman orgasm, instead.
GQ talked to a sex therapist who pointed out that sex is more than just penetration, so you shouldn’t just focus on how to have sex longer.
Average sex length might be shorter than you think according to Esquire.
The International Society for Sexual Medicine answers the question “How long should sex last?”
Lovehoney’s surveyed 3,000 adults about how long sex should be, and you can read the results.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ejaculatory Control
FAQ#1 – Do I have a problem if I only prematurely ejaculate once in a while?
If premature ejaculation only happens from time to time, there usually isn’t any need for you to be worried. For PE to be a significant problem, you need to meet several criteria, including :
- You are not able to delay ejaculation all the time or nearly all the time when you have sexual intercourse
- Ejaculation always or almost always takes place within a minute of vaginal penetration or faster
- You feel distressed or frustrated to the point that you may begin avoiding sexual intimacy
FAQ #2 – How Common is Premature Ejaculation?
Studies show that 20-30% of men across the globe are affected by premature ejaculation . However, these numbers are subjective.
FAQ #3 – Should I talk to my doctor about premature ejaculation?
You should talk to your doctor if you think you’re dealing with PE. In fact, it’s a good idea to discuss your symptoms with a urologist who specializes in these types of issues. Women usually visit their OB/GYN once a year, but most younger men only head in to see a urologist if there’s a big problem. Regular visits to a urologist or at least asking for a referral to a urologist from your primary care physician if you think you’re having trouble can ensure that you catch problems while they are easiest to treat. A urologist can help determine if PE is related to another medical problem, and if not, can coach you on the best ways to deal with it and last longer.
FAQ #4 – Will I be able to last longer as I get older?
For some men, PE is a lifelong problem. However, some studies have found that men with PE are often younger than those without, and after adjusting for problems with erectile dysfunction, the risk of PE does significantly decrease as you age .
FAQ #5 – Can premature ejaculation have long-term effects on my health?
Although premature ejaculation may not have long-term effects on your health, it could be an indicator of other health problems, which is why it’s important to talk to your doctor. It could be indicative of psychological problems like depression or PTSD as well, which are conditions that need treatment . PE can also have a long-term effect on your relationship, so it’s important to talk to your partner and your doctor instead of ignoring the problem.
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