Considerations for an Evidence-Based Definition of Premature Ejaculation in the DSM-V


Robert Taylor Segraves, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Metrohealth Medical Center, 2500 Metrohealth Drive Cleveland, Ohio 44109. Tel: 216 778 4637; Fax: 216 778 2397; E-mail:


Introduction.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed., text revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for premature ejaculation (PE) have been criticized on multiple grounds including that the criteria lack precision, that the requirement of marked distress is inappropriate, and that the specification of etiological subtypes should be deleted. Since these criteria were originally adopted, there has been a tremendous gain in knowledge concerning PE.

Aim.  The goal of this manuscript is to review evidence relevant to diagnostic criteria for PE published since 1990.

Method.  Medline searches from 1990 forward were conducted using the terms PE, rapid ejaculation, ejaculatory disorder, and intravaginal ejaculatory latency. Early drafts of proposed alterations in diagnostic criteria were submitted to advisors.

Main Outcome Measure.  Expert opinion was based on review of evidence-based medical literature.

Results.  The literature search indicated possible alterations in diagnostic criteria for PE.

Conclusions.  It is recommended that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual committee adopt criteria similar to those adopted by the International Society of Sexual Medicine. It is proposed that lifelong PE in heterosexual men be defined as ejaculation occurring within approximately 1 minute of vaginal penetration on 75% of occasions for at least 6 months. Field trials will be necessary to determine if these criteria can be applied to acquired PE and whether analogous criteria can be applied to ejaculatory latencies in other sexual activities. Serious consideration should be given to changing the name from PE to rapid ejaculation. The subtypes indicating etiology should be eliminated. Segraves RT. Considerations for an evidence-based definition of premature ejaculation in the DSM-V. J Sex Med 2010;7:672–689.