Men’s Health Service Premature Ejaculation

Our men’s health service offers effective treatments for male-specific conditions such as premature ejaculation, hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Our pharmacists are here to help with advice, support and explain what treatments are available. The third of our three articles looks at premature ejaculation.

Premature Ejaculation

Premature Ejaculation (or PE) is a sexual condition where a man ejaculates very early during sex, on a regular basis. Typically, ‘premature’ means within two minutes of penetration commencing.

  • Premature Ejaculation is a common issue couples face.
  • 1 in 10 UK men experience it on a recurring basis.
  • Prescription treatments can help men go for longer.

Clearly defining the boundaries of premature ejaculation is not easy. After all, no two couples are the same. Sexual tastes vary, and what you expect from your partner or vice versa during intercourse is down to you as individuals.

However, it is quite common for a man to ejaculate before their female partner during sex. But when the male partner reaches climax within one or two minutes of penetration commencing, this can prove frustrating for both partners. If this occurs on a regular basis, then this might be defined as a case of premature ejaculation.

Premature ejaculation can be primary (present from an early age) or secondary (encountered at some point in life by those who have no history of PE). The causes for each can vary.

Many doctors believe that how you learn to masturbate and have sex during your early adult life can influence your sexual habits, and that this can be a cause of primary PE. For instance, if, as a teenager, someone becomes used to masturbating and climaxing as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught, then this can encourage the condition.

Secondary premature ejaculation might be caused by emotional distress, such as anxiety. A degree of nervousness is natural if you don’t have sex all that often, or are not as experienced as your partner. But men who are engaging in sex at the start of a new relationship may be insecure or eager to impress their new partner, and this can often be a trigger for premature ejaculation.

Where the issue is caused by emotional or psychological factors, discussing matters with your partner or with a therapist can help. Similarly, consulting a doctor to address any potential undiagnosed illnesses which might be causing premature ejaculation can help as well.

Men who only experience mild forms of PE (if, for example, you endure for 5 minutes but want to go on for a little longer) will usually be able to train themselves with practice, and without the need for medicine. However, those who repeatedly experience severe instances of the problem (such as those who climax within one to two minutes) may choose to seek treatment.

Types of Treatment

There are numerous approaches couples can take when it comes to lasting longer in bed and delaying ejaculation. These include topical creams such as EMLA Cream, and tablet medications like Priligy.

How do they work?
EMLA Cream

Products such as EMLA Cream are primarily used to provide dermal anaesthesia prior to minor procedures involving the skin. This procedure might be an injection, or the removal of a wart. However, it is sometimes prescribed off-label for the treatment of PE. It contains lidocaine and prilocaine, which are anesthetizing agents. When carefully applied to the penis, this product can help to decrease penile sensitivity and allow the user to last longer during penetrative sex.


This medication comes in the form of a tablet. It contains a substance called dapoxetine, which is an SSRI, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. This type of medication is normally issued to treat depression, however it has been found that medicines of this type produce beneficial results in giving the user better control over ejaculation. Priligy is the first pill to be specifically developed for the treatment of premature ejaculation.

Which medication?

EMLA Cream is applied directly to the penis, and produces a numbing effect which enables the user to go on having sex for longer.

Priligy is an oral tablet, which contains a compound called dapoxetine. This works by increasing the activity of serotonin in a specific part of the nervous system, and this makes it easier for the user to climax later.

Should I take Priligy, or use EMLA Cream?

It depends on what you’re better suited to, and whether you would prefer to use a tablet medication or a cream.

Are there different side effects?

Although many people use medications such as these and experience no ill effects, there is still a possibility that some side effects may occur. With EMLA Cream, the known possible side effects relate more directly to skin irritation in the area of application. Priligy may cause more generalised side effects, such as headaches, dizziness and feelings of nausea, among others.

Is it right for me?

Whether you seek treatment for PE depends on how much you and your partner feel the condition is affecting your sex lives. If you have tried other solutions and these have proved ineffective to stay longer in bed, or if you feel that premature ejaculation is a persistent problem for you, then medicine may be able to assist you. Our pharmacists are here to help with advice and treatment.


Call in to your local Dears Pharmacy for support and advice in our locations in Edinburgh & Fife.

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