Select Page

What is Delayed Ejaculation? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


A man reflects on delayed ejaculation.

Society puts an excessive amount of pressure on men when it comes to sex. Much of this pressure is felt in asking yourself questions such as, “Is my erection hard enough?” “Did I cum too fast?” “Did I last too long?” Now you may be thinking, “Is lasting too long really a problem?” While longer lasting sexual activity may sound enticing, the truth of the matter is, delayed ejaculation can cause stress and discomfort for not only men, but for their partner(s) as well.


What is Delayed Ejaculation?  


Premature ejaculation is a common sexual dysfunction, like erectile dysfunction, defined as emission of semen occurring just before or shortly after intercourse begins. Delayed ejaculation is the opposite of premature ejaculation. According to Medical News Today, delayed ejaculation is defined as the difficulty or inability of a man to reach orgasm or ejaculation, which can be detected either by physical or psychological explanations.


Delayed Ejaculation (DE) occurs in about 1-4% of men. According to the DSM-5, it is required that DE must be present for at least 6 months and be causing significant distress in areas of the individual’s life. In addition, DE must be experienced on all, or almost all sexual occasions, where the man is not delaying ejaculation on his own accord. DE can prove to be difficult to measure, due to each man having “normal” variations of time it takes for him to ejaculate and reach orgasm.


Delayed ejaculation can be categorized into different categories:


  • Lifelong – having always had difficulty achieving orgasm


  • Acquired – occurs after a period of being able to achieve orgasm normally


  • Generalized – difficulty reaching orgasm with all situations
    • feelings of guilt due to cultural or religious upbringing and background
    • fear of commitment


  • Situational – finding it difficult to reach orgasm in specific situations, people, or sexual stimulation. For example,
    • being able to achieve orgasm via masturbation rather than sexual intercourse with a partner
    • needing sex toys to achieve orgasm
    • having anxiety about body image or performance
    • trauma


If you are having any concerns about your ability or inability to achieve orgasm it may be time to reach out for men’s health information from a professional. Psychological issues, medical conditions, and certain types of medications are just a few things that can be causing DE. This can be difficult and overwhelming to navigate on your own but hopefully you can feel some solace in the fact that treatment for delayed ejaculation is possible and you are not alone.


How Can Delayed Ejaculation be Treated?


It is essential to be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating DE. Treatment for delayed ejaculation depends on what is causing the delay, and sometimes the cause is not so straight forward. Delayed ejaculation can be frustrating to experience, especially if it is negatively impacting your sexual experiences both with yourself and with a partner(s).


According to the Mayo Clinic, below are some ways delayed ejaculation can be treated, alone or working together with a treatment team:

Medical Options


Taking a full medical history/physical/urine tests/blood tests to check for cardiovascular disease, low testosterone levels, diabetes, or other health problems. It may help to cross all concerns off your list, especially if it causes anxiety.


According to WebMD, retrograde ejaculation is a condition that can be caused by diabetes. Retrograde ejaculation causes semen back into the bladder during orgasm, instead of exiting from the penis. The semen later exits upon urination.


Some medications such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs typically used as antidepressants), can inhibit sex drive, therefore negatively impacting ability to reach orgasm. Some medications that can be taken to reverse the effects of ED are as follows:

      • Amantadine – Parkinson’s medication
      • Buspirone – anti-anxiety medication
      • Cyproheptadine – allergy medication

Sex Therapy


Some underlying mental health problems may be causing your inability to reach orgasm. As previously stated, some of these causes may be anxiety, depression, trauma, low libido, and fear of intimacy.


You may choose to see a counselor, psychologist, or sex therapist who specializes in this area to process and navigate ways to enhance your sex life. Therapy can either be done alone or with your partner(s).


Therapy may help improve your ability to be intimate and express worries, concerns, or emotions with your partner(s) and to address your fears head on.


Reaching out to a professional about delayed ejaculation may feel like a vulnerable and scary time, but therapy success rates are generally high, and sometimes it helps to have someone who is non-judgmental to speak with about this that can validate your concerns and experiences, and help find ways to live a healthier, happier life.


Lifestyle Changes


Inability to reach orgasm may be due to certain lifestyle changes, such as abusing drugs and alcohol, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating.


Navigating Delayed Ejaculation in Relationships 


The best way to navigate delayed ejaculation within your relationship is, you guessed it, communication. Communication is key within the success for any relationship. Most men have been societally molded to hold their feelings in, emotions, and life challenges because talking about it may come off as weak, vulnerable, or “not manly enough.” Talking about your concerns either with a trusted professional or anyone in your support system is brave. It portrays strength. You’re only human after all.


Here are some tips to help with better communication with your partner(s):


  • Share your sexual preferences and fantasies. Let your partner(s) know what feels good, or not so good, and how you enjoy being stimulated.


  • Don’t let shame or pride get in the way of you or your partner(s) sex life.


  • If a certain porn or stimulus is what you know helps you to reach orgasm, ask your partner(s) if you can incorporate that into your sex life, whether it be a new sex toy, erotica (literature or videos), or a new position.


  • Write down questions that you and your partner(s) have should you make the decision to see a medical/psychological professional.


In addition, delayed ejaculation can occur due to excessive masturbation. The good news is, is that this is an easy fix. Try to take a break from masturbating. While it may be difficult, it may also increase sexual desire and anticipation for your partner(s).


If this sounds like it may be too difficult for you, try to think of sexual experiences with your partner(s) while you masturbate. Try to incorporate new forms of open and honest discussions surrounding your sexual interests. The possibilities are endless, but the end goal is for you to be able to experience a happy and healthy sex life, whatever that may look like for you.


One thing to keep in mind is that delayed ejaculation is something that can be difficult to diagnose. You can see a provider when it becomes a concern in your sex life. Thankfully, there are many treatment options to help ease your mind. By asking for help, you are opening the doors to receive support and move one step closer to your version of a more fulfilling sex life.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Raquel VanLoon, LCPC, CSAT, CADC, is a Clinical Associate for Modern Intimacy. Raquel feels passionate about helping individuals through their journey on becoming their most authentic selves in any relationship or setting. Raquel works with people to develop and maintain healthy boundaries.



Subscribe to our Newsletter

You’ll get weekly sex and relationship tips, news, updates, podcast rundowns, and more!
You’ll also receive our 82-page e-book + journal for FREE!

You May Also Like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *