How quick is too quick? Three minutes

Men's Health
Premature ejaculation

Although premature ejaculation has been recognised as a syndrome for over 100 years, a new health committee has finally quantified the often confusing symptoms. Image by Thinkstock

According to new research, any sex that lasts under three minutes is classified as premature ejaculation.

Two scientific papers published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine have finally provided a unified clinical definition of lifelong and acquired premature ejaculation. The clinical condition has suffered from various misconceptions in the medical community due to differing guidelines.

In 2008, the International Society for Sexual Medicine issued a definition of lifelong premature ejaculation, but a definition has been lacking for acquired premature ejaculation.

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The Second International Society for Sexual Medicine Ad Hoc Committee have now delivered a three-pronged definition to male sexual dysfunction:

- Ejaculation that always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about 1 minute of vaginal penetration from the first sexual experience (lifelong) or a clinically significant and bothersome reduction in latency time, often to about 3 minutes or less (acquired);
- The inability to delay ejaculation on all or nearly all vaginal penetrations; and
- Negative personal consequences, such as distress, bother, frustration, and/or the avoidance of sexual intimacy.

One of the authors of the report, a Sydney sexual health doctor, Chris McMahon, said vague definitions had left doctors confused and led many men to falsely believe they suffered from the condition.

"What they need is to be educated, they don't need medication," said Dr McMahon, who consults for several pharmaceutical companies.

While historical population studies suggested between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of men peaked too soon, more recent data found the proportion of premature ejaculators was closer to two per cent.

It’s not the time that appears to worry women, though; it’s the disconnection. “It is not the short duration of the act of lovemaking that is primarily regarded as the main source of sexual frustration by the majority of women, but the fact that the man is focused too strongly on delaying ejaculation,” a new study of 1,500 women claims. “As a result, he ignores the sexual needs of the woman and is unable to satisfy her individual desires,” the study says.

The paper also identifies quick finisher “subtypes” who do not technically suffer from premature ejaculation. This includes a general lack of control over the timing of ejaculation, a diminished ability to hold off at the moment of imminent ejaculation and a preoccupation with an imagined short ejaculatory latency despite lasting for more than five minutes.

“This subtype is not considered a sexual dysfunction but rather a normal variation in sexual performance,” the paper notes.

Dr Nikki Goldstein says that women communicate to establish relationships, so they might be chattier and more personal in their conversation than men. Based on studies from the Loveology University, Dr Goldstein provides some tips that men need to adhere to in the bedroom:
- Understand that not every question from a woman is a problem begging for a solution.
- Be certain she’s asked for your help before you jump in with help because sometimes she just wants to blow off steam.
- Realise that it’s a fact of life that women use twice as many words as men do so just get used to it.
- Ask her "How was it for you?" When tackling embarrassing, hard-to-talk-about issues, one simple question could help start the conversation.

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