Changing Paradigms from a Historical DSM-III and DSM-IV View Toward an Evidence-Based Definition of Premature Ejaculation. Part II—Proposals for DSM-V and ICD-11


  • Marcel D. Waldinger MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurosexology, HagaHospital Leyenburg, The Hague;
    2. Department of Psychopharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht;
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  • Dave H. Schweitzer MD, PhD

    1. Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Reinier de Graaf Groep, Delft-Voorburg, the Netherlands
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Marcel D. Waldinger, MD, PhD, Department Psychiatry and Neurosexology, HagaHospital Leyenburg, Leyweg 275, 2545 CH, The Hague, the Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-3592086; Fax: +31-70-3594902; E-mail:


Background.  In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a descriptive definition for premature ejaculation (PE) that was based on historical assumptions has been accepted.

Aim.  To formulate a new functional definition of PE in the DSM.

Methods.  A “syndrome” approach instead of a “complaint” approach is applied and evidence-based data from epidemiological and clinical studies are used.

Results.  A new functional definition of PE should pertain to a cluster of “symptoms” of a distinct “syndrome.” A syndrome rather than a descriptive definition should distinguish Lifelong and Acquired PE variants. Evidence-based data also suggest another PE type “Natural Variable PE,” which is not a typical syndrome but rather a cluster of inconsistent symptoms of rapid ejaculation. Moreover, in “Natural Variable PE” the occurrence of rapid ejaculation is not based on neurobiological or psychological pathology, but belongs to the normal variability of sexual performance. Its prevalence is probably much higher than that of Lifelong and Acquired PE. We propose three separate operationalized definitions of these three PE types for the pending DSM-V and ICD-11, which include a quantification of the ejaculation time (intravaginal ejaculation latency time), inability of ejaculatory control, and a description of severity of PE in terms of psychological distress.

Conclusion.  The use of the intravaginal ejaculation latency time into the DSM-V and ICD-11 would mean that statistical evidence becomes accepted as one of the mainstays for establishing an evidence-based definition of the three PE types. Waldinger MD, and Schweitzer DH. Changing paradigms from a historical DSM-III and DSM-IV view toward an evidence-based definition of premature ejaculation. Part II—Proposals for DSM-V and ICD-11. J Sex Med 2006;3:693–705.