Premature ejaculation is when a man comes too quickly during sex. It is a very common problem with about ten percent of men admitting that they have had or always have this problem.
It is difficult to measure because the length of time a man needs to wait will depend on their partner as well as themselves and men have different ideas of what is normal. Some men think that not being able to last over 25 minutes is a problem but most men reporting premature ejaculation cannot last for more than two minutes. It would seem that the best measure is really the man himself and if he or his partner feel that they do not last long enough then there is obviously a problem.
It can be a serious problem if it is effecting the sex life of the couple and can be particularly bad if the woman is trying to get pregnant and the man always ejaculates before he is inside her. However, this is an extreme case and it normally tends to just be irritating and reduces the satisfaction of both parties.
There are many theories as to why some men suffer from this condition. It is possibly genetic, possibly a learned behaviour from being rushed when young or it may be due to nervousness.
For mild cases there are some things which could help. Distracting yourself could work, thinking about something other than what is happening may help. Some men try a local anaesthetic gel on the penis shaft to dull the sensations and prevent such high arousal. The problem is that it can also rub off on your partner and reduce their sensation too and can cause a rash and so this is not advisable. Long love condoms cause an anaesthetic gel and have been reported as helping but they can also cause a skin reaction.
In more severe cases, these things are unlikely to have a significant effect. There are some things which could be worth trying though. There is the Masters-Johnson method which is a technique where the partner will firmly squeeze the shaft of the penis (with one finger on the ridge of the head and the other below and the thumb on the other side), when he is about to ejaculate and it will stop him from doing so. It is something which tends to need to be demonstrated professionally and it will take training to get it right. Some people try antidepressant drugs as they have a side effect of delaying ejaculation but they are powerful things only available on prescription and could potentially cause damaging side effects. Some men take a nose spray containing an antidepressant which make it take effect more quickly. There is a constriction device available which is supposed to reduce the sensitivity of the penis but not large scale trials have been carried out to prove that it works. There is a drug which is a short lasting anti depressant which has been shown to help some men but is not yet available in many countries. Lastly some men find the start stop technique beneficial. This is where he is asked to masturbate and when he comes near to ejaculation stop, then try again and stop and do it three times. This can help to increase his control.
However, premature ejaculation can be caused by a number of reasons including psychological, behavioural and mechanical problems. It can be well worth seeking expert medical advise especially if some techniques have been tried out to help the problem which have not succeeded.