Originally published: 05.SEP.2018
Last updated: 16.AUG.2023

You may have heard of premature ejaculation but are you familiar with delayed ejaculation? Both fall under the category of impaired ejaculation, a male sexual disorder that affects around 1-4% of the male population. [1]

Everyone has a different idea of what ‘normal’ is in the duration of sex, which can make ejaculation issues challenging to diagnose. Still, according to the Mayo Clinic, delayed ejaculation is a condition where it takes an ‘extended period’ of sexual penetration for men to reach sexual climax. This can either be a temporary or a lifelong issue.

We take you through the causes, signs, and symptoms of delayed ejaculation that you should know about. We are also joined by Ben Bidwell, also known as the Naked Professor, who raises awareness about delayed ejaculation by speaking on his personal experience.

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What is Delayed Ejaculation?

Delayed ejaculation is a condition that is characterized by the inability to ejaculate or have an orgasm within an ‘average’ time frame. Those who experience delayed ejaculation may not ejaculate or orgasm following an extended period of sexual stimulation whether this is with a partner or during self-stimulation/masturbation. Many who suffer from delayed ejaculation may not ejaculate at all (anejaculation).

As mentioned, there is no specific time that indicates delayed ejaculation. Instead, experts say that if you are becoming frustrated, distressed, or need to stop sexual activity due to fatigue it may be an indicator that you are experiencing delayed ejaculation.

Three of the main criteria associated with delayed ejaculation include:

  • Experiencing an observable delay in ejaculation (30-60 minutes)
  • Not being able to ejaculate at all
  • Not experiencing a positive sexual experience as a result of delayed ejaculation for 6 months+

Is Delayed Ejaculation Common in Men?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delayed ejaculation is one of the least studied and least understood sexual disorders in men. [2] The prevalence of delayed ejaculation is thought to be relatively low with predicted ranges of 1% of the global male population suffering from lifelong D.E and 4% of the male global population suffering from acquired D.E (D.E that occurs after a period of ‘normal’ sexual functioning).

It’s important to know that it is common for men to experience delayed ejaculation or other ejaculation problems from time to time and, in most cases, it is not a cause for concern. If delayed ejaculation is an ongoing problem and is causing you or your partner stress, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider you trust to discuss the best options for you.

Related article: Five Myths About Erectile Dysfunction you Shouldn't Believe

What Causes Delayed Ejaculation?

There are several potential causes of delayed ejaculation including medications, chronic health conditions (such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis), or a male reproductive system injury. Some of the medications and other substances that might be associated with delayed ejaculation include:

  • High blood pressure medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Some diuretics
  • Alcohol (particularly excessive use)

In most cases, other common causes can be divided into physical and psychological.

Physical causes of delayed ejaculation

Psychological causes of delayed ejaculation

  • Past trauma associated with sexual intercourse or experiences
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Sexual inexperience
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationship problems

What is a ‘Normal’ Erectile Function?

Sexual function links the body to the mind. The endocrine (hormonal), circulatory and nervous systems interact with thought processes to produce a sexual response for healthy sexual function. There are 5 stages included in the lead-up to a healthy and successful ejaculation.

These include

#1 Desire (also known as your libido or sex drive): Desire refers to the initial thought processes that lead to your desire to engage in sexual activity. This is a sensory experience that may be brought on by your environment, including touch, thoughts, words, sights, and smells. Desire leads to excitement.

#2 Excitement (also known as sexual stimulation): Excitement refers to the connection between sensory systems in which signals are sent from the brain, via the spinal cord to the penis. The arteries that supply blood to erectile tissues begin to relax and dilate, which allows increased blood flow and increased blood pressure within the penis leading to an erection. During the excitement phase, muscle tension increases throughout the body.

#3 Plateau Stage: Plateau Stage refers to the period between experiencing an erection and ejaculation. During the plateau stage, breathing becomes rapid, and muscles tense. The excitement stage continues to intensify.

#4 Orgasm: Orgasm refers to the peak of climax or sexual excitement. During orgasm, muscle tension throughout the body reaches its peak, and pelvic muscles contract, followed by ejaculation.

#5 Ejaculation: Ejaculation occurs when the nervous system works in conjunction with male reproductive organs to stimulate the movement of semen into the urethra. Further muscular contractions around the urethra propel semen out of the penis while the neck of the bladder contracts preventing the backward flow of semen, also known as retrograde ejaculation.

Related article: Low Libido in Men: What's Affecting Your Sex Drive?

What are the Signs of Delayed Ejaculation?

Remember, everyone’s idea of a ‘normal’ duration of sex differs which can make identifying the signs and symptoms of delayed ejaculation difficult.

With that said, some signs may include:

  • The inability to experience an orgasm or ejaculation for at least up to or over 30 minutes
  • The inability to get reach the “Excitement” stage
  • The inability to reach the “Plateau” stage
  • Feeling deflated during a sexual encounter
  • Feeling disconnected from your sexual partner
  • Experiencing anxiety around sex
  • The inability to ejaculate and/or orgasm at least half of the time you have engaged in sexual behavior

If you are experiencing symptoms of delayed ejaculation and would like to get some insights into your hormone levels, you can check in from the comfort of your home with LetsGetChecked’s range of Male Hormone Testing options.

With our hormone testing, you can remove the guesswork and get the right answers to your hormonal health questions

How is Delayed Ejaculation Treated?

Treatment for delayed ejaculation depends entirely on the underlying cause. If it is thought that there is an underlying medical cause, blood tests may be required to check for signs of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or low testosterone levels.

Treatment may include:

  • Taking certain medications
  • Changing medications you may currently take
  • Counseling (potentially sex therapy)

Living With Delayed Ejaculation: The Naked Professor

Living with Erectile Dysfunction

LetsGetChecked is joined by The Naked Professor, public speaker, life coach, and writer who says he knew he had delayed ejaculation from his very first sexual experience. Today, he raises awareness for D.E, with the message that there shouldn’t be a fear or stigma associated with a condition that you cannot control.

The word brave is thrown around. None of it feels brave. I’m just sharing my truth. I didn’t choose it. What is there to hide? The world is closed to open-mindedness. I’m just being honest and it’s not for everyone.

How long have you known that you have delayed ejaculation?

I’ve known since the first time I had sex. I didn’t have an orgasm, it happened a few times after that and I just thought to myself, I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to be this way. Some people find it easy. There’s always someone on the other end of the spectrum and I just don’t find it easy to orgasm.

What was happening in your life in the lead-up to your diagnosis?

There were different facets that lead to it. I was running a tech company and I needed to make changes. The tech guys working on my team were building my vision and it was a source of anxiety for me because I couldn’t control it myself. Eventually, I made a conscious decision in my head, I decided that I needed to make a decision to do something that was within my control.

I forced myself into taking on self-care. I was thirty and I had some failed relationships in the previous 7 years. Sex and sexual dysfunction were the main issues, but they were becoming an ongoing issue.

I decided to leave the tech company and study meditation. Now I work as a life coach and meditation teacher. I see myself as a mental health advocate.

How did you deal with your condition at the start?

I had gone to my doctor and did a number of tests. I was inquisitive. I think I had an interest in particular about how we grow up and how a few things resonate from growing up. It started making sense to me. You get to the point where you’re so closed that you become open.

I think it came down to something called the locus of control. If you have an external locus of control, you believe that outside forces determine what happens in your life. If you have an internal locus of control, you believe that you can drive your own path. I remember reading a study that showed that those with an internal locus of control tend to be richer, both in character and literally.

How did The Naked Professor get started?

I decided that I needed to change my life so I was going to start writing about my passion. What I write about isn’t necessarily about my condition but about vulnerability, it’s about uncovering who you really are.

I couldn’t think of what image I could have used for a while but I knew that I wanted to captivate an audience. I needed a headline image and the concept became married to the image of truth I wanted to speak. Once I started taking the images, the Naked Professor was born.


Was it a brave step for you to show your face as the Naked Professor?

I couldn’t keep hiding. It created a certain level of intrigue for the brand, and from the outset, I didn’t want the Naked Professor to be about how I looked. I was chasing freedom, being vulnerable, and standing out from the crowd, but what I looked like didn’t need to be about that.

I had to evolve. I was nervous about posting a non-naked image. I didn’t know how people would deal with it.

How has delayed ejaculation affected your relationships?

I’ve received mixed reactions. To some, it was a real problem, it really affected them.

It’s been hard to have a healthy relationship. It would add an element of anxiety to having sex. At first, I thought that my drive wasn’t as high. I didn’t have an answer then to what was wrong with me.

Some past relationships would take it personally. Others had no stress, but it did affect me negatively. I didn’t want this problem in my life. It does affect your drive in other aspects of your life. Your partner wants to feel wanted. They want to see passion in your eyes but my issue made that dwindle. We didn’t have the same end goals and it can make it fizzle out prematurely.

I realize that I need to be with someone who is really understanding. It’s really asking for a lot of compassion and I’m aware of that. D.E. started to negatively impact my thoughts. I feel that with the right person, I could find an understanding and a connection. I know that in the end, it won’t define me.

Do you think that delayed ejaculation is a physical or emotional condition?

I think it’s 50/50. Initially, it was derived from the body and if you added alcohol, it would take even longer again. Your mind records what happens and then it reinforces the memory as a physical experience, becoming deeply rooted and very deeply ingrained.

Our body talks to us. If we feel anxiety, we respond to it in different ways. What we may feel inside will come out in different behavioral patterns and in a deeper way. It’s not one or the other, there’s a mindset and body connection.

How has your experience with health testing been, between from your first test to today?

My first test was taken when I was 21. I was in a relationship at the time. I took a test for diabetes and testosterone and they came back normal. I also went to a urologist.

Today, just getting an appointment is quite difficult. It’s been with me all my life and it’s not life-threatening, so being treated with public healthcare, can take 3-6 months to get an appointment alone. I don’t blame the healthcare system at all and I am highly appreciative of everything they have done for me. I have undertaken psychosexual therapy too. It’s a bit frustrating but I’m not resentful at all.

You need to prioritize and invest in yourself

What advice would you give to someone who has delayed ejaculation?

First thing: there is no shame around this. You haven’t done anything wrong.

Second thing: society is embracing vulnerability. Get out there and explore, your body is talking to you.

There is a quote that has always really stuck with me in particular:

Your wounds are not your fault but healing is your responsibility.

What Should You Do If You Have Delayed Ejaculation?

There is no cure or treatment for delayed ejaculation, just as there is no clear diagnostic definition. It is recommended that physical issues are ruled out, such as neurodegenerative disorders, as well as certain medications that may cause delayed ejaculation. Hormones, thyroid function and diabetes should also be tested to offer an overview of your health.

Age is a deciding factor in sexual function and men over the age of 50 are likely to experience ejaculatory and erectile issues. In saying that, if there are no physical or lifestyle factors that are illustrating issues associated with ejaculation. It is recommended that those who experience the condition consider talking therapies to explore the psychological aspect of the condition. Check out LetsGetChecked's range of health tests here.

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  1. National Library of Medicine. The pathophysiology of delayed ejaculation. Online: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. National Library of Medicine. The pathophysiology of delayed ejaculation. Online: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov