Both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation (PE) are totally normal when they happen occasionally. Sometimes your body just isn’t at its best, or there’s a lot on your mind. When they happen repeatedly, though, it can be frustrating and talking to a doctor is a good first step in getting treatment.
So what’s the difference between erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation? ED is defined as the inability to get or maintain an erection that’s hard enough for sex. PE, on the other hand, means your penis is erect but ejaculation happens much faster than you want. There’s no rule for how long a man should last before ejaculation but if you’re feeling unsatisfied, it’s time to find a solution.
While these two conditions might sound like opposites, they can indeed go together. We’ll discuss some physical and psychological causes of both conditions as well as how they can be treated, individually and together.
Can ED cause premature ejaculation?
Yes, erectile dysfunction can cause premature ejaculation. This generally happens because of a “use it while you’ve got it” mentality — if you know you have difficulty sustaining an erection, and you manage to get one, it’s understandable that you’d want to ejaculate before you lose it. Sussing out whether you also have ED can help a doctor determine what kind of treatment you need for premature ejaculation.
How about premature ejaculations causing ED?
It’s more likely that something is going on that’s causing both ED and PE. For example, stress or anxiety over your relationship or sex life can make it difficult to get an erection and, once you do get one, can lead to premature or even delayed ejaculation. Or, on the physical side, prostate problems can cause both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
The stress of one sexual problem can lead to dysfunction in other areas of sex as well. Psychologically, it’s possible that someone who has premature ejaculation may become nervous about pleasing their partner and can develop psychological erectile dysfunction as a result.
Are there treatments that address both problems?
There are a few premature ejaculation products that could also help with erectile dysfunction, but whether they’ll work for you can depend on why you have either condition. The ED medication sildenafil (Viagra) has been trialed for PE to promising results. It’s not licensed solely for this use but could help you avoid premature ejaculation if you experience both conditions.
Antidepressants are another option. Studies show that paroxetine (Paxil) is the most-effective SSRI for controlling premature ejaculation, and could also help erectile dysfunction with a psychological cause like depression or anxiety. In some countries like the UK, dapoxetine (Priligy) is an antidepressant-turned-PE-medication that’s available from your doctor, but it’s not approved in the US and isn’t used to treat ED or depression even though it’s classed as an SSRI.
Speaking to a doctor can help you determine the cause of your erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, which will go far towards getting you the treatment you need. It’s possible you’ll only need to take one pill to last longer in bed.
Is there a link between ED and delayed ejaculation?
Delayed ejaculation covers two things: taking a long time to ejaculate and not being able to ejaculate at all. So how long does it take to ejaculate? Generally speaking, if you can’t ejaculate about 50% of the time you have sex, or it takes you 30-60 minutes to ejaculate, you’re experiencing delayed ejaculation.
Slow ejaculation can be caused by a number of things, some of which can also be causes of erectile dysfunction — diabetes, for example. There are also medications which can make it difficult to get an erection and hard to ejaculate, like SSRI antidepressants. Psychological links exist, too. If you’re experiencing delayed ejaculation, you might lose your erection if you get distracted or too tired.
So while neither condition means you’re bound to experience the other, links do exist. Talking to a doctor and figuring out what’s causing your issues can help narrow down what treatment you need.