A new study out of the Sapienza University of Rome has found that pelvic floor exercises can help treat men with lifelong premature ejaculation, a condition that causes ejaculation within one minute of having sex, according to the International Society of Sexual Medicine.
At the beginning of the 12-week study, which was presented at the European Congress of Urology in Stockholm, the men’s average ejaculation time was 31.7 seconds. After the 40 participants, aged 19 to 46, tried pelvic floor exercises over the course of 12 weeks, however, the average ejaculation time had increased to 146.2 seconds — nearly four times the average at the start.
Premature ejaculation is typically classified as either lifelong or acquired. Lifelong premature ejaculation lasts consistently over a lifetime, which can cause emotional and psychological issues as well as the avoidance of sex completely. Acquired premature ejaculation, meanwhile, usually begins gradually. The condition can cause plenty of anxiety and chagrin among both the men who suffer from it as well as their partners. But it’s somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” conundrum: Does anxiety cause premature ejaculation, or does the condition cause anxiety?
There is usually not one cause behind premature ejaculation, but rather a number of factors. “Some believe anxiety is the culprit, repetitive learned behaviors, excessive or insufficient arousal, or muscular tension,” Dr. Hernando Chaves writes on Ask Men. “They’re all associated, and addressing each of them is the key to curing premature ejaculation.” Chaves continues that finding ways to reduce anxiety can be a simple self-help step in treating premature ejaculation; decreasing “performance anxiety” can go a long way. Other causes can include drugs like amphetamine, cocaine, and dopaminergic drugs — as well as some conditions like multiple sclerosis or prostatitis.
The participants in the study had tried “a variety of treatments, including creams, behavioral therapy, antidepressants and psychological treatments — with little success,” lead author Dr. Antonio Pastore explained in a press release. “However, we found that 33 of the 40 men in our trial improved their ejaculation time within 12 weeks. We also found that the fact that the men were able to improve their sex lives through their own efforts helped their self-confidence.”
Pelvic exercises have been used to treat incontinence in men, to assist in strengthening the muscles in that area as well as release tension from that part of the body. According to Patient.co.uk, other practices that may help manage premature ejaculation include using a condom, stop-go techniques, behavioral treatments, and psychosexual therapy. “This is a small study, so the effects need to be verified in a bigger trial,” Pastore said. “The rehabilitation exercises are easy to perform, with no reported adverse effects.”