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The emotional side of premature ejaculation.

One of the most common sexual problems men struggle with, but no one talks about is premature ejaculation. According to the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) 30% of men live with premature ejaculation. You probably know at least one, if not several, men who have experienced premature ejaculation. When couples seek help it is very common to see both partners equally frustrated.

The saddest part of PE is that so many isolate themselves and keep quiet rather than risk feelings of inadequacy when talking to their health care professional. Many men who aren’t married quit dating due to embarrassment and frustration. The partner of someone who has PE can help significantly if she knows what to do.

Premature ejaculation has many components, and no one reason fits all men. There are biological causes, psychological causes, medication causes and behavioral causes. From an evolutionary perspective, sex should be quick. Sex is for procreation; the faster you are, the higher the chance of reproducing. Although enjoyable sex is not meant to be fast, evolutionary theorists would hold fast that men are programmed that way.

When sex lasts one to three minutes or less (which is typical for men with PE) no one enjoys sex, including the man. Premature ejaculation treatment should always begin with a visit to your physician. Usually a family doctor will refer you to an Urologist, who specializes in sexual dysfunction. There are medications that can be used to help prolong an erection or reduce anxiety; many times this visit is all you will need.

In cases where PE has been consistent over several years in a marriage or relationship, there is usually emotional damage that must be dealt with between the couple. People say unkind things to each other when sex is frustrating, and many couples quit trying to have sex. This can be hurtful to the partner, creating resentment and anger in the marriage. Below are guidelines to get you started with treatment for your premature ejaculation.

• The first thing you must do is sit down with your partner and talk about it. Tell your partner how it makes you feel. Do this at a time when you are both relaxed and not frustrated. Tell your partner some of the reasons you believe you struggle with it. As the partner, be sure to listen openly and without judgment. Remember the goal is for both of you to be able to express yourself in a healthy loving way.

• Learning about your own body and being aware of the feeling right before ejaculation is very important. Therefore, masturbation is very important. When you masturbate make sure you do it by yourself with no distraction. Instead of going quickly, slow down so you can become more aware of your physical reactions.

• Sex is more than penetration. As a couple it is important that you explore all areas of each other’s bodies. Touching, smelling, and kissing are all wonderful ways to share a sexual connection as well please one another. When you have more options, you reduce the anxiety for the need to perform. Sex toys provide options as do massage oils and powders.

• Yoga is a wonderful activity for men who suffer from PE to engage in. It helps men learn how their breathing is affecting their PE; it teaches them to slow down and control their breathing. It also offers exercises to help strengthen and stretch the pelvic floor muscles. Yoga benefits most sexual responses in both men and women. A yoga couple’s class would be a wonderful option in treating PE.

• Consider counseling as a couple. Many times when men have PE, they believe it is their fault and their responsibility to fix. When you are a couple, you learn very quickly that what affects one partner affects both. For better or worse, this is one problem that is handled better as a couple than an individual. Counseling can help open the communication between partners which is 90% of the problem.

Premature ejaculation can wreck havoc on a relationship. However, it can also be a catalyst for creating a closer and intimate relationship. Having a common problem shared by a couple many times helps bond the couple. The key is viewing the problem as something you both work at solving rather than considering it “his” problem. The brain is the largest sex organ; PE has a lot to do with how a man feels about his ability to please his partner.

–Mary Jo Rapini

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