Does it ever feel like it’s all over too quickly? You’re not alone: premature ejaculation (PE) is an incredibly common challenge faced by men around the world. But what if you normally have control, but you ejaculate prematurely only with certain women? If this is the case, you might be suffering from Variable Premature Ejaculation.
In the upcoming paragraphs we will talk more about this issue and what you can do to overcome it, but first let’s define PE and its causes.
What is Premature Ejaculation?
PE is a recognized male sexual disorder whereby a man struggles to control the timing of his ejaculation. What counts as premature? Some people with this condition ejaculate one minute into sex, whilst some ejaculate before penetration even occurs.
However, as a broad rule of thumb, ejaculations which happen in under 2 minutes are likely to be considered premature.
What other features characterize PE? This disorder comes in many different forms and has many different definitions. Yet, experts have concluded that most (if not all) instances of PE share these three features:
- Ejaculation occurs earlier than what is normally expected.
- There is a concern about control: men feel that they are unable to ejaculate when intended, and so it feels as if the sexual process controls them, rather than vice versa.
- Men with PE experience emotional distress as a result and often this impacts negatively on their relationships.
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What Causes PE?
What are some of the possible underlying causes which put someone at risk of developing PE? On a biological level, some people are more likely to develop PE due to inherited genetic factors.
Serotonin may also play a role: this is a chemical in the brain which is associated with feelings of happiness and which is involved in psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. This chemical is also involved when it comes to PE, as men who climax quickly often have lower levels of serotonin.
Often there is a learning behavioral problem, where a man learned to have sex in a way that led to PE, such as having sex near the parents’ bedroom while being afraid of getting caught.
Finally, there are many psychological factors which might underlie PE: stress, depression, past experiences of abuse, or performance anxiety around sex.
The Here And Now Cause of PE
But what about the here and now – the factors happening in moment that lead to PE and derive from these underlying causes? Sex is sort of like a hurricane. Consider the many processes which combine and interact: bodily functions, physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions.
When you build toward the moment of climax, these factors escalate into an exciting whirlwind of stimulations and sensations.
To build stamina during sex, you must learn to recognize the signs that the climax is near. This helps you to predict and control what’s happening – to make sure that your physical and mental processes are all coordinated so that you can tolerate the stimulation and prolong the orgasm.
By contrast, for people who struggle with premature ejaculation, these processes are out of sync! This means that you become overwhelmed by what is going on in your body and mind, which makes it harder for you to recognize the signs of climax and set in motion the steps necessary to prolong the entire process.
Once again, this is a common phenomenon and absolutely nothing to be ashamed about – it’s simply a matter of learning the skills which will help bring things under your control.
Could Dating the ‘Wrong’ Woman Cause PE? What is Variable PE?
With Variable PE, a man experiences early climaxes sporadically and inconsistently. For example, your ejaculation time might be ‘normal’ and under control at certain times, but premature and uncontrollable at others. You may find that you ejaculate prematurely only with specific partners.
PE can happen during sex with a new person, or when sex happens with a more intimidating partner who triggers performance anxiety. PE may also occur when a man has intercourse for the first time or when experiencing new and exciting sexual scenarios such as role plays.
Furthermore, many people tend to reach an early climax if they have abstained from having sex for a long time.
At the end of the day, however, these instances of PE come down to what is happening in the here-and-now: it’s all about recognizing and controlling the whirlwind of thoughts and feelings happening inside of you.
Should you avoid dating women who trigger your PE?
Some men experience PE more often when they are with a woman who seems to be dominant, very experienced, intimidating, or uncaring. In some cases men project these intimidating traits onto their sexual partners even without real evidence of their existence.
This can cause fear and anxiety that might lead to PE when this need not be the case. In other words, the PE is not triggered by specific personalities or characteristics, but rather by the way you have learnt to think and feel about sex and your sexual partners.
In this case you may benefit from seeking treatment and use these encounters as opportunities for personal growth.
Avoiding the women that trigger your PE will not resolve the problem. Rather, by confronting the issue head-on you have an opportunity to develop the skills that will empower you to prevent premature ejaculation.
Variable Premature Ejaculation: Just How Common is it?
It seems that PE is more common than most people would expect. A study of men in China showed that one in four have PE, whilst one in five Turkish men were shown to have this disorder.
On the other hand, in the United States a study showed that 78% of people had features of PE, whilst this figure was as high as 82.6% for the Middle East! The research suggests that PE can happen to any man, from any background or age group. What’s more, Variable PE is thought to be one of the most commonly occurring forms of PE.
While most of the studies exploring the prevalence of PE look at lifelong or acquired PE, research suggests that variable and subjective forms of PE are twice as common as the other forms!
Early ejaculations are to be expected from time-to-time. However, although some men are not particularly bothered by these ordinary fluctuations in ejaculation times, others find that this has a serious impact on their emotional well-being. In such cases, people may seek out treatment for Variable PE.
What Can a Man Do About PE?
Fortunately for men struggling with PE, there are a wide range of treatments available, ranging from short-term and temporary solutions to more intensive interventions which seek to address the root of the problem. Temporary solutions include desensitizing materials and medications.
For example, one way of managing PE involves applying a numbing gel to the penis just before sex. This reduces the stimulation of the penis, which can prolong orgasm by several minutes.
Antidepressant medications which alter the amount of serotonin in the brain can also help to make things last a bit longer. However, although these interventions can be helpful in the short-term, they often carry negative side-effects and might cause sex to become a less pleasurable experience.
On the other hand, behavioral treatment, which has been recommended by sex therapists for nearly half a century, can provide an independent long-term solution. Behavioral sex-therapy exercises train men to recognize the signs and signals that emerge just before an orgasm.
This sort of practice involves a series of special exercises where the man, for example, stimulating his own penis, or having this done by his partner, stops just before reaching climax.
In the process, he will develop an awareness and an ability to tolerate and control the whirlwind of sensations happening inside of him, thus helping him to prolong ejaculation and overcome PE.
In the words of the Premature Ejaculation Guidelines Committee, this sort of sex-therapy “offers men, women, and couples benefit, including the development of sexual skills, delay of ejaculation, improving relationship concerns, and sexual self-confidence.”
Premature Ejaculation is a challenge faced by men all over the world. Although it can cause serious emotional distress and relationship difficulties, this need not be the case! PE is an incredibly common disorder and is nothing to be ashamed of, as the causes of PE are usually out of a man’s control.
Fortunately, this a problem which can be overcome! As this article has shown, there are various options for treating PE, including behavioral sex-therapy, which represents one effective way of learning to delay orgasm and to improve one’s self-esteem and sense of self-control in the process.
About the author
Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist, practicing in Cape Town South Africa. He serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which offers the PE Program, an online home exercise program for treating premature ejaculation
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