Ejaculation problems

Symptoms of ejaculation problems

The most common symptom of ejaculation problems is the inability to control ejaculation for as long as both partners would like.

The symptoms will vary depending on whether you are experiencing:

  • premature ejaculation
  • delayed ejaculation
  • retrograde ejaculation

Premature ejaculation

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

Delayed ejaculation

Delayed 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 delayed ejaculation.

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

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

Delayed 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 delayed ejaculation usually suggests the condition is the result of psychological causes.

Retrograde ejaculation

The main symptoms of retrograde ejaculation include: 

  • producing no semen, or only a small amount, during ejaculation
  • producing cloudy urine when you first go to the toilet after having sex - the urine appears cloudy due to the semen in it


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