Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual dysfunction among men which affects men and their partners. Little qualitative data are available to characterize the impact of PE on men and their partners about ejaculatory control, sexual satisfaction, emotional distress and relationships. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of PE from the perspective of men with PE and the female partners of men with PE on their sexual experience, distress and relationships.
Qualitative data were collected through 14 focus groups in the US and through one-on-one interviews in the US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, and Poland. Study participants included heterosexual men with PE and female partners of males with PE. All participants were asked about how PE affects their daily life, including emotional impacts. One-on-one interviews also included obtaining feedback on the male and female versions of 4-single item measures of PE focusing on ejaculatory control, satisfaction with intercourse, interpersonal distress, and relationship difficulty.
Participants included 172 males with PE and 67 female partners of men with PE. Lack of control over ejaculation and dissatisfaction with intercourse emerged as central themes of PE. Lack of ejaculatory control resulted in greater dissatisfaction and greater emotional distress, including feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, and anxiety. Continued PE ultimately leads to greater problems with partners and often disrupts partner relationships. Participants indicated that PE was keeping them from attaining complete intimacy in their relationships even when their partners were generally satisfied with sexual intercourse. Impacts of PE on sexual satisfaction, emotional distress and partner relationships were consistent across countries. Feedback on the single-item PE measures confirmed relevance of the item content and further confirmed major themes identified from the qualitative data.
This qualitative study provides valuable insights on the substantial psychosocial burden of PE in the US and the Europe. Lack of control over ejaculation resulted in dissatisfaction with intercourse and increased emotional distress, and wide-ranging impact for both men with PE and their partners of men with PE. Data collected in this study may help inform the content of new patient reported measures for use in PE research.