Last updated: April 27, 2022 / By Ethan Green
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Having experienced the frustration of premature ejaculation myself, one of my main goals with this website is to discuss the different self-help and over the counter
On this overview page, I’ll first cover some of the background information about premature ejaculation that I personally found helpful to understand.
I’ll then discuss the different methods to tackle it that I’ve tried over the years. Please note that this article isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical advice; the ideas here are based on my own experience and extensive background reading.
I’ve tried to include a balanced mix of products you’d need to either get a prescription for or buy yourself and classic behavioral techniques that anyone can try.
I know it’s tempting to throw money at serious problems like premature ejaculation. I know because I did it myself! However, I think it’s good to be aware that you have options even if you’re on a tight budget. Many of the desensitizing products are relatively expensive, and it’s free to practice the behavioral techniques once you know how to do them.
- How many men have premature ejaculation?
- Definition and types of premature ejaculation
- What causes it?
- The different types of treatment
- What’s the best treatment?
1. How many men have premature ejaculation?
Understandably, not all men will talk to their doctor about premature ejaculation or be willing to admit to it in surveys, so it’s not easy to guage exactly how common it is.
Researchers in 2011 looked at a range of previous studies and found that the prevalence ranged from 4% and 39% of men, depending on the specific study.
More recently in 2021, another team of researchers suggested that it affects ‘20% to 30% of men in the sexually active age group’.
Whatever the true figure is, premature ejaculation is clearly a common issue.
2. Definition and types of premature ejaculation
The definition of premature ejaculation varies from one source to the next, but most experts refer to three main types:
- Lifelong PE – When it’s a problem from the very first sexual encounter. Usually, the man ejaculates in under a minute of penetrative sex.
- Acquired PE – When it becomes a problem after months or years of normal sex.
- Normal variable PE – This is the case for many men. Sometimes they ejaculate quickly, but other times last much longer.
In addition, there are some who argue that it’s a subjective problem. Even if a man lasts longer than three minutes, it could still be considered premature if he and/or his partner feel it is.
3. What causes it?
The Mayo Clinic states that the exact cause isn’t known. However, where once it was thought to be psychological, some medical experts now believe it ‘involves a complex interaction of psychological and biological factors.’
Some of those factors include:
- Abnormal hormonal or brain chemical levels.
- Inflammation or infection of the prostate or urethra.
- Early sexual experience, such as rushed masturbation.
- Sexual abuse.
- Poor body image.
- Guilt leading to rushed sex.
- Anxiety about lasting long enough.
- Anxiety about erectile dysfunction leading to rushed sex.
- Sex that’s too stimulating.
4. Which type of treatment?
Before discussing specific treatment options, it’s useful to look at the main categories. If you’re interested in self-help, your main options are:
- Topical anesthetics – Desensitizing sprays, creams, and condoms.
- Behavioral techniques – Techniques such as the stop and start method, kegels, and the squeeze technique.
- Medications – Available over the counter or online.
If you want to seek professional help, you have two main choices:
- Speak to your doctor – They might also recommend self-help. Additionally, they might offer counseling, prescription medication, or treatment for an underlying cause if appropriate.
- Speak to a counselor or therapist – If you feel that there’s a psychological cause, or it’s causing you personal distress and relationship problems.
5. What’s the best treatment?
There’s isn’t a single treatment that works equally well for all men. Some experts have suggested in studies that medical treatments, like antidepressants and delay sprays, are usually the most effective.
There’s also growing evidence that self-help behavioral techniques like the stop and start method can be effective. My personal experience has been very positive with these methods as well.
Even if you do choose the easier option of a delay spray or oral medication to start with, I recommend working on your control naturally too.
I’d also suggest that if you can handle the potential embarrassment, speaking to your doctor could be a great way to identify the cause and get any necessary treatment.
Self-help treatment options
1. Delay sprays / topical anesthetics
Delay sprays, referred to as topical anesthetics by the medical community, are an immediate and easy way to tackle premature ejaculation in my experience.
They aren’t a cure and need to be used every time you have sex, but for many men they work well.
The main advantages
- Available without a prescription.
- Used on demand when you have sex.
- Can take effect in as little as 5 to 10 minutes.
- Might help you last several minutes or more longer.
- Some can be used with oral sex and with or without a condom.
- They don’t always work for all men equally, so there’s no guarantee of success.
- They can sometimes cause too much numbing, leading to erection loss.
- Some can cause a tingling or burning sensation.
- You have to use them properly to avoid transference to your partner.
The spray I’ve personally found to be most effective is Promescent, which you can find at Promescent.com.
2. Behavioral techniques
There’s a surprisingly wide range of self-help techniques to stop premature ejaculation. Some simply involve changing the way you have sex, such as:
- Masturbate an hour before sex.
- Wear a condom.
- Spend less time in the missionary position or from behind.
- Have more foreplay and oral sex.
- Have sex more often.
Others involve specific techniques you’ll have to practice for longer, like the start and stop method, sensate focusing, kegels, and arousal control.
The main advantages
- It doesn’t involve medication.
- There are no ongoing costs.
- Usually safe as long as you practice the techniques correctly.
- There’s the chance of permanently stopping your premature ejaculation.
- If done right, you can have sex for much longer, not just a few minutes.
- Changing the way you have sex can be very positive for you and your partner.
- It might not work if there is a physical or psychological cause that needs specific treatment.
- It can take time and dedication to see the best results.
You can find information about these techniques widely online, including on this site (see the useful articles below).
If you’d like a more complete guide, take a look at my book reviews below in which I discuss some popular sexual stamina guides.
Premature ejaculation book reviews
First of all, I should mention that I’m not a doctor. So my knowledge about the drug treatments is based on personal experience and research.
From my understanding, there are a few different categories of oral medical treatment:
- Antidepressants. These are sometimes prescribed by doctors for men with PE.
- Dapoxetine (Priligy). This was originally intended to be another antidepressant but ended up becoming an approved medication in some countries.
- Tramadol. This is a strong painkiller, which seems to help some men with premature ejaculation. There are serious concerns regarding side effects and dependency.
- Erectile dysfunction drugs. For some men, drugs like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) can help with ejaculation control. Side effects can be an issue.
- Herbal and other remedies. Often based on the traditional medicine of different cultures around the world. Sometimes the ingredients appear in products sold online. Again, side effects can be a problem, and they aren’t all thoroughly tested because they tend to be sold as supplements, which bypasses the need for clinical trials.
Advantages of oral medication
- Some are proven in clinical trials to work, often adding several minutes to the lasting time.
- You can take them discreetly on an ongoing basis, so your partner doesn’t need to know about it.
- No techniques to practice – it’s an instant fix.
- They can cause side effects, some of which can be serious, including other types of sexual dysfunction.
- You need to get a prescription from your doctor for some of them.
- They won’t cure the problem, so you need to take them on an ongoing basis.
I can understand why oral medication will appeal to some men. I had some success with them personally, so I know they can help and with minimal effort.
However, I’ve also had some side effects when trying them. I recommend weighing up the pros and cons carefully before taking any strong medication, and discussing it with your doctor rather than buying them online from websites that aren’t well established and trusted.
Because I’m not a doctor, I don’t feel comfortable recommending medication. I think it’s a personal choice best discussed with a medical professional.
However, you can read about my experience of testing some of them below:
Tramadol for premature ejaculation
4. Other options
I’ve covered many of the main treatment choices above, but there are a couple of other options worth considering in addition to those.
Delay condoms work on a similar principle to delay sprays and creams, but with even more desensitizing due to the condom itself.
Durex, Trojan, and Pasante all make them, adding a little benzocaine to the inside of the condom, which will activate with body heat.
In my experience, they work well, but can cause erection loss and less pleasure due to the strong numbing effect.
You can find Durex Performax and Trojan extended climax control in many pharmacies, adult stores and even some supermarkets.
Tips for using condoms without losing your erection
Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit
If you’re single or live alone, it can help to practice ejaculation control techniques with a sex toy. If nothing else, you’ll be more accustomed to intense physical stimulation when you next have sex.
I used the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit and found it very helpful when practicing the start and stop technique. The intense stimulation is a good challenge and it makes the training sessions more realistic.
I recommend checking out their official website Fleshlight.com if you’d like to try one.
You can also read my review of the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit to find out more.
Master the art of oral sex
For me personally, improving the skill of oral sex was one of the best ways to deal with premature ejaculation, and to be a more rounded lover in general.
Getting better at this is as easy as learning some good techniques and then simply deciding to do it more, and do it better. Then no matter how long you last during sex, you’ll always have a way to make your partner happy.
Read tips for giving a woman oral sex
The key to overcoming premature ejaculation for me was to be willing to engage in a lot of trial and error.
There are many desensitizing products you can try, and they are available all around the world. And it’s easy to get hold of a guide to the behavioral techniques and start learning control naturally.
So, you have the short-term and the long-term approach, which I think are equally important.
If you need something that will immediately improve your love life, you can use one of the temporary desensitizing options. Then consider working on the problem naturally to see if you can stop it once and for all.