As we eased out of lockdown, searches for premature ejaculation medication soared by over 200% on Lloyds Pharmacy’s Online Doctor. Data also reveals searches in excess of 5,000 are made for “is premature ejaculation curable” every month since the start of the pandemic in May 2020.
Not only is this a sign of people hoping to boost their sex lives post-lockdown, but it may also be a signal that the stress of the pandemic has impacted men’s sexual performance.
“The uplift in men searching for or receiving premature ejaculation medication shows that it’s a growing problem – which could be caused by the pandemic and our behaviors post-pandemic too,” says Clinical Technology Lead, Dr Sameer Sanghvi.
There are many possible causes of premature ejaculation, but thankfully there are ways and means of combatting the issue.
The Cause: Stress & Anxiety
“It’s no surprise that many of us have been feeling additional stress, depression, or anxiety during the pandemic and it’s expected that this will impact on our sex lives,” says Dr Sameer. For some, stress may be affecting their sex drive and for others, it could be causing premature ejaculation.
“Sometimes anxiety may cause men to worry about losing their erection, which commonly results in people focusing on increasing their sexual excitement to avoid erectile loss, which can, in turn, lead to early ejaculation.”
“Some people may find masturbating a couple of hours before they have sex can help improve performance – it can help you de-stress and may allow you to go on for longer when you do have sex with a partner,” says Dr Sameer.
“Exercise before sex can also help relieve performance stress by releasing endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce stress. Exercise can make all your muscles perform better too which can help during sex.”
The Cause: Diabetes
“Premature ejaculation can be quite common in people who have type 2 diabetes, and as such, people regularly experiencing premature ejaculation may wish to have a diabetes check,” says Dr Sameer.
“This can be due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels causing damage to the nerves, which control muscles for sexual arousal, and damage to the blood vessels, which reduces blood flow for sexual activity.
“We know cases of diabetes are on the rise, but there are also many people who are currently living with diabetes undiagnosed. We also know during the pandemic many of us put on weight – in fact, our research found that two in five adults have put on nearly a stone since the start of the pandemic.
“If you think you may have gained an unhealthy amount of weight and are experiencing premature ejaculation regularly, it may be worth getting a type 2 diabetes screening test.”
“Regular exercise, along with a low-sugar diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and in fact also help to reduce the risk of premature ejaculation.
“Sex is a widely discussed subject and something that is plastered over various media channels – naturally leaving us with high expectations of what it would be like,” says Dr Sameer. “Porn can play a big role in sexual expectations and can leave people feeling anxious and stressed when it comes to the real deal.
“Research has revealed 30% of over-16s said real sex hasn’t lived up to their expectations from watching porn – the pandemic may have exasperated these feelings following reports that porn consumption increased in an unprecedented way during this period.”
The Cure: Stop Watching Porn
“With porn at our fingertips, it’s not uncommon for people to develop an unrealistic view of what sex is, or should be,” says Dr Sameer. “In reality, it’s nothing like any of these. While it’s difficult to avoid the in-your-face advertising, as it might unexpectedly appear in a TV show, you can avoid porn.
“The expectations that porn brings can make people anxious, especially if they’re engaging in real relations for the first time post-pandemic, and again it’s this anxiety which can really impact performance, and can cause premature ejaculation.
“One of the most important things to remember is that premature ejaculation is extremely common but porn can contribute to the fallacy that it isn’t.
“Even if you only watch porn occasionally, you’re still filling your mind not only with positions and scenarios but also the fact that none of them encounter sexual problems which therefore can leave us with the fantasy that these common sexual problems such as, premature ejaculation, don’t happen.
“If you keep worrying that you can’t last as long as you should in the bedroom as most men have done at some stage, start by asking yourself whether you are simply comparing yourself to unrealistic expectations. Any time after 60 seconds is considered normal for ejaculation, and a study of 500 men found that the average time they lasted was 5 and a half minutes – perhaps shorter than you might expect.”
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