Premature ejaculation is usually an unmistakable experience to a man or his partner, but through the years it has been difficult for professionals to agree on a precise definition of this common sexual concern. As Helen Kaplan, M.D. and other professionals point out, this phenomenon may occur because the man is unable to recognize that he is about to ejaculate. And even when he does recognize he is approaching ejaculation, he feels he is unable to control or delay the process.

Ejaculation is a reflex that, once a certain level of stimulation is reached, is automatic. Controlling the ejaculatory reflex requires that the man be able to recognize and regulate the amount of stimulation he is experiencing so that he does not reach the level that will trigger the ejaculatory reflex before he wants to.

Point of No Return

There is a point of no return, called the point of inevitability, beyond which ejaculation will automatically occur. So, to delay an ejaculation the man must learn to control the amount of arousing stimulation he receives so that he does not reach the point of inevitability before he is ready.

Men who experience premature ejaculation frequently question their masculinity and lose confidence in their sexual performance, which often leads to feelings of lowered self-esteem. The term "premature ejaculator" itself implies that the man is somehow "underdeveloped" or "not fully mature".

Therapists, when talking about this condition, generally prefer the term "rapid ejaculator", but this too, although less belittling, still has some implication that the man is defective or to blame. In fact, the issue of interest is not at all about the person but about the outcome, the earlier than desired ejaculation.

Early ejaculation, and a man's (or his partner's) associated negative feelings about the experience, can often lead to increasing preexisting communication issues in the relationship.

Other Sexual Problems

In some cases, early ejaculation and the emotional feelings surrounding the experience, if not discussed openly and constructively, can lead to serious relational conflicts and more sexual problems, like erectile difficulties and decreased sexual desire by one or both partners.

Early ejaculation occurs in men of all ages and of all socioeconomic backgrounds. It has been reported in men who have no psychological problems as well as in those who are suffering from extreme stress and anxiety.

In most cases of early ejaculation the man has a history of concern and worry about his ability to control his ejaculation dating back many years, often to his first sexual relationship or before.