Psychosexual therapy for premature ejaculation

Stanley E. Althof


Premature ejaculation (PE) is a male sexual dysfunction that creates considerable anguish for the man, his partner and their relationship. PE is not one disorder but includes the four subtypes (lifelong, acquired, natural and subjective) each with unique psychological concerns and issues. Psychological treatment for men and couples with PE addresses sexual skills/techniques but also focuses on issues of self-esteem, performance anxiety and interpersonal conflict. The outcome studies for psychotherapy alone are difficult to interpret and compare because of poor methodological design (lack of control groups, small sample size, poor outcome measures and lack of follow-up). However, the few studies that surmount these methodological hurdles suggest that psychological intervention offers men and couples a promising treatment option. Combination pharmaco- and psychotherapy is the most promising intervention for lifelong and acquired PE and offers superior efficacy to drug alone. This is because men and couples learn sexual skills, address the intrapsychic, interpersonal and cognitive issues that precipitate and maintain the dysfunction.