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Early ejaculation is the release of semen before a man or his partner would like. It is the most common sexual disorder impacting men under 40. Between 30 to 70% are estimated to experience early ejaculation at some time in their lives.
Men may struggle with early ejaculation throughout their lives or acquire early ejaculation despite having successful sexual relationships in the past.
Many people use the terms early ejaculation and premature ejaculation interchangeably. However, others suggest that early ejaculation is only an occasional problem rather than a chronic one. Early ejaculation is also called rapid ejaculation, premature climax, rapid climax, and ejaculation praecox.
There is no set period of time between arousal and ejaculation that defines early ejaculation. Instead, any ejaculation which occurs earlier than is ideal is considered early ejaculation. Early ejaculation can make sex less pleasurable and negatively impact intimate relationships.
Historically, early ejaculation was considered a psychological disease. However, today we know a range of factors can cause early ejaculation. These can include psychological problems, including feelings of anxiety about sex, past trauma, bad early sexual experiences, and stress from work, school, or relationships with other people. Early ejaculation can also go hand-in-hand with performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction, depression, and psychotropic drug use. Low levels of serotonin are also thought to lead to early ejaculation.
If early ejaculation is linked to other health complaints, resolving these often fixes the ejaculation problem. Sex therapy, including the squeeze and stop-start techniques pioneered by Masters and Johnson and counseling may be beneficial, especially if it involves the person suffering from early ejaculation and his partner. Pharmacological treatments including topical desensitizing creams and sprays, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor therapy may also help treat early ejaculation.