Each time it happens, you feel defeated. Like you have lost the race.
You feel like you are the only one without the ability to control their ejaculation.
She looks confused about what just happened.
But let’s be honest, every man will have premature ejaculation once in their life.
Premature ejaculation or PE is more common than you think.
Read on to see just how common premature ejaculation really is.
How common is premature ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation is when a man climaxes and has an orgasm before he is ready to have one. It can also be described at PE or quick ejaculation.
It can happen in the build-up to penetrative sexual activity or moments after the penis has entered the vaginal canal. Quick ejaculation is sure to cause a lot of distress for both the man and his partner.
For some men, quick ejaculation can start at right from when they became sexually active, whereas others develop it much later in life. The former is referred to lifelong premature ejaculation while the latter is termed acquired premature ejaculation.
Even in men with normal sexual lives, there are instances when they lose control over their orgasms. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have premature ejaculation. However, if they ejaculate prematurely frequently, this might be a cause for concern.
But just how many men go through this ego-deflating phenomenon of quick ejaculation?
What is the state of premature ejaculation prevalence rates?
The numbers that are floated by experts about the prevalence of premature ejaculation aren’t absolute truths. Rather, they are a representation of how common premature ejaculation is.
A third of the men involved have problems with premature ejaculation, making it the most common sexual complaint by men1. However, prevalence rates of PE range from 30 percent to 3 percent if you look through several studies.
These numbers vary greatly because of the intense shame associated with the condition. They also vary because of the way the data is collected.
Some of the prevalence rates of premature ejaculation are based on self-reported cases. Others are based on extrapolations from a particular population or geographical area. Yet still, other figures are collected from clinical studies – many of which aren’t representative of the male population.
What’s more baffling is the fact that the number of men with premature ejaculation also varies because the definition for the condition is not standard across the board.
Some men are not concerned with quick ejaculation so they never report it. Others are not aware it is a medical condition with treatment options so they suffer in silence.
There are various organizations and associations of experts that have different definitions for the premature ejaculation.
- The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM)
- American Urological Association
- American Psychiatric Association
- European Association of Urology
- Pan Arab Society of Sexual Medicine
They also have different guidelines for the diagnosis of the condition. This means that one can have PE according to one definition and not have it when subjected to another definition of the condition.
However, the ISSM set up an independent committee made up of experts so that the definition of PE and the diagnosis guidelines can become standard. This also ensures that the numbers paint a clearer picture relating to the prevalence of premature ejaculation.
So, how common is premature ejaculation? Let’s take a look.
How common is premature ejaculation across the globe?
Experts have conducted various studies2 to determine how widespread PE is. The different research methods include sourcing information via:
- internet questionnaires
- mailed questionnaires
- web-based surveys
- surveying married couples
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The All India Institute of Medical Sciences conducted research on 1000 patients. Of these, 77.6 percent complained of premature ejaculation8.
However, you should note that this is not exactly representative of the entire Indian male population.
According to the National Health Portal run by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, nearly 30 percent of men suffer from PE. The condition is more common in men who are pushing 40. At this age bracket, the condition is likely to cause a lot of problems in marriages.
Data collected by the Global Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors through an extensive study of close to 30,000 people found that approximately 30 percent of men across all age groups faced premature ejaculation3.
However, the Premature Ejaculation Prevalence and Attitude Survey found that the prevalence figures among men aged 18 to 70 years were slightly lower at 22.7 percent. The figures were similar across different countries.
PE in the United States alone was at 24 percent whereas both Germany and Italy had prevalence rates of 20 percent.
The Brazilian Sexual Life Study also examined the number of men who reported to have premature ejaculation. The rates were in line with the previous studies; the prevalence in Brazil was 25.8 percent among just over 3000 men.
All the above studies and surveys relied on the men self-reporting that they had the condition.
However, a study conducted in Canada also took into consideration the reports by the female partners. This study followed the definitions and guidelines set by the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Published by the American Psychiatric Society, this manual defined premature ejaculation as having poor to fair control over ejaculation and achieving climax was a problem.
This Canadian study found that in men aged 18 to 60, only 16 percent experienced premature ejaculation. The female counterparts reported a lower figure of men with PE – between 9 and 14 percent.
Within this study, it was found that the condition was more prevalent (18 percent) in the older subjects (55 to 64 years). In the younger age bracket (18 to 24 years), the rate of PE was 12 percent.
In a study covering 5 countries, researchers focused on the intravaginal ejaculation latency time as defined by the ISSM4. 474 men from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Spain and Turkey took part.
The study showed that prevalence rates based solely on this definition were between 1 to 3 percent. Although significantly lower than in the previous studies, these numbers correlate with those seen in men who go to get treatment.
The Asia-Pacific arm of Janssen Pharmaceutica funded a study covering 5000 men in nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region. By utilizing a 5-question premature ejaculation diagnostic tool (PEDT) survey, they found that about 13 to 15 percent of the men had PE5.
In a study conducted in South Korea, researchers used a PEDT, self-reporting and stopwatch to time IELT. From these methods, they determined the prevalence of PE was 11.3 percent, 19.5 percent and 3 percent respectively6.
The Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine published research that stated the prevalence of PE in the country was at 31.7 percent7.
So, what causes premature ejaculation in such a significant number of men?
In general, the studies mentioned above have done much to peel back the layers on the prevalence of premature ejaculation. However, there is much about the condition that remains unclear.
There are, however, some causes that have been attributed to premature ejaculation.
- Serotonin levels in the body
- Psychological problems
- Associated factors
1. Serotonin levels
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the body that is responsible for a variety of processes. It is mainly associated with feeling good.
When it comes to sexual intercourse, it is believed that high amounts of serotonin result in taking longer to get an orgasm.
However, when the levels of the neurotransmitter are low, you are more likely to climax prematurely.
2. Psychological problems
Many of the causes of premature ejaculation are psychological. They mainly center on anxiety, depression and their related disorders.
- performance anxiety
- fear of rejection by a sexual partner
- problems in the relationship
- unrealistic sexual expectations
- low self-esteem
3. Associated factors
Some causes of premature ejaculation are hinged to the prevailing situation in your life. For example, your inability to last long before ejaculating can be because of your age. It can also be because of the status of your relationship with your partner.
As you grow older, your ability to get and maintain an erection reduces. Consequently, your ability to last longer before you reach orgasm also reduces. As we saw from the studies in the earlier sections, men in the older age bracket are more likely to have premature ejaculation.
Another factor that plays into your ability to hold off an orgasm till you’re ready is your relationship with your partner. For example, you might be having relationship problems and therefore do not attempt to delay your quick ejaculation.
In this instance, you might not be focused on pleasing her during intercourse and instead just go through the motions and ejaculate early.
The problem with PE caused by how you relate to your partner is that you become locked in a vicious cycle. The PE makes you resent each other because there’s reduced intimacy and satisfaction in the relationship.
How to diagnose premature ejaculation
Diagnosing quick ejaculation isn’t easy because some crucial variables are relative. Chief among these is the intravaginal ejaculatory period. There isn’t a specified time that is considered as the normal period before ejaculation.
Nevertheless, there are some steps that doctors follow to determine if you have premature ejaculation9.
- Getting the man’s medical and sexual history
- Determining if it’s lifelong PE or acquired PE
- Does it occur all the time or in certain situations?
- Getting the partner’s take on the situation and its effects on the relationship
- Searching for other coexisting sexual health problems like erectile dysfunction, low libido or testosterone deficiency.
- Physical examination of the sexual organ
- Identifying probable causes like neurological, endocrine or psychosexual
At the end of this process, the doctor can conclude if you have premature ejaculation or not. If you have PE, your medical professional will recommend some interventions to help you and your partner.
Where to from here?
If you believe you have premature ejaculation, you aren’t alone. It can be caused by your levels of serotonin, psychological problems or other associated factors. According to the studies, up to 1 in 3 men suffers from the condition.
However, only 1 to 3 percent ever broach the subject with their doctor. The doctor runs through a checklist to ensure that it is a consistent problem you are having and not a one-off.
Once a cause has been found, treatment is relatively easy. The hard part is taking the first step.
- Rosen, R.C., 2000. Prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction in men and women. Current Psychiatry Reports, 2(3), pp.189-195. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-996-0006-2
- Saitz, T.R. and Serefoglu, E.C., 2016. The epidemiology of premature ejaculation. Translational andrology and urology, 5(4), p.409. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5001986/
- Waldinger, M.D., McIntosh, J. and Schweitzer, D.H., 2009. A five‐nation survey to assess the distribution of the intravaginal ejaculatory latency time among the general male population. The journal of sexual medicine, 6(10), pp.2888-2895.
- McMahon, C.G., Lee, G., Park, J.K. and Adaikan, P.G., 2012. Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction prevalence and attitudes in the Asia‐Pacific region. The journal of sexual medicine, 9(2), pp.454-465. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22023395
- Lee, S.W., Lee, J.H., Sung, H.H., Park, H.J., Park, J.K., Choi, S.K. and Kam, S.C., 2013. The prevalence of premature ejaculation and its clinical characteristics in Korean men according to different definitions. International journal of impotence research, 25(1), p.12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22931761
- Hassan, M.R., Samsuri, M.F., Shah, S.A., Safian, N. and Md, Z., 2017. Prevalence of Premature Ejaculation and Erectile Dysfunction and their associated factors among urban and rural population of Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine, 17(3), pp.86-96. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322048727_Prevalence_of_Premature_Ejaculation_and_Erectile_Dysfunction_and_their_associated_factors_among_urban_andrural_population_of_Malaysia
- Verma, K.K., Khaitan, B.K. and Singh, O.P., 1998. The frequency of sexual dysfunctions in patients attending a sex therapy clinic in north India. Archives of sexual behavior, 27(3), pp.309-314. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1018607303203
- Jannini, E.A., Maggi, M. and Lenzi, A., 2011. Evaluation of premature ejaculation. The journal of sexual medicine, 8, pp.328-334.