Premature ejaculation is a common but stressful concern, and not just among young men. A premature ejaculator can’t keep himself from ejaculating (or “coming”) before he wants to. The cause is not physical, but mental. In other words, it’s not the man’s penis that is “malfunctioning,” but his brain. The upside is that a man can learn how to control his orgasms and avoid premature ejaculation with time and discipline.

As with many sexual dysfunctions, different degrees of premature ejaculation exist. Some men are so severely afflicted that they can’t last long enough to penetrate a woman for intercourse. But even a man who can last 15 minutes may fall under the umbrella of premature ejaculator if he wants to last 5 extra minutes and can’t do so. The time frame depends on the man.

The penis of a man who hasn’t been circumcised is often more sensitive than a circumcised man’s. That said, no scientific study has shown that circumcision makes a significant difference. Most certainly a man who isn’t circumcised can learn how to prolong his climax just as effectively as a man who is.

Home remedies

Home remedies are generally not recommended. (Why not try to discover how to take control of the situation altogether so you can fully enjoy and engage in intercourse?) That said, people have all sorts of ideas about what he can do to make himself last longer before seeking professional help. As you may expect, the results are mixed.

  • The baseball technique: Think of something that isn’t sexy. This technique can work to some degree, but it’s not a good way of making love. Your partner may sense that wall you put between you and the act and think that you want to distance yourself from her.

  • Condoms: Condoms cut down on the sensations that a man has. If one condom doesn’t work, then put on two or more. Although using two condoms may decrease a man's sensation, it also decreases condom effectiveness — so unless your partner is using another method of birth control and you're both STD-free, don't try this technique.

  • Over-the-counter products: Some products supposedly lessen the sensations in the penis so the man can last longer.

  • Masturbation: Some young men masturbate before going out on a date that may lead to sex. The object here is to decrease the intensity of their desire for sex in the hopes of gaining some control.

  • Different positions: The missionary position (when the man is on top) is probably the one in which men have the most problems, but not always.

The real cure: Recognizing the premonitory sensation

The real cure for premature ejaculation is for you to be able to recognize the premonitory sensation — the feeling a man gets just before he reaches the point of no return, also called the moment of inevitability. Right before he reaches that point, if he so desires, he can cool the fires and not ejaculate. And if he wants to abandon his status as premature ejaculator, he must learn to identify this sensation.

The idea, then, is to learn how to slow down the process before you get too close to the edge. You can do this with a cooperative partner or, although it takes more effort and self-control, by yourself. The technique itself is very simple, but it involves some discipline, and that discipline’s not always so simple.

The start-stop technique

Learn how to recognize the premonitory sensation and stop before you get to the point of inevitability. You do this by slowly increasing your level of arousal, stopping, allowing yourself to calm down, and then heading back upward again. Some people advise assigning numbers to the levels, from 1 to 10, with 10 being the point of no return. If that numbering system helps you, fine. If it distracts you, then just concentrate on the sensations.

For a couple, the woman should use her hand to arouse the man and stops the motion when he signals her to. Slowly, he begins to exercise more and more control. Depending on the man, this whole process can take a few weeks or a few months, but the process is almost always successful if done with discipline and without engaging in actual intercourse until full control is achieved.

Some men get impatient upon initial early success. They decide to engage in full intercourse before they’ve cemented their control. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. When the technique doesn’t work, they’re disappointed, and some men even give up entirely.

The Masters and Johnson squeeze technique

Rather than merely stopping stimulation to the penis, the man’s partner gently squeezes the frenum of the penis (the strip of skin connecting the glans to the shaft on the underside of the penis) until the man loses his urge to ejaculate. Because the start-stop technique is usually effective, the squeeze technique isn’t as commonly used.

Another useful aid in controlling premature ejaculation can be the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which, when squeezed, has a similar effect to the woman squeezing the base of the penis. The first thing you have to do is find this muscle. Put a finger behind your testicles. Pretend that you’re going to urinate and then stop yourself. You’ll feel a muscle tighten, and that’s your PC muscle. If you exercise this muscle regularly, by squeezing it in sets of ten, it will get stronger, and you can then use it to help control your ejaculations.