Definition Of Delayed Ejaculation

In men, absence of ejaculation during sexual intercourse - or difficulty ejaculating - is called delayed ejaculation or retarded ejaculation.

So what's going on?

To answer this, I'd like to take you on a journey of discovery..... about what happens when you come....

As you know, orgasm and ejaculation occur very close together. In fact, we usually think of them as the same thing. But the truth is, they are separate events, and they can occur independently of each other.

Ejaculation is the release of seminal fluid into the penis and its ejection from the body by means of strong muscular contractions, while orgasm is an intense mental and emotional experience marked by feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

However, let's keep thing simple. Let's assume that orgasm and ejaculation are more or less linked, and occur simultaneously. That makes it easier to come up with a useful, practical definition. And here it is:


Repeated delay in achieving, or the complete failure to achieve, ejaculation, despite receiving the level of sexual stimulation which would normally trigger it, and where the man has no control over the timing of his ejaculation.

In other words, the problem is involuntary.

This problem with ejaculation can be lifelong or acquired.

You might have had it for as long as you can remember, or it might have started later in life, because, for some mysterious and as yet unexplained, reason, you acquired it. I guess these terms are self-explanatory.

But an odd thing about delayed ejaculation (let's call it DE for short) is that it doesn't always happen every time a man has sex.

In this case, when it shows itself with one particular partner or in one particular situation, it's called situational DE. But if it happens all the time, every time, it's called "generalized" DE.

Other terms used to classify DE are "primary" and "secondary".

Here's what these terms mean: Primary is when a man can't ejaculate during intercourse with a sexual partner, and has "never" been able to.

Secondary is when he's somehow lost his ability to ejaculate during sex, or is only able to do so from time to time.

Now, you can read more on this page, if you want, but you probably don't need to if you're just interested in a cure. Instead, you could discover all about the treatment program by clicking here.


More On The Definition

An orgasm is a powerful emotional and physical experience, whereas ejaculation, no matter how pleasant it may feel, is simply a reflex generated by the prolonged stimulation of particular nerves in the genital region.

After a man has ejaculated, he won't be able to do so again before a certain amount of time, called the refractory period, has passed. But, if he knows how, he can reach orgasm again as many times as he likes with no delay.... it's called male multiple orgasm. (Women can do it, too!)

The sensations of orgasm vary a lot: they are certainly not all the same.

We all know that from our own experience! But common factors include contraction of the body muscles, especially the pelvic muscles, elevated respiration, a higher heart rate, sweating, possibly a bodily flush, and a final phase of release of tension, possibly explosively, and generally accompanied by the  projection of semen out of the penis.

Multiple Orgasms For Men?

Now, a bit of biology. And a bit more detail. Reading any further is not compulsory. You may not be interested in this!

Both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems control sexual activity.

nervous system plan

nervous system plan - sympathetic and parasympathetic

In order for a man to develop an erection, the smooth muscle fibers of the penis must relax so as to allow blood to flow into the corpora cavernosa.

This process is the outcome of a complex interaction of vascular and neurological events governed by the activities of the parasympathetic nervous system.

However, orgasm and the ejaculatory reflex, and changes after these events in the body, are the product of the action of the sympathetic nervous system.

Emission is the release of semen into the posterior urethra, and is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, while orgasm and ejaculation both fall under the auspices of the sympathetic nervous system.

A man's orgasm involves three events: emission, ejaculation and orgasm. Ejaculation is clearly located in the genitals, while orgasm is an experience felt throughout the body.

There is an experience colloquially known as "numb come" (which doctors term anesthetic ejaculation) which illustrates how the two parts of a male sexual climax may be physiologically and psychologically separated.

It involves release of semen without any sense of orgasm, and is probably because of a lack of sexual arousal. Another indication of the separation of orgasm and release of semen is the fact that some men can enjoy multiple orgasms but not multiple ejaculations.

Frequency Of Problems With Slow Ejaculation

Well, limited data is available, but it looks like 14% of men have these challenges reaching ejaculation - whereas a massive 28% are just too, well, premature....

chart showing frquency of delayed ejaculation


The definition of DE in DSM-IV is "a persistent or recurrent delay in orgasm or even a complete absence of orgasm after normal sexual stimulation that should have raised a person's sexual arousal to a level adequate in focus, intensity, and duration."

The difficulty of leaving such judgments to the clinical practitioner means that "normal" and "adequate in focus, intensity and duration" are not objectively defined and these criteria are notoriously subject to variation between couples anyway. 

It's better to define delays or non-existent ejaculation as a condition where a man cannot ejaculate easily, or indeed at all, even when he has plenty of sexual stimulation, has an erection and wishes to achieve orgasm.

The effort of trying to get to orgasm and ejaculate may be fruitless and exhausting for both a man and his partner. This can apply to intercourse, masturbation and oral sex.

If a man has difficulty in all situations, regardless of what sexual activity he is enjoying, and with all his sexual partners, his DE is said to be "generalized".  If he has this issue in only certain situations or specific sexual partners, his DE is defined as "situational" - for example, he may be unable to ejaculate within the vagina of his partner but can do so by masturbation, or he may be able to ejaculate during sex with a man but not with a female partner, and so on. This would include having problems with a particular partner at some times and not others.

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More Pages on the Definition of DE

A Definition Expanded and Explained ] Another Definition ]


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Quick Facts:

Just How Common Is This Problem?

Delayed ejaculation occurs in about ten per cent of men. It can be lifelong or acquired later in life. Of these two types of ejaculation delay, it's the lifelong form that tends to be slightly less common than the acquired variety. (This reflects the natural tendency of men to last longer during sex as they get older.)

However, the problem is that there is no agreement on what constitutes "delayed": nor is there any agreement on what is a "reasonable" time before ejaculation during intercourse.


What Is The Normal Speed Of Ejaculation?

So just what is the normal delay before a man reaches climax after entering his partner?

It seems that somewhere between four and seven minutes is the average intravaginal ejaculatory latency time or IELT (that's a medical term for the time between penetration and ejaculation!).

Needless to say, the time varies according to age, and it's no surprise to find that younger men usually come in just over two minutes!

Another piece of research indicated that men with "good control" of their ejaculation last for an average of nine minutes.


How Long Does It Take A Woman To Come?

We don't really know how long it takes an women to reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse.

One study by Helen Fisher suggested that a small proportion of women can reach orgasm within one minute, and two thirds will reach orgasm in eleven minutes.

Personally, I don't believe that, but we just don't know the facts. It's possible more women would reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse if only sex lasted longer - it usually stops when the man ejaculates and intercourse comes to an abrupt halt.

But studies on sexual behavior are very difficult to design and equally difficult to interpret, none of which makes working out the real causes of delayed ejaculation any easier.




Simons and Carey's meta review suggested that DE affects 8% of men, but personal experience makes me think the rate may actually be around 10-12%.

And the GSSAB, which looked at the sexual behavior and attitudes in over 27,000 men and women aged between 41 and 81 years of age gives us reason to think that it occurs in around 13% of men; unfortunately, lack of a clear definition means the figure is always going to be a bit unreliable.

And in a wider sense, the fact there are very few well controlled scientific studies in this area means we need to regard any epidemiological evidence as worthy of skepticism. A lot more research is required before we can say how often sexual dysfunction of this kind occurs in men of of different races and ages, and also how it interacts with other social variables.

*International Journal of STD and AIDS, 2006, 17, 7-13.

I'd be interested to know how the presence of sexual infections can affect male ejaculation. For example, yeast infection in men - see  -- can make a man's sexual responses slower or faster. Sexually transmitted infections which interfere with the functioning of the peripheral sexual nerves will certainly disrupt the natural flow of sexual activity.

Updated August 11, 2016