Premature ejaculation (PE), where a man or person with a penis ejaculates before they or their partner has been able to enjoy sex, is really common. As many as one in five men experience early ejaculation at some point in their lives. Experts believe it’s also hugely underreported, as the embarrassment and stigma associated with PE can prevent people seeking medical help. It affects men and penis-having people of all ages, but premature ejaculation is also present in teenagers. This is known as teenage premature ejaculation.
What is teenage premature ejaculation?
Dr Earim Chaudry, medical director at Manual, says statistics around PE differ. ‘Most sources use anywhere from 30 seconds to four minutes to climax as a sign that someone might be experiencing PE,’ he explains.
But PE is not just about how long it takes before someone ejaculates. ‘What is also important in the definition is if the individual feels that their ejaculation time is insufficient for them to experience enjoyable sex. PE becomes a medical problem when it happens so frequently that it interferes with the sexual pleasure of someone and their partner.’
How common is teenage premature ejaculation?
According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes, 4.5% of young men aged between 16-21 reported that the most common sexual problem that caused distress was climaxing ‘too quickly’.
Daniel Sher, clinical psychologist and a consultant at Between Us Clinic, points to another recent survey that found 34% of young men aged between 16 and 21 experience sexual difficulties, including PE. Another study found PE is the most common form of sexual dysfunction in young men, affecting nearly half (41.9%) of the adolescents interviewed.
Sher says, ‘The second most common form of sexual dysfunction was performance anxiety, affecting 32.6% of the young men. There is often a significant overlap between PE and performance anxiety – and the two are likely to reinforce one another.’
Causes of teenage premature ejaculation
As Dr Shirin Lakhani, of Elite Aesthetics, points out, many people mistakenly believe teenage premature ejaculation is caused by masturbating too quickly, or not having enough sex. ‘The good news is that it usually resolves with age, so it is usually nothing to worry about. Premature ejaculation is seen as a rite of passage of many teenage boys and it is very rarely a sign of a serious health problem,’ she says. But Sher adds that the impact that this condition can have on a teenagers’s emotional wellbeing shouldn’t be underestimated. ‘If PE is causing a lot of distress, you should seek out treatment sooner rather than later, regardless of your age,’ he advises.
Murray Blackett, psychosexual therapist, and College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) specialist on mens' issues, says teenage premature ejaculation is thought to be a result of a number of factors that affect people’s lives. These include ‘lack of knowledge about sex and the body, lack of sexual experience, poor self perceptions of body and/or attractiveness, lack of experience in relationships and the possible interference from masturbation – either porn-related or not – or early sexual experiences.’
When it comes to teenage premature ejaculation during masturbation, Blackett says there are factors other than sexual pleasure that influence the moment. ‘Time taken, setting, porn usage, living arrangements, attitudes to sex, cultural norms, etc.’ He says that in some settings, a teenager’s primary objective might be to masturbate, but to get it over with as soon as possible. ‘Being found out, guilt, living arrangements, other’s opinions might be factors in this need for speed. Speed in this context does not transfer well into ejaculatory control when with a partner - nor do feelings of guilt, shame, cultural taboos, lack of experience or inadequacy,’ he adds.
Porn and unrealistic expectations
The need or desire to take a long time to ejaculate is something that has been gradually incorporated in our learning process, especially through pornography, which creates unrealistic sexual expectations, says Dr Eduard García-Cruz, a urologist at Healthy Pleasure Lab.
‘Sex is really a playful time to have fun, to take care of yourself and your partner, pamper yourself and your partner sexually. It’s more about sharing than reaching goals (i.e. orgasm),’ he says. ‘Teenagers need to know that sex is not about having the perfect performance, but rather feeling pleasure and being erotically creative, and that it has little to do with how long it lasts. Wanting to control how long they last only ends in anxiety and worry during a time when they should be enjoying themselves.’
Treatment for teenage premature ejaculation
There are a number of medical and personal ways you can treat teenage premature ejaculation.
Relaxation and communication techniques
‘These are commonly used to help premature ejaculation,’ Chaudry says. ‘By improving communication and leveraging relaxation techniques, you can improve control over the sexual stimulation that causes you to ejaculate.’
‘Delay wipes and topical gels are also designed to treat sensitivity on the penis,’ he says, ‘and doctors may also recommend topical creams, which are designed to reduce sensitivity on a local level.’
He says over time, teenagers experiencing premature ejaculation may naturally start to find they last longer. ‘Often PE resolves as men become more comfortable with their partners and gain better psychological control over their sexual performance (and using relaxation and distraction techniques).’
Dr Simran Deo, from online doctor Zava UK, says there are at-home solutions that can help in the short term, like wearing an extra thick condom to decrease sensitivity.
Deo says masturbating for a little while before you are planning to have sex, can also help.
By ‘taking breaks during sex and thinking about something not arousing during sex’, Deo says you can minimise the chance of early ejaculation.
The squeeze method
Deo also recommends trying what's referred to as 'the squeeze method'. ‘This is where the tip of the penis is gently squeezed by yourself or your partner close to the time of ejaculation.’
Blackett says he hears similar accounts from both his teenage clients experiencing premature ejaculation, and those in their 20s and 30s. ‘It makes me think that if a teenage male experiences PE, it is very possible that the issue might persist into later life,’ he adds. To redress this, he recommends starting counselling as early as possible.
‘The more understanding men have of their bodies and how they relate to partners – sexually and interpersonally – the better. Unproductive habits can become ingrained and the more difficult the issues are to deal with (physical, attitudinal or cultural) the more persistent they can become. Though they can be overcome with the right help,’ he adds.
Medications such as SSRIs and non-SSRI antidepressants have successfully been used to treat premature ejaculation.
Deo recommends over 18s speak to their GP about medications that can delay ejaculation, such as Priligy – an oral medication that contains the active ingredient dapoxetine. ‘When taken three to four hours before sex, people who normally ejaculate within two minutes of starting sexual intercourse find it helps them to last longer and have better control over ejaculation.’
Deo suggests EMLA – a topical anaesthetic cream that can be rubbed onto the penis to numb any sensation felt, therefore reducing the chances of premature ejaculation. It contains two local anaesthetics (lidocaine and prilocaine) and should be applied 15 minutes before having sex.
Another topical anaesthetic Deo recommends is Fortacin spray. Like EMLA, it contains the anaesthetics, but is available in spray form. ‘A dose of three sprays is required to cover the head of the penis. Studies have shown it is effective within five minutes of application. With both EMLA and Fortacin spray once the numb sensation is felt, the cream should be washed off before intercourse so your partner is not impacted by the effects of the treatments.’
Last updated: 11-05-2020
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