5 Common Premature Ejaculation Myths, Debunked

There’s a lot of information about PE available online, but determining which parts are true and which are misconceptions can be difficult. This article exposes common PE myths so you can be free of misinformation surrounding the condition.

Published: Tuesday 04 October 2022

PE Myths: Debunked

Premature ejaculation (PE) is one of the most common sexual conditions for men globally. It’s been defined by the NHS as ‘where a man ejaculates (comes) too quickly during sexual intercourse’. However, when determining what amount of time constitutes ‘too quickly’, the answers are a lot more varied. Some guidelines define PE as ‘not being able to ejaculate for more than 3 minutes after penetration’, but ultimately it’s up to each individual on whether or not they are content with the length of their intercourse [1]. In regards to how long it takes men to ejaculate during intercourse on average, a study that reviewed 500 couples across 5 different countries found the average time taken was around 5-and-a-half minutes [2].

With the definition being somewhat vague, combined with sensitivity around discussing the condition, this has led to many myths about premature ejaculation being spread.

Myth #1: PE is purely a psychological problem

Whilst it’s true that PE can have psychological causes, such as stress, depression, relationship issues and anxiety, PE is by no means solely caused by these issues. The condition can also be caused by a range of physical and neurobiological factors, including:

  • Low or irregular levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain
  • Swelling and/or infection of the prostate or urethra
  • Increased sensitivity of penile tissues
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol intake or use of recreational drugs

Myth #2: PE only affects younger people

This is one of the most widespread misconceptions around the condition - that PE typically affects younger men who may be sexually less experienced, and as they grow older this will change. This is not true at all - PE can affect men of all ages and at any point throughout their lives. Being young or inexperienced sexually is not a sure sign that you will be affected by the condition. A survey in Germany, 2012 looked at 2,459 men between the ages of 18-64 who suffered from PE [3]. The results showed that the age group with the most men experiencing PE was 35-44 year olds (23.3%), closely followed by 45-54 year olds (23%). The age group of 18-24 year olds was recorded as having the lowest percentage of PE, at 14.6%.

Myth #3: PE can be treated with Viagra

Although Viagra is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), many men believe it also serves as an effective treatment for PE - this is not the case as the conditions PE and ED differ in many ways. The active ingredient in Viagra, Sildenafil, treats erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue of the penis, so it becomes easier to achieve and maintain an erection. When it comes to PE, it is unlikely that this treatment will have any effect on the time taken to ejaculate.

One popular and effective PE treatment is Priligy - an oral medication containing the active ingredient dapoxetine hydrochloride, which belongs to the collection of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Priligy works by delaying the ejaculation reflex signal to the brain via the sympathetic nervous system, which then influences the amount of serotonin that reaches the brain. By doing this, the breakdown of serotonin in the body is regulated so levels remain higher than normal to prevent early ejaculation.

An alternative treatment option for PE to Priligy is STUD100. This is a desensitising spray that contains the active ingredient Lidocaine - a local anaesthetic which aims to treat PE by reducing the sensitivity of the penile tissues. It’s known to significantly increase the length of intercourse by prolonging the time before ejaculation.

There are also other ways to treat PE, including behavioural techniques and psychological assistance.

Myth #4: People with PE experience it all the time

Again, this is another PE myth that often circulates. In most cases, experiencing PE is a situational occurrence, meaning although someone can experience it at one time, they may not experience it again due to differences in the circumstances surrounding their intercourse. For example, you may experience it one time due to ongoing stressors around your relationship. However once these issues have been resolved or in a relationship with a different person, you might not experience it.

Myth #5: PE doesn't affect many people

Due to the sensitive nature of conditions like PE, receiving a diagnosis can often feel isolating, but in actual fact PE is very prevalent across the globe. According to the American Urological Association, PE is the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men, and according to a 2019 study, it’s thought that it may affect as many as 20-30% of men, irrespective of age or ethnicity [4]. As mentioned earlier, this number could actually be even higher due to the global variation in the condition’s definition and due to men not wanting to disclose their condition to others.

Amber Mitchell-Hanna

Written by: Amber Mitchell-Hanna

Pharmica Medical Writer

Amber is an experienced writer and content specialist, graduating from De Montfort University with an LLB & an MA in Investigative Journalism.

She particularly enjoys creating informative health content, debunking medical misconceptions, and championing inclusion and diversity.

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