How do you know if it is PE?

The normal male sexual response is a sequential process, starting with sexual stimulation and culminating in ejaculation.

For men with Premature Ejaculation (PE), the entire ejaculation sequence is substantially shortened, occurring more quickly and with less control than is the case in non-PE men. In fact, the excitement phase is very quick, with generally a normal erection, a brief plateau, rapid ejaculation and orgasm.

Graph 1: The male sexual response cycle in a normal male and in men with PE.

The key criteria to recognise PE are the following:

  1. Short time from vaginal penetration to ejaculation, scientifically named IELT (Intravaginal Ejaculatory Latency Time). Some men even ejaculate during foreplay, before penetration or on first contact with the vagina (ejaculatio ante portas). 49% of men with PE say that they ejaculate before penetration at least occasionally.
  2. Lack of perceived control over ejaculation.
  3. Experiencing negative emotions, such as frustration, bother or avoidance of intimacy.

See more about negative emotions and impact on couple relationship

Relationships among different measures of PE

Graph 2: Relationships among different measures of PE

Therefore, PE is not only a problem of “duration” but especially a “lack of control” over the ejaculation and poor overall satisfaction with intercourse.

There are also some tools that may help men with PE and their partner to obtain a more objective evaluation for example the PEDT test (please notice that PEDT doesn’t substitute doctor’s diagnosis), that could also be useful as a starting point in the conversation with a doctor. See more and try the PEDT test



Althof SE et al. J Urol 2006;175:842-848.


Donatucci CF. J Sex Med. 2006;3(Suppl 4):303-308.


EAU Guidelines on ED and PE 2012.


Giuliano F et al. BJU International 2008;102 (6):668-675.


Halvorsen JG et al. J Am Board Fam Pract 1992;5:51-612.


Revicki V et al. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2008;6:33.


Shabsigh R, Rowland D. J Sex Med 2007;4 (5):1468-1478

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