ORIGINAL RESEARCH—EJACULATORY DISORDERS: Quantitative Sensory Testing of Peripheral Thresholds in Patients with Lifelong Premature Ejaculation: A Case-Controlled Study


Andrea Salonia, MD, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele—Department of Urology, Milan, Via Olgettina 60 20132 Milan Italy. Tel: +39 0226437286; Fax: +39 0226437298; E-mail: saloniaandrea@yahoo.com


Introduction.  The main functional factors related to lifelong premature ejaculation (PE) etiology have been suggested to be penile hypersensitivity, greater cortical penile representation, and disturbance of central serotoninergic neurotransmission.

Aims.  To quantitatively assess penile sensory thresholds in European Caucasian patients with lifelong PE using the Genito-Sensory Analyzer (GSA, Medoc, Ramat Yishai, Israel) as compared with those of an age-comparable sample of volunteers without any ejaculatory compliant.

Methods.  Forty-two consecutive right-handed, fully potent patients with lifelong PE and 41 right-handed, fully potent, age-comparable volunteers with normal ejaculatory function were enrolled. Each man was assessed via comprehensive medical and sexual history; detailed physical examination; subjective scoring of sexual symptoms with the International Index of Erectile Function; and four consecutive measurements of intravaginal ejaculatory latency time with the stopwatch method. All men completed a detailed genital sensory evaluation using the GSA; thermal and vibratory sensation thresholds were computed at the pulp of the right index finger, and lateral aspect of penile shaft and glans, bilaterally.

Main Outcome Measures.  Comparing quantitatively assessed penile thermal and vibratory sensory thresholds between men with lifelong PE and controls without any ejaculatory compliant.

Results.  Patients showed significantly higher (P < 0.001) thresholds at the right index finger but similar penile and glans thresholds for warm sensation as compared with controls. Cold sensation thresholds were not significantly different between groups at the right index finger or penile shaft, but glans thresholds for cold sensation were bilaterally significantly lower (P = 0.01) in patients. Patients showed significantly higher (all P ≤ 0.04) vibratory sensation thresholds for right index finger, penile shaft, and glans, bilaterally, as compared with controls.

Conclusions.  Quantitative sensory testing analysis suggests that patients with lifelong PE might have a hypo- rather than hypersensitivity profile in terms of peripheral sensory thresholds. The peripheral neuropathophysiology of lifelong PE remains to be clarified. Salonia A, Saccà A, Briganti A, Carro UD, Dehò F, Zanni G, Rocchini L, Raber M, Guazzoni G, Rigatti P, and Montorsi F. Quantitative sensory testing of peripheral thresholds in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation: A case-controlled study. J Sex Med 2009;6:1755–1762.