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Volume 14, Issue 6 (November 2012) 14, 822–829; 10.1038/aja.2012.108

New insights on premature ejaculation: a review of definition, classification, prevalence and treatment

Ege C Serefoglu and Theodore R Saitz

Tulane University, School of Medicine, Department of Urology, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

Correspondence: Dr EC Serefoglu, (egecanserefoglu@hotmail.com)

published online 15 October 2012


There are ongoing debates about the definition, classification and prevalence of premature ejaculation (PE). The first evidence-based definition of PE was limited to heterosexual men with lifelong PE who engage in vaginal intercourse. Unfortunately, many patients with the complaint of PE do not meet these criteria. However, these men can be diagnosed as one of the PE subtypes, namely acquired PE, natural variable PE or premature-like ejaculatory dysfunction. Nevertheless, the validity of these subtypes has not yet been supported by evidence. The absence of a universally accepted PE definition and lack of standards for data acquisition have resulted in prevalence studies that have reported conflicting rates. The very high prevalence of 20%-30% is probably due to the vague terminology used in the definitions at the time when such surveys were conducted. Although many men may complain of PE when questioned for a population-based prevalence study, only a few of them will actively seek treatment for their complaint, even though most of these patients would define symptoms congruent with PE. The complaints of acquired PE patients may be more severe, whereas complaints of patients experiencing premature-like ejaculatory dysfunction seem to be least severe among men with various forms of PE. Although numerous treatment modalities have been proposed for management of PE, only antidepressants and topical anaesthetic creams have currently been proven to be effective. However, as none of the treatment modalities have been approved by the regulatory agencies, further studies must be carried to develop a beneficial treatment strategy for PE.
Keywords: definition; ejaculatory disorders; epidemiology; premature ejaculation; sexual dysfunction; treatment

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.