1. Health
Cory Silverberg

Experts Come To Agreement on New Definition for Premature Ejaculation

By June 21, 2008

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In a move that, ironically, is long overdue a convened panel of “21 internationally-recognized experts” presented an evidence-based definition of premature ejaculation (PE) that has been adopted by the International Society for Sexual Medicine. The new definition reads,

“Premature ejaculation is a male dysfunction characterized by ejaculation which always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about one minute of vaginal penetration; and, inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations; and, negative personal consequences, such as distress, bother, frustration and or the avoidance of sexual intimacy.”

If this definition is adopted by researchers and considered for the updated DSM it would mark an important and positive shift in research on premature ejaculation. Unfortunately most of the research to date has relied on slightly different definitions of PE as well as different methods for assessing it before and after treatment methods. As a result it’s hard to take the current literature and draw any general conclusions.

The differences in PE definitions have often focused on which is more important, a specific time marker (e.g. ejaculation in less than X number of seconds or minutes) or the amount of distress experienced by the individual or couple. By including an approximate time marker but also including “negative personal consequences” this definition seems like a good compromise, especially if it gets researchers around the world on roughly the same page.

Another complaint with most previous definitions of PE is that they focus on vaginal intercourse, leaving out both men who have sex with men but also all men whose sexual practices extend to more than just penile-vaginal intercourse. While this point didn’t make it into the definition, according to the release accompanying the announcement, “the panel noted that the proposed definition would likely apply to men with PE who engage in sexual activities other than vaginal intercourse.” So at least they threw us a bone.

Premature ejaculation is thought to affect 20-30% of men and, according to the release may also affect 30% of men who go to their doctors with erectile dysfunction concerns. There is no known cause of PE and while behavioral and topical treatments already exist there is an intense search by pharmaceutical manufacturers to come up with a treatment (at least one that will be approved) similar to those developed for ED.

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Photo credit: Lawrence Lawry/Getty Images

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