SINGAPORE - Thanks to Viagra, many people know about the problem of erectile dysfunction. However, there's another male sexual problem that is twice as prevalent but is hardly ever talked about.
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a male sexual dysfunction that is characterised by perceived ejaculatory control and results in negative personal consequences such as personal distress and frustration.
At a media briefing this morning, the findings of an independent study on the prevalence of and attitude towards PE were presented by clinical sexologist Professor Ganesh Adaikan, while the impact of PE was highlighted by Professor Peter Lim, a senior consultant urologist.
Prof Adaikan revealed that PE is believed to be the most common male sexual health problem, being twice as prevalent as erectile dysfunction in men aged between 18 and 59. According to the independent Premature Ejaculation Prevalence and Attitude (PEPA) study, 20 per cent of Singaporean men suffer from PE while another 14 per cent probably suffer from it as well.
In all, almost 35 per cent of the men who responded to the PEPA study felt that they had little ejaculatory control. This resulted in high levels of distress, dissatisfaction and frustration in their relationships.
However, the real figure could be much higher - 64 per cent of the respondents indicated that they were "very" or "extremely" distressed at their control over ejaculation. 13 per cent also indicated that they have suffered from the condition since their very first sexual contact.
The prevalence of PE is worrying because of its effect on relationships, noted the two professors. Most of the men diagnosed with PE (92 per cent) worry that their condition leaves their partners sexually unfulfilled.
Prof Lim described a 'typical' scenario, in which PE results in both husband and wife avoiding or limiting sexual activity, while each looks for other forms of satisfaction. Over time, this leads to strains within the marriage, not to mention other problems such as difficulties in conceiving a child. "Because of fear and negative connotations of the condition, couples often only seek help when their inability to conceive a child hits them," said Prof Lim.
Prof Lim noted that PE has a "devastating effect on a man's self-esteem and quality of life", with 39 per cent of respondents to the study indicating that the condition would prevent them from even starting a relationship. The study also revealed that 57 per cent of men feel that suffering from the condition is worse than the fear of dying, while 83 per cent think it is worse than going bald.
The study also revealed that 79 per cent of respondents believe that an increase in the length of time between penetration and ejaculation will significantly improve their sexual relationship, while 72 per cent believe it will significantly improve their overall relationship with their partner.
Currently, available treatments for PE in Singapore include behavioural therapy, topical treatments and counselling.