Many people may identify this scene from the 1999 movie American Pie as one of the first times they were ever exposed to premature ejaculation. Although it’s been the subject of many punchlines — Eddie Murphy has joked about it — as many as one in three men ejaculate too fast, causing embarrassment and further psychological complications. But what exactly does it mean to ejaculate too fast? In an effort to clarify this, two new reports define it and offer guidelines to diagnose it.

“The lack of an evidence-based definition for acquired premature ejaculation promotes errors of classification, resulting in poorly defined study populations, and less reliable and harder-to-interpret data that are difficult to generalize to patients,” said Dr. Ege Can Serefoglu, of the Bagcilar Training and Research Hospital in Turkey, in a press release.

With no proper definition for acquired premature ejaculation — as opposed to lifelong premature ejaculation — the common definition has only been, “when a man has an orgasm sooner during intercourse than he or his partner wishes,” according to the National Institutes of Health. With such a vague definition, it could mean 30 seconds or one hour, depending on how long the man usually lasts. The researchers involved with the studies, which will be published in the journals Sexual Medicine and Journal of Sexual Medicine, proposed three criteria for diagnosis:

·         Ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about one minute of vaginal penetration from the first sexual experience (lifelong) or a clinically significant and bothersome reduction in latency time, often to about three minutes or less (acquired)

·         The inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations

·         Negative personal consequences, such as distress, bother, frustration, and/or the avoidance of sexual intimacy

“The unified definition of lifelong and acquired premature ejaculation will reduce errors of diagnosis and classification by providing the clinician with a discriminating diagnostic tool,” Serefoglu said in the statement. “It should form the basis for both the office diagnosis of premature ejaculation and the design of observational and interventional clinical trials.”

The diagnosis recommendations serve as a compass, providing clinicians with both a guideline for the condition as well as a strategy for evaluating psychological effects. About 50 percent of those who experience the condition admit that it’s caused them distress, according to Medscape. Beyond embarrassment, these men were likely to report less satisfaction with their sexual relationships, less interest in having sex, and avoidance of discussing sexual activity with their partners.

The issue, however, might actually be a nonissue. A study published this week found that out of over 1,500 women in Mexico, Italy, and South Korea, many were disappointed in the duration of sex not because their men didn’t last long, but because their men were so focused on themselves that they forgot they weren’t the only ones who needed pleasing.

Men who ejaculate too fast may want to try pelvic floor exercises, also known as kegels. A small study from last month found that the exercises were able to lengthen their sexual duration by at least an extra hundred seconds. If that fails too, they might want to avoid thinking too deeply into the situation, and focus more on pleasing their partners.

 

Sources: Serefoglu E, McMahon C, Waldinger M, et al. An Evidence-Based Unified Definition of Lifelong and Acquired Premature Ejaculation: Report of the Second International Society for Sexual Medicine Ad Hoc Committee for the Definition of Premature Ejaculation. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014.

Althof S, McMahon C, Waldinger M, et al. An Update of the International Society of Sexual Medicine's Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Premature Ejaculation (PE). Sexual Medicine. 2014.