The most commonly reported sexual issue in men is erectile dysfunction. Around 5 percent of men under 40 experience ED, a number that increases to 15 percent for men aged 70 and older. Altogether, it is estimated that almost 30 million men live with the condition today. Next on the list comes premature ejaculation. In fact, for men aged 40 and under premature ejaculation is the leading issue and 1 in 5 of them experience it. With these two issues being the topmost cited sexual concerns of men, particularly young men many are asking a key question: what is the link between erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation?

What Exactly Is Premature Ejaculation?

According to the Harvard Health newsletter, premature ejaculation occurs when a man reaches orgasm soon after penetration and with very little control. Experts estimate the condition affects up to 30 percent of men and can either be lifelong or acquired.  While there are no set guidelines on how long ejaculation time should be, the average ejaculation time is 5.4 minutes according to a 2005 study. Similarly, a study done in 2008 showed that an adequate timeframe for intercourse was between 3 and 7 minutes. With such statistics from these and other studies, some scientists suggest any ejaculation before the 2 to 3-minute mark may be cause for concern.

Causes Of Premature Ejaculation In Men

Similar to erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation can be caused by both physical and physiological issues. Most medical professionals like to rule out physical factors first as a rule of thumb, although a majority of cases are found to be caused by psychological and not physical conditions. The good news is that many men with premature ejaculation go on to lead happy lives and identifying the correct cause is the first step to doing this. It also helps to narrow down the type of premature ejaculation you are dealing with primary (lifelong) or secondary (acquired).

Physical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or prostate disease can cause both lifelong and acquired premature ejaculation. Diabetes has also been linked to the prevalence of erectile dysfunction. This is because the ability to control insulin production and management (which is common with diabetes) can end up damaging your nerves and blood vessels, which can hamper the ability to sustain an erection for a long time. Alternatively, inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) or prostate cancer can also impact your ejaculation time and control.

However, a majority of premature ejaculation cases are due to mental factors such as stress, depression or performance anxiety. In the new American Psychiatric Association (APA) poll, almost 40 percent of Americans face anxiety. Furthermore, a staggering 86 percent of them agreed that the state of your mental health can impact your physical health, supporting the theory that both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation can be strongly linked to mental health. As a result, you must be transparent in your discussions with your doctor about both your physical and mental health history. In some cases, premature ejaculation can be temporary and go away after the contributing factor has been addressed. For example, removing the source of your stress or improving your sleeping habits.

The Thread Connecting Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Dysfunction

The American Diabetes Association estimates that 10-20 percent of men with erectile dysfunction face the issue due to stress, fear of sexual performance or anxiety- some of the same mental health issues that drive the majority of premature ejaculation cases. The underlying factor here is stress and anxiety, which impacts both the male sexual life and your physical health, creating an ongoing circle that those with sexual dysfunctions can find it difficult to get out of.

Some of the physical conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction such as diabetes are also linked to premature ejaculation. It is also worth noting that erectile dysfunction does not necessarily appear in the form of being unable to achieve an erection. In fact, erectile dysfunction can also be the inability to hold an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse.

Meanwhile, a premature ejaculation diagnosis can be given if you tend to ejaculate within 1 minute of penetrative sex. With this in mind, it is safe to say the two most common sexual male dysfunctions are connected. Many men that are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction may experience premature ejaculation as a symptom of their condition. However, it is also important that you can distinguish the two: some men with erectile dysfunction are not able to achieve an erection at all

Learning To Deal With Premature Ejaculation And Erectile Dysfunction Together

For both conditions, lifestyle changes are normally the go-to recommended solutions. Stress management techniques such as the practicing of yoga and meditation along with regular exercise can help you address underlying issues causing both premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. For those with diabetes or cardiovascular conditions, maintaining a diabetic-friendly and low sugar diet may help you solve the issue of premature ejaculation without needing medication. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, which influences both premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. In any case, eating a healthy diet can help you control your stress levels and any other factors contributing to your sexual dysfunction.

You should also try behavioral therapy or the pause and sneeze technique during sex to help you delay your ejaculation. There has also been some success with the use of condoms during sex since they can decrease the sensitivity of the penis. Many large brands now offer a range of extended pleasure condoms aimed at helping those with premature ejaculation lead a healthy sex life. It is also important that you consider speaking to both your partner and a therapist- particularly if the cause of your ED or premature ejaculation is psychologically related. Being open with your partner about your performance fears or nerves can kickstart a great conversation and help you overcome them.

Medical Options For ED And Premature Ejaculation

The medical options for premature ejaculation and premature ejaculation can vary, however. Men can access medication that helps them delay ejaculation while medications for ED aim to improve your testosterone levels or increase the blood flow to the penis. On the other hand, medications for premature ejaculation normally include antidepressants such as Lexapro or Zoloft since a typical side effect of these drugs is delayed orgasm. Another alternative that may be prescribed is the use of anaesthetic creams to numb the penis and delay ejaculation.

Erectile dysfunction medication is sometimes used in conjunction with antidepressants but it is normally dependent on whether your premature ejaculation is a stand-alone condition or simply a symptom of erectile dysfunction- something your doctor will assess with the help of blood tests, physical examinations and health history questions.