Sexual Health Q&A

What are the most common ejaculatory dysfunctions?

As the name suggests, ejaculatory dysfunctions occur when a man has problems ejaculating, even when he is completely aroused. They generally fall into the following six categories:

Premature ejaculation (PE).  A man ejaculates before he and his partner wish it to happen. This can happen continuously from the first sexual experience (lifelong PE) or after a period of normal sexual function (secondary PE). It’s estimated that a third of men experience PE at some point, but only about 10% are distressed enough to seek help.

Delayed ejaculation (DE). For a man with DE, ejaculation takes longer than he’d like, even if he has a full erection and is well-stimulated. DE can be primary (lifelong) or secondary (ejaculation was normal in the past). An estimated 1% to 4% of men have delayed ejaculation.

In some cases, men with DE are unable to ejaculate during intercourse, but can do so when they masturbate.

Anejaculation. Men with anejaculation cannot ejaculate at all. When this happens continuously, it is called total anejaculation. Situational anejaculation occurs only under certain circumstances.

Retrograde ejaculation. When retrograde ejaculation happens, semen travels backward into the bladder instead of forward out of the penis. It leaves the body when a man urinates.

Retrograde ejaculation is not harmful, but couples who wish to have children might have trouble conceiving.

• Perceived ejaculate volume reduction. Men with this disorder notice that they are ejaculating less semen than they have in the past.

• Decreased force of ejaculation. Ejaculation occurs with less force than it used to.

Aside from premature ejaculation, ejaculatory disorders have not been widely studied. However, research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2015 shed some light on the prevalence of delayed ejaculation, anejaculation, perceived ejaculate volume reduction, and decreased force of ejaculation.

American scientists collected information from 988 men with ejaculatory disorders. Eighty-eight percent of the men had perceived ejaculate volume reduction. Eighty-one percent reported ejaculating with less force. Sixty-two percent experienced delayed ejaculation and 37% had anejaculation. (Learn more about this study here. It is important to note that these figures apply to the group of men studied, who had been diagnosed with ejaculatory dysfunctions. The percentages do not represent the general male population.)

Some men have more than one ejaculatory dysfunction. In the above study, this occurred with 88% of the participants.

Men who have trouble with ejaculation are encouraged to speak to their doctor.