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What Are the Psychological Reasons Behind Premature Ejaculation

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Many men suffer, and I mean suffer, from premature ejaculation. Getting your rocks off in 30 seconds might sound like fun, but the sense of guilt and failure to satisfy your partner can be overwhelming.

There is no single cause behind every instance of a lack of staying power because men who present with premature ejaculation fall into different subtypes.

Physical vs psychological 

Premature ejaculation (PE) is as complex as any other health issue, so it is no surprise that medical professionals have different opinions as to the relative importance of physical and psychological factors behind the condition.

If it comes down to being too sensitive then using a topical spray for lasting longer can be your first course of action. These sprays are safe and non-systemic, so they have no side effects. They are even available over the counter or online.

Psychological causes are more difficult to treat, and certainly require you to consult a medical professional.

Life-long vs acquired premature ejaculation

Let’s start by defining premature ejaculation: Ejaculation usually occurs within one minute of vaginal penetration. Male physiology means that ejaculation leads immediately to a flaccid penis, so coitus comes to an end, even if the woman needs more stimulation to achieve her own climax.

  • Life-long PE is where a man has always ejaculated very quickly ever since becoming sexually active. Lifelong premature ejaculation often arises from a fear of being caught masturbating as a teenager, sexual abuse as a child, or an unhealthy fear of sex caused by poor parenting.
  • Acquired PE is where a man has developed the condition after previously been able to delay ejaculation for at least the usual three to five minutes of vaginal/penile stimulation. If premature ejaculation is a new issue in your life then you need to look back and wok out when it started. This will help you to understand and treat the cause. It might be related to depression or issues you are having as a couple.
  • Variable PE. If your premature ejaculation is an occasional event then it doesn’t require medical intervention. None of us are machines. An automaton could time its ejaculation perfectly so it always happened after so many minutes and so many seconds. To vary is human. Relax and stop stressing about the occasional mishap: These things happen and any loving couple just move on without becoming overly concerned.
  • Subjective PE.  You may be able to last longer than a minute after penetration, but want to last longer so you both get more pleasure from the act. You might be dissatisfied with your staying power, but doctors don’t count that as premature ejaculation because it doesn’t fit the rather arbitrary definition that medical professionals work with.

Doctors saying, ‘You don’t have a problem, so you don’t need a solution,’ is less than helpful. Rather, if you or your partner think you have a problem, then there is a problem. It’s just one you will have to solve between you. Try varying your foreplay, possibly prioritising stroking and kissing over contact with the male genital area, try different positions that provide the woman with more stimulation, and most importantly, relax and have fun.

Lovemaking involves the brains of the participants more than their reproductive organs. The male sexual organs may be less complex than female ones, but things still go wrong, especially when your brain is involved as well as your genitalia.

Summing up

Many men are embarrassed by their premature ejaculation issues and are reluctant to seek help. Doctors have heard it all many times before so any discomfort you feel is unnecessary. There could be physical reasons such as high blood pressure, or an enlarged prostate gland behind your PE, so get yourself checked out and stop pretending it will sort itself out in time. 

Subjective premature ejaculation is common, and is often the result of ‘performance anxiety’. You are making love to the special woman in your life, who loves you.

You are never performing and she loves you regardless of how satisfying a particular love-making session happens to be.

Yes, you want her to get the most out of it, but you and your loving partner can work through any anxiety issues together. Introducing a numbing spray into your foreplay often works well because if you are less sensitive, sex will last longer, and give you both more satisfaction in the end.


Image credit: Freepik

Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of  Edinburgh.

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