Introduction. The relational impact of male and female sexual dysfunction, and specifically premature ejaculation (PE), is an important consideration. Published findings are consistent in identifying the negative psychosocial impact of PE on the man. However, the effect of PE on the female partner, especially in relation to her sexual functioning, has been less well studied.
Aim. Provide an overview of the impact of PE on the man, the woman, and the couple.
Methods. Review of relevant literature.
Results. Female partners of men with PE report significantly greater sexual problems, with reduced satisfaction, increased distress and interpersonal difficulty, and more orgasmic problems than partners of non-PE men. Both men with PE and their partners feel control over ejaculation is the central issue in PE. For both, the lack of control leads to dissatisfaction, a feeling that something is missing from the relationship, and an impaired sense of intimacy. If left untreated, the situation can lead to increased irritability, interpersonal difficulties, and deepening of an emotional divide.
Conclusions. When treating a man with PE, the partner's participation should be encouraged to enable the physician to fully understand the extent of the problem, and consider other relevant factors, from her perspective. Identifying the best approach for the couple requires consultation with each person individually and together. In clinical practice, treatments for PE are likely to include a combination of pharmacological, psychological, sexological, and/or behavioral approaches for both the man and his partner. It is important that physicians regard PE as the couple's problem and endeavor to include the partner in its management where possible. Graziottin A and Althof S. What does premature ejaculation mean to the man, the woman, and the couple? J Sex Med 2011;8(suppl 4):304–309.