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Practical Tips for Sexual Counseling and Psychotherapy in Premature Ejaculation


David Rowland, PhD, Kretzmann Hall 116, Valparaiso University, 1700 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493, USA. Tel: 219 464 5313; Fax: 219 464 5381; E-mail:


Introduction.  A number of milestones in the treatment of premature ejaculation (PE) have occurred over the past five decades, including the development of various behavioral and cognitive techniques as well as pharmacotherapies that modify neurophysiological processes involved in ejaculation. Nevertheless, the notion that sexual responses such as PE are influenced by physiological, psychobehavioral, cultural, and relationship factors is as valid now as it was 50 years ago, and therefore, interventions should consider all such domains in the development of effective treatment strategies.

Aim.  Provide an overview of which patients with PE are suitable to receive psychosexual treatment and the psychological approaches for managing this disorder.

Methods.  Review of the literature.

Main Outcome Measure.  Psychosexual treatments that integrate behavioral, psychological, and relationship functioning.

Results.  PE is typically a couple's problem and, therefore, psychotherapy is best when the partner is involved. Before embarking on psychotherapy, the clinician should obtain a medical history pertaining to sexual-, psychological-, and relationship-related factors, so that the treatment strategy can be tailored to the needs of the individual. General strategies underpinning integrative, “process-oriented” elements of psychotherapy most relevant to PE are: developing the therapist–patient relationship; expressing empathy, genuineness, and positive regard; motivational interviewing, i.e., developing motivation to change; developing discrepancy; working through resistance; identifying PE-related affect, cognitions, and behaviors (including interaction with partners); and supporting self-efficacy. The four main domains that encompass psychotherapy techniques specific to the treatment of PE are: behavioral; cognitive; affective; and relational. Sustained positive outcomes in PE may be obtained using a combination treatment strategy that addresses all elements of PE, including psychological and biological factors.

Conclusions.  Psychosexual treatments may help the patient with PE and his partner to address their sexual problems and improve their overall relationship. The effects of psychosexual therapy may be augmented by combining this intervention with pharmacotherapy. Rowland D and Cooper S. Practical tips for sexual counseling and psychotherapy in premature ejaculation. J Sex Med 2011;8(suppl 4):342–352.