Many of us find talking about sex difficult and problems in having sex are even more taboo. Studies have shown that men are less likely to see a doctor or a therapist about sexual problems and the embarrassment of talking to their partners mean that many issues go undiagnosed and untreated. Well, at Us In Therapy there ain’t no shame in our game and to help remove some of the stigma from two of the most common sexual problems faced by men, we’ve put together this FAQ to answer all your questions about premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.

What is premature ejaculation (PE)? 

Premature Ejaculation is when a man ejaculates (comes) too quickly during sexual intercourse. What determines too quickly should be discussed with you and your partner, but international guidelines indicate that anything less than 1 minute on a regular basis is ‘premature’.

This of course can bring about a great deal of stress, shame and frustration both for the individual experiencing PE and their partner. It’s important to refrain from criticism or judgment as this will only cause more distress.

What causes PE?

There could be many reasons that result in premature ejaculation including stress, relationship difficulties, underlying attitudes towards sex or masturbation or previous traumatic sexual experiences. There can also be physical factors involved, so it’s worth exploring these with your GP.

During psychosexual therapy, you and your therapist will explore the history of the issue and work together on what psychological factors might be at play.

Can PE be treated?

The good news is that PE can often be successfully treated. Psychosexual therapy can help you identify the potential causes and the maintaining factors that ensure the issue persists.

Effective treatment strategies with the right commitment and support from your partner and/or psychosexual therapist mean it’s possible to learn how to manage PE and reduce its impact.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction is when a man has difficulty getting and/or maintaining an erection.

What causes ED?

As with any sexual issue, there can be many at factors at play which contribute to the problem; physical, biological and/or psychological in nature. Therapy will help to uncover what might be affecting your ability to get hard and work on ways to relieve this.

Can ED be treated?

ED can be treated effectively, but it could be an indication of more serious underlying health conditions such as cardio vascular disease and diabetes. It is therefore important to consult with your GP to do a full health check.

Why therapy? Can’t I just take a Viagra?

The invention of the Viagra was thought to be the miracle cure for Erectile Dysfunction, simply pop a pill and you’re ready for action. Unfortunately, sexuality and sexual functioning are complex matters, and whilst medical interventions are helpful and provide some relief, they quite often fail to identify the route-causes of the problem.

If you are having difficulties either obtaining and maintaining erections, it’s good ask the following questions:

  • When did the problem start?
  • Has this always been an issue (generalised ED) or is it a recent event or occurring in specific situations (situational)?
  • Are you under stress at the moment?
  • How well is your relationship functioning?  Are you feeling depressed or anxious?

Our sexual health is intrinsically linked with our overall wellbeing so by doing some detective work around when / where / how your problem occurred is a good first step. There’s nothing to feel ashamed about if you experience erectile difficulty. It’s understandable that you may feel frustrated or disappointed but these feelings and thoughts can add an unnecessary layer of burden on you. Contrary to popular opinion, men aren’t always turned on and ‘ready’ for sex and the pressure to perform or ‘get hard’ can have a detrimental effect on your sexual functioning.

Stay positive and know that there is help out there and a variety of treatments and support available. If you would like to talk more about premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction or another sexual problem, send us an email to speak to one of our specialists.

James Eve

Online contributor