ORIGINAL RESEARCH—PSYCHOLOGY: A New Combination Treatment for Premature Ejaculation: A Sex Therapist’s Perspective


  • Michael A. Perelman PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Departments of Psychiatry, Reproductive Medicine, and Urology, New York, NY, USA
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Michael Perelman, PhD, Co-Director, Human Sexuality Program, NY Weill Cornell Medical Center, 70 East 77th Street, Suite 1C New York, NY10021, USA. Tel: (212) 570-5000; Fax: (212) 570-2288; E-mail: perelman@earthlink.net


This article describes the diagnosis and treatment of premature ejaculation (PE) from a sex therapist’s perspective and proposes that combination therapy integrating sex therapy and sexual pharmaceuticals is frequently the best treatment approach. Failure to appreciate the multimodal etiology and pathophysiology of PE makes the condition more difficult to diagnose and treat. Many physicians have tried pharmacologic approaches, but are limited to providing topical anesthetics or suggesting off-label uses of antidepressant and erectile dysfunction medications, because no medication is currently indicated specifically for PE. Furthermore, patients frequently relapse after discontinuation of the pharmaceutical. Sex therapists appreciate the multidimensional nature of PE for the patient and partner, but few patients seek out this approach, which is labor-intensive and often lacking long-term follow-up success. Most men with PE are not receiving treatment, secondary to their embarrassment about discussing their condition and a lack of clinician inquiry about sexual dysfunction. Even for those who do engage in discussion, diagnoses may be inconsistent, because a universally accepted definition of the condition and diagnostic criteria are nonexistent. Men with PE experience anxiety and lack sexual self-confidence; subsequently, their sexual and overall relationship frequently suffer. Because PE involves psychosocial and physiologic factors, treatment that addresses both should yield the best balance of function. There is interest in new agents designed specifically for PE to provide an improved pharmacotherapeutic opportunity. Yet, a combination treatment integrating pharmaceuticals and sex therapy would provide an optimized approach. Besides increasing coital latency directly, sexual pharmaceuticals could be used to provide greater opportunity for men to recognize their premonitory sensations to ejaculation more readily, facilitating a “choice point”, which is key to facilitating behavioral change and learning. Such a combination approach would result in prolonged ejaculatory latency, improved treatment satisfaction, and superior long-term outcome. Perelman MA. A new combination treatment for premature ejaculation: A sex therapist’s perspective. J Sex Med 2006;3:1004–1012.