Couples’ bedroom woes can range from not (yet) knowing your partner’s erogenous zones to uncontrolled ejaculation before or shortly after sexual penetration. Some men equate their sexual performance to confidence and a sense of identity, but suffering from premature ejaculation (PE) could be a blow to their ego when sex becomes more about time than pleasure. Focusing hard on delaying ejaculation could actually do more harm than good, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, which found women’s sexual stimulation decreases while their psychological stress increases.

"Interestingly, lengthy coitus is primarily important for women who do not have any trouble climaxing," said Andrea Burri, sex researcher and a clinical psychologist at the University of Zurich, in the press release. However, for women who rarely reach an orgasm, sex duration is not central. It is the sexual act that serves to embody intimacy and commitment. PE sufferers are often mistaken when they believe it’s the duration of lovemaking that is regarded as a primary frustration for their partners, but in actuality, it’s more about ignoring their sexual needs.

Burri and her colleagues sought to investigate women’s perception and importance, including the impact of PE on the couple’s functioning, by conducting a survey on women from three different countries — approximately 1,500 females from Mexico, Italy, and South Korea, between the ages of 20 and 50. The women took a combination of validated and self-constructed questionnaires to assess their perception of PE, relationship satisfaction and quality, and sexual functioning and satisfaction.

The findings revealed PE causes increased psychological strain and stress on women as well as men. These women reported less sexual problems when it came to ejaculatory control and reported more PE-related distress. About half of the survey respondents reported sexual distress because of their partner’s lack of attention to sexual needs, followed “the short time between penetration and ejaculation” reported by 40 percent, and “the lack of ejaculatory control” reported by 25 percent of women.

The women who considered duration to be important were more likely to report breakups. Prior to the study, a quarter of the respondents had already experienced a break up in the past because of PE by their partner, according to Medical Xpress. This leads to the woman suffering a loss in quality of life and calling the relationship into question.

“In the long run, the woman becomes distressed and frustrated. Much like the man, she avoids sexual contact for fear of rejection and the resulting trauma for her own sexuality,” Burri said. “After all, the consequences are often more far-reaching than simple sexual dissatisfaction as, in extreme cases, it poses a threat to the desire to have children if the man already ejaculates prior to actual intercourse.” This attributes to why harmonious relationships end in a split because of the woman’s psychological strain and bottled-up frustration.

PE is the most common sexual disorder in men younger than 40 years, with 30 to 70 percent of males in the U.S. affected to some extent during their lifetime, according to Medscape. This sexual disorder is considered to be a psychological disease that has no organic cause but has several treatment options. Having open communication with your partner could help resolve any stress between the two of you, and lead to ways to achieve sexual satisfaction for both.

Source: Burri A, Giuliano Francois, McMahon C, Porst H. Female Partner's Perception of Premature Ejaculation and Its Impact on Relationship Breakups, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014.