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Ejaculation problems - Symptoms of ejaculation problems

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Premature ejaculation

The main symptom of premature ejaculation is the inability to control and delay ejaculation for as long as both partners would like.

While there is no definition of how long intercourse should last, in the majority of premature ejaculation cases the man ejaculates before entering his partner's vagina, or within a minute of entering.

Occasional episodes of premature ejaculation are common and are not a cause for concern. However, if you are finding that around half of your attempts to have intercourse result in premature ejaculation then it might help to get treatment. Read more about treating ejaculation problems.

Types of premature ejaculation

There are two main types of premature ejaculation:

  • primary premature ejaculation (sometimes referred to as 'lifelong') - where a man has had a problem with premature ejaculation since becoming sexually active
  • secondary premature ejaculation - where premature ejaculation develops in a man who has previously ejaculated normally

Primary premature ejaculation is less common, affecting around 1 in 50 men in England. In most cases of lifelong premature ejaculation:

  • there is an inability to delay ejaculation during sex every time or most times
  • the condition causes feelings of shame or frustration and impacts on quality of life, leading to a man avoiding sexual intimacy

Retarded ejaculation

Retarded ejaculation is classed as either experiencing a significant delay before ejaculation is possible, or being unable to ejaculate at all.

There is no set definition to describe 'how long is too long', but a persistent (and unwanted) delay of ejaculation that lasts for 30 to 60 minutes may suggest retarded ejaculation.

Alternatively, if you are unable to achieve ejaculation at least half the times you have sex, you may have retarded ejaculation.

As with premature ejaculation, retarded ejaculation can be either acquired or lifelong. Lifelong retarded ejaculation is less common and affects an estimated 1 in 1,000 men.

Retarded ejaculation can also be classified as:

  • global - where it occurs in all sexual situations
  • situational - where it only occurs in certain situations

For example, you may be able to ejaculate normally when masturbating, but not during sex. Situational retarded ejaculation usually suggests the condition is the result of psychological causes.

Retrograde ejaculation

Apart from the absence of semen, the main symptom of retrograde ejaculation is producing cloudy urine when you first go to the toilet after having sex. The urine appears cloudy due to the semen in it.


  • Discharge: Discharge is when a liquid such as pus oozes from a part of your body.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling when you feel worried, uneasy or distressed about something that may or may not be about to happen.
  • Pain: Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
  • Blood: Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide. It is pumped around the body by the heart.
Medical Review: March 31, 2012
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