Delayed ejaculation is classed as either:

  • experiencing a significant delay before ejaculation
  • being unable to ejaculate at all, even though the man wants to and his erection is normal

You may have delayed ejaculation if:

  • you experience a repeated and unwanted delay before ejaculation lasting for 30 to 60 minutes
  • you're unable to ejaculate at least half the times you have sex

Causes of delayed ejaculation

Like premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation can be caused by psychological and physical factors.

Possible psychological causes of delayed ejaculation are similar to those of premature ejaculation – for example, early sexual trauma, strict upbringing, relationship problems, stress or depression.

Possible physical causes of delayed ejaculation include diabetes (usually only type 1 diabetes), spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, surgery to the bladder or prostate gland and increasing age

Many medicines are known to cause delayed ejaculation, including antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), medicines to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, antipsychotics, used to treat episodes of psychosis, muscle relaxants such as baclofen and powerful painkillers, such as methadone.

Delayed ejaculation can suddenly start to happen after previously having no problems, orless commonly the man may have always experienced it.

It can occur in all sexual situations, or only in certain situations. For example, you may be able to ejaculate normally when masturbating, but not during sex. When ejaculation only occurs in certain situations, there's usually a psychological cause.

Treating delayed ejaculation

Sex therapy: Sex therapy is a form of counselling that uses a combination of psychotherapy and structured changes in your sex life. This can help to increase your feeling of enjoyment during sex, and help make ejaculation easier.

During sex therapy, you'll have the opportunity to discuss any emotional or psychological issues related to your sexuality and relationship, in a non-judgemental way.

Activities may also be recommended for you to try at home while you are having sex with your partner. These may include:

  • viewing erotic videos and magazines before having sex to increase the feeling of stimulation
  • erotic fantasies to make your lovemaking more exciting
  • using lubricating creams, or jellies, to make the physical act of sex more comfortable and relaxing
  • using sexual aids, such as vibrators, to increase pleasure


Switching medicine: There are a number of medicines that can be used if it's thought SSRIs are responsible for causing delayed ejaculation. These help block some of the chemical effects of SSRIs that may contribute towards delayed ejaculation.

Alcohol and drugs: Alcohol misuse and drug use can be separate underlying causes of delayed ejaculation.

Medications: Tricyclic antidepressants are tried, but to use in caution due to their side effects.