Is Premature Ejaculation Common?
How common is premature ejaculation? To answer this question, we first need to define what is premature ejaculation. Although the definition of premature ejaculation may seem simple, PE is a complicated condition.
The 3 Variables to Premature Ejaculation
A lot of men would like to last longer in bed, but what is the benchmark for which we consider a man to be premature? What is the normal average sex time? Is 30 seconds sex too short? What about 5 minutes? What’s the norm? Time is an essential component of premature ejaculation, but we don’t all place the bar at the same place.
Also, if premature ejaculation is often defined in time, it’s not only a question of minutes. Some men could last less than a minute because they want to while others ejaculate quickly because they can’t do otherwise. In the first case, the men have a certain level of control over their ejaculation. They could, unlike the others, decide when they come. If it’s their wish, they could prolong the act. Therefore, ejaculation control is another important aspect of premature ejaculation.
The last variable to premature ejaculation is the satisfaction level. Are you satisfied with your time and control? If we take a man who always comes under 2 minutes, he doesn’t have any control over his ejaculation. Still, if he and his partner are happy with the situation, is he still considered a premature ejaculator?
Self-Reported Premature Ejaculation Prevalence
If instead of establishing an objective benchmark, we only ask men if they “consider themselves premature ejaculators,” then PE is ubiquitous. A lot of studies have been made in the last years, and the results vary a lot1. Based on those reviews, between 7% to 64% of men consider that they’re suffering from premature ejaculation.
The big difference between the studies results come from different factors and bias (age of the participants, recruitment method, the questions asked, etc.). Still, the most prominent difference is the timeframe reference that we use. While some studies ask about premature ejaculation difficulties in the last three months, others were talking about the man’s entire lifetime.
This has led many to believe that the prevalence of premature ejaculation is around 20-30%, where fall most of the studies quoted above. You often hear that almost one man out of three suffers from premature ejaculation. However, this stats do not use any objective benchmark. For example, a man who comes in 6 minutes (which is longer than 50% of men) could consider himself premature ejaculator.
Also, those self-reported studies report every man that had a premature ejaculation experience. This flaw the results. Should we consider a man that ejaculate rapidly 10% of the time a premature ejaculator? Should he be in the same category that the man who’s too quick 90% of the time and within standard time only 10%?
ISSM Definition of Premature Ejaculation
This definition is based on a large-scale international study of the average sex time3. Only men who always ejaculate a lot quicker than average are considered premature ejaculator with this definition.
If we take the ISSM definition, premature ejaculation is way less frequent. Although we do not have robust studies, experts believe that it would be close to the 7% of the more restrictive study stated above.
The 4 types of Premature Ejaculation
So, to bridge the gap between the 20-30% of self-reported premature ejaculation and the ISSM definition, some specialist has split premature ejaculation into 4 categories4.
You suffer from lifelong PE if you ejaculate under 1 min in 90% of the times or more, regardless of the partner. Based on a study conducted in Turkey5, around 2.3% of men suffer from this type of premature ejaculation.
You suffer from acquired PE if you ejaculated normally and you feel a sudden or gradual change in ejaculation control. Based on a study conducted in Turkey5, around 3.9% of men suffer from this type of premature ejaculation.
You suffer from Variable PE if you sometimes ejaculate under 2 min but you last longer other times. Based on a study conducted in Turkey5, around 8.5% of men suffer from this type of premature ejaculation.
You suffer from Subjective PE if you ejaculate over 3 min, but you are still not satisfied with your ejaculation control. Based on a study conducted in Turkey5, around 5.1% of men suffer from this type of premature ejaculation.
The Verdict: Is Premature Ejaculation Common?
Although we often read that premature ejaculation affects up to 20-30% of men, the real prevalence of PE vary a lot based on the way you define it. Based on the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) definition of PE, less than 10% of men actually suffer from premature ejaculation. Lifelong premature ejaculation touch probably around 2% of the population.
Still, most men will have premature ejaculation episodes in their life. However, if we take premature ejaculation as a medical condition, it’s way less common than mainstream media report it. Nevertheless, it’s one of the main sexual difficulty for man.
No matter if you fall into the ISSM definition of PE or you’re just not satisfied with your ejaculation control, there is some way to treat each type of premature ejaculation. You can find more information on our Premature Ejaculation Treatment Page.
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- An Evidence Based Unified Definition of Lifelong and Acquired Premature Ejaculation: Report of the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) Second Ad Hoc Committee for the Definition of Premature Ejaculation
- Waldinger M et al (2005) A multinational population survey of intravaginal ejaculation latency time. J Sex Med 2(4):292–297
- Waldinger M (2008) Recent advances in the classification, neurobiology and treatment of premature ejaculation. Balon R (ed): Sexual Dysfunction. The Brain-Body Connection. Adv Psychosom Med. Basel, Karger, 2008, vol 29, pp 50-69
- Serefoglu EC, Yaman O, Cayan S et al (2011) Prevalence of the complaint of ejaculating prematurely and the four premature ejaculation syndromes: results from the Turkish Society of Andrology Sexual Health Survey. J Sex Med 8:540–548