Premature ejaculation occurs in just under two minutes, as opposed to about seven minutes for men able to stay the course, according to a U.S. study aimed at setting some standards for the disorder.
And it can indeed lead to dissatisfaction, a sense of losing control and strained relationships, said the report released Wednesday.
"Most people think uni-dimensionally about premature ejaculation in terms of considering it a disorder of time," said Stanley Althof of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, who worked on the study.
"This article demonstrates that subjective factors like sense of control, distress, and sexual satisfaction need to be considered when treating this highly prevalent disorder."
The researchers timed ejaculations by giving stopwatches to the sex partners of more than 1,500 men.
Writing in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, they said they were trying to set parameters for a condition that is poorly defined medically.
About 200 of the men in the study suffered from premature ejaculation, they found. A man with the condition took 1.8 minutes to ejaculate after beginning intercourse compared to 7.3 minutes for most of the men.
Premature ejaculators and their female partners also had higher ratings for personal distress, interpersonal difficulty with their partner, lack of ejaculation control and dissatisfaction with sexual intercourse, they found.
"Premature ejaculation (PE) is the most common male sexual dysfunction, affecting approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of the male population at any one time," the researchers wrote in their report.
"Currently, available data suggest that only 1 percent to 12 percent of males self-reporting PE receive treatment for their dysfunction."
The study was funded in part by Mountain View, California-based Alza Corp. and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services, LLC, which are seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug dapoxetine for treating premature ejaculation.
Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Minnesota, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and Valparaiso University in Indiana also took part in the study.