Finishing too fast? You’re not the only guy trying to hold it together: Premature ejaculation (PE) affects about 1 in 3 men, according to the Mayo Clinic. But even though it’s a common curse, the causes behind your PE are still unclear. Granted, most guys blame their nerves—but according to a recent study published in The Journal of Sex Research, long-term anxiety might not explain your premature ejaculation.
After surveying 985 Finish men about their sexual experiences and mental health in 2006, researchers followed up with them again in 2012. To rule out the influence of genetics, the researchers only studied male twins and brothers of twins. After analyzing their responses, the researchers found no link between anxiety symptoms reported in 2006 with later reports of premature ejaculation in 2012, meaning they couldn’t support the long-believed hypothesis that generalized anxiety could directly cause premature ejaculation.
Are people anxious because they have a sexual difficulty?
Take that finding with a grain of salt: While their results came up short, anxiety shouldn’t be disregarded completely, study author Daniel Ventus of Åbo Akademi University told PsyPost. “We do know that premature ejaculation is associated with, for example, anxiety, but we don’t know the direction of causality: Are people anxious because they have a sexual difficulty, or do they have a sexual difficulty because they are anxious?” he said.
Plus, this one study only looked at how long-term generalized anxiety affects your lasting power in bed. The researchers didn’t take performance anxiety into account, which could potentially have a more immediate effect on your stamina.
“The time between the two measurement points in the study was several years, which may be too long to find meaningful associations,” Ventus told PsyPost. “It would be interesting to measure anxiety and sexual functioning every day for a period of time, and see if we could find some short-term associations. Also, one could use a measure of (performance) anxiety related to the specific sexual situation instead of more general anxiety measures.”
What’s more, there weren’t many severe cases of premature ejaculation reported in this study. It all boils down to whether or not you actually have a problem in the first place: Your average, “normal” American man only lasts 13 minutes in bed, says Landon Trost, M.D., a urologist and Head of Andrology and Male Infertility at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If you’re still getting down on your duration, there are a few expert-approved techniques you can try to thwart premature ejaculation: Here are 6 ways to last longer in bed if your time is coming up short—and if you want to make sure your erection stays hard for life, check out the Men’s Health Guide to Erectile Dysfunction.
Additional reporting by John Scott Lewinski