What is Premature Ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation (PE) is also referred to as rapid ejaculation, early ejaculation or premature climax. It is one of the most common forms of sexual dysfunction in men. PE can be especially disastrous to the thrill and charm of a sexual experience. It can give rise to feelings of guilt and frustration in a loving relationship. The condition is generally seen in males younger than 40, and is often resolved with age. But what exactly is premature ejaculation and what causes it?

What is Premature Ejaculation?

PE may be defined as uncontrolled ejaculation that occurs at the slightest sense of sexual arousal. It may occur before or after sexual penetration, before the person intends. 30-70% of males in the United States face this problem sooner or later.

However, the exact length of time that determines whether the ejaculation is premature or not cannot be determined. There is a great deal of variability among people regarding how long a satisfactory sexual experience should last. Generally speaking, if any of the participants feel that the orgasm occurs too soon, some degree of PE might exist.

What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

PE can fall under two categories: lifelong or acquired. In the lifelong category, the patient has been experiencing PE since his first sexual intercourse. For the acquired category, the patient develops the problem despite having successful sexual experiences previously. However, there are no clear reasons as to why a person develops PE. With age and experience, men usually learn to control their orgasm. Initially, PE was considered to be a psychological problem with no organic root cause. Recent research indicates that there may be certain biological causes as well.

Biological Causes

New studies have identified the neurotransmitter serotonin (substance produced naturally by nerves) to be involved in PE. High levels of serotonin lead to delayed ejaculation. Thus, the disintegration of serotonin in the brain might play a significant role in untimely ejaculation. Such neurological causes may lead to the development of other sexual dysfunctions as well.

Medical Causes

Certain medical conditions may also cause PE. These include:

Thyroid disorders

An infection of the urethra or prostrate An abnormal ejaculatory system reflex activity

Damage to the nervous system as a result of injury or surgery

Abnormal hormonal levels

Genetic predisposition – Studies showed that men who experienced problems with untimely ejaculation had parents with the same issue.

Psychological causes

Many important psychological aspects contributing to PE have been identified. These include:

Erectile Dysfunction – An anxiety to attain and maintain an erection during intercourse may lead a person to frequently ejaculate prematurely. With time, this can be difficult to reverse.

Anxiety – Especially relating to sexual intercourse or performance.

Hurrying to reach climax

Feelings of guilt from hiding the condition

Expecting a failed orgasm

Expecting rejection

Unrealistic expectations


Negative sexual childhood experiences

Stress – Resulting from financial setbacks, lack of confidence, repressed sexual feelings, etc.

Relationship problems – Interpersonal problems should never be ignored. Intimacy issues, unresolved emotional issues, conflicts, etc, may be the reasons for poor sexual performance.

Religious beliefs

In rare cases, feelings of extreme arousal may also stimulate untimely ejaculation. This is more common in young males or men during their first sexual encounter.

When is Premature Ejaculation a Problem?

It is important to understand that an occasional episode of PE is not the result of a disorder. Men normally reach orgasm sooner than they want to. Men also tend to ejaculate quickly when they have sex for the first time, or after a very long time. Occasional loss of control should not be regarded as a sexual dysfunction. Communicating your problems to your partner is essential. If the problem still persists, medical counsel should be sought.