Coming too soon: Lifting the lid on premature ejaculation
More prevalent than erectile dysfunction or ED which has increasingly become a hot topic in recent years, premature ejaculation or PE is the most common male sexual dysfunction. Yet very few couples and even fewer men dare speak about it. The Asia-Pacific Premature Ejaculation Prevalence and Attitudes Study, the largest study of its kind to date, found that more than half (57 percent) of Filipino men aged 18 to 35 and over one in five (22 percent) Filipinos aged 36 to 45 suffer from premature ejaculation.
Men typically experience orgasm and expel semen within 4 to 8 minutes after the start of sexual intercourse. A man with PE climaxes soon after sexual activity and with minimal penile stimulation (madali o mabilis labasan as the condition is described in the vernacular).
PE can put a heavy emotional burden on a man, producing strong negative feelings of shame, inferiority, low self-esteem and inadequacy, even emasculation, particularly for failing to satisfy his partner. However, PE is a couple’s problem. It negatively affects intimacy and leaves couples feeling there is “something missing” in their relationship. Men with PE are often reluctant to discuss their condition or are in denial. Fearing they would hurt the man’s feelings, women avoid raising the topic. This communication gap hinders PE diagnosis and treatment. Left untreated, PE can cause relationship stress or, worse, end a relationship.
The exact cause of PE remains unknown. In the past, PE was thought to be “all in the head” or just psychological. We now know that PE is multifactorial, involving a complex interplay of both psychological and biological factors.
Fortunately, PE can be successfully treated. However, it is important to point out that PE must first be diagnosed before it can be treated. A man and his partner need to acknowledge the problem, and together commit to its treatment. Effective treatment options include medications, psychological counseling and sexual techniques that delay ejaculation. For many men, a combination of treatments works best.
By talking openly about and shedding light on a condition long considered a “taboo subject,” the PE-P Talk column series aims to raise public awareness on PE and help enhance its diagnosis and treatment. PE is treatable. With commitment and in partnership with their medical team, couples can overcome PE and continue to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling relationship.
Dr. Eduardo R. Gatchalian is a urologist and past president of the Philippine Urology Association. A health information advocacy supported by Menarini Philippines, PE-P Talk is a column series that aims to raise awareness on and enhance understanding of premature ejaculation and its proper diagnosis and treatment. For inquiries, please e-mail [email protected] or visit www.controlPE.ph.
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