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ERECTIONS | 3 minutes

Erectile dysfunction & premature ejaculation

By Duncan Fisher

Erectile dysfunction & premature ejaculation

Many people assume that erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are the same thing. But both are very different, and have different treatment options.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation (PE) are the two most common male sexual problems. ED can be defined as the persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection to permit sex, and PE is when ejaculation occurs too quickly, and is normally accompanied by some psychological distress. They can sometimes arise as a pair. That’s not because they’re related physiologically. It’s because they can reinforce each other in a cognitive loop.  

If you worry about losing your erection during sex, you focus on your sexual arousal, but find yourself ejaculating too soon. If you try to cool yourself down mentally, to delay ejaculation, you face possible loss of erection.

The ensuing anxiety about sex can make your ED and your PE worse.

ED and PE are different things

  • What’s generally behind ED. [note: …numankind/types-of-erectile-dysfunction link appears broken or not yet written] Erectile dysfunction is about inadequate blood flow. The reasons behind it can vary greatly, and include cardiovascular disease, metabolic problems, or neurological syndromes. Your doctor can help you identify these, and investigate them with you.
  • Medical treatment for ED. There are quite a few options in treating ED, depending on what’s driving it. The standard first-line medications on the market are sildenafil and tadalafil. You can ask your doctor about them, and you can start a consultation right here, at Numan, to see whether they’re right for you.  
  • What’s generally behind PE. There can be medical reasons for premature ejaculation, notably hormonal abnormalities or thyroid problems. It can also be caused by psychological problems, like anxiety or depression.
  • Medical treatment for PE. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend a drug that alters your serotonin levels, which has the effect of delaying the biochemical process that leads to ejaculation. Other options include wipes, sprays or condoms which contain a local anaesthetic, which cause reduced sensitivity to sexual stimulation.

If you have PE and/or ED, here are a few things you might try yourself:  

  • Learning to relax. It starts with your mind. Investigate the many ways you might lower your anxiety. Mindfulness techniques are one way. You can find easy resources for learning these all over the internet.
  • Practise. Just getting used to your natural self may be of help. Sometimes it’s beneficial to practise going through the process of getting and losing erections, to reset your bedroom frame of mind.
  • The ‘stop-start technique’ for PE. A more advanced level of practise is to learn to stop your arousal, mentally, and then start it up again. This helps you match up the psychological and physical sensations that go with your arousal and ejaculation.
  • Mechanical help. There are erection rings, little plastic devices which fit snugly at the base of the penis that help men stay firm. You can’t keep them on for long, but they may be worth trying.
  • Pelvic floor exercises (yes, for men). You have a pelvic floor too! Exercising the muscles you use to hold in urine or gas can sometimes help you control erections and ejaculations. Squeeze them a few times a day, in quick bursts and in long ones, for 10 seconds or so. Don’t hold your breath while you’re doing it. Those are different muscles.
  • Talking about it often helps. Communication is the central pillar to any relationship. There’s nothing like opening up with your partner, and with a professional too perhaps, to help reduce your anxiety.

The bottom line

Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can both affect you at the same time. However, they are different things and need to be managed differently. The good news is, there’s a lot that can be done for both of them!  

Feature Image, stock photo, posed by model: istock/fiskez

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