Dr Ciara Kelly: 'Don't ignore Premature Ejaculation (PE)- the time has come to treat it'
It's the centenary of the Rising, and as if there wasn't enough innuendo in that, there's also a barrage of cannons parading down O' Connell Street - which has made me decide to talk today about premature ejaculation (PE).
PE is an unfortunate condition because not only can it affect your sex life adversely - but men find it embarrassing, too. Which means they often don't seek help for it, and the embarrassment further feeds into difficulties with sex. People often shy away from sex if they feel it's not going to go well for any reason.
There's a variety of ways to define PE, but all of them have in common a short ejaculation time (always or nearly always less than one minute), a lack of control over, and an inability to delay, ejaculation and a lack of sexual satisfaction.
If both partners are satisfied with their sex lives, then, truth be told, it really doesn't matter how long it takes until ejaculation. The difficulty arises when that isn't the case. And PE often results in personal distress, frustration and the avoidance of sex.
It's hard to get a figure for the number of men who experience PE, but it's thought to be around one in five. And risk factors for it include anxiety around sex, so it tends to affect younger men, who will grow out of it over time. Certain drugs such as cocaine can cause it, as can certain urological or neurological conditions. There are medications you can take to treat it, and there are lots of things you can do yourself in your sex life to reduce the likelihood of PE and learn how to defer ejaculation.
First up - have more sex or masturbate more. PE tends to occur more often if there are longer gaps between episodes of sex, so ejaculating more frequently helps slow things down. Second, wear a condom. Condoms reduce sensation, which means it takes you longer to reach climax.
Sexual positions can affect ejaculation. So, for instance, sex with the woman on top reduces the likelihood of it happening. Stop-go techniques can help. This involves sexual stimulation that brings you to the brink of orgasm but then stops. These can take a while to master, but they do work over time. Up to half of men with lifelong PE have a short frenulum at the head of their penis, which a minor surgical procedure can fix. So all men who have lifelong PE should be examined to rule this out.
If you've given all that a lash and you're still having difficulties, go see your GP. There are medications that are very effective at slowing down ejaculation - both giving you more confidence and making sex more enjoyable. Some of them you have to take every day but some you only have to take on days when you're going to have sex. They work. They have minimal-side effects and they can be game-changing.
The beauty of a health column is that I get to talk about stuff for which people don't like to seek help. And the bottom line is that PE affects lots of men, and can be distressing for the men involved and their partners. There are lots of very effective non-medication and medication-based treatments, so no one needs to be out there struggling with this on their own. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Sunday Indo Living