Study fails to find evidence that premature ejaculation can be explained by anxiety

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Premature ejaculation might not be related to anxiety, according to research published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The longitudinal study of 985 Finnish men found no evidence that symptoms of anxiety predicted symptoms of premature ejaculation. The study also failed to find evidence that premature ejaculation was associated with later levels of anxiety or depression.

PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Daniel Ventus of Åbo Akademi University. Read his responses below:

PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?

Ventus: It is common that men experience premature ejaculation as a problem, but its causes are still largely unknown. 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?

What should the average person take away from your study?

We did not find support for the hypothesis that premature ejaculation can be explained by anxiety. However, it is important to keep in mind that lack of support in this case is not the same as disproving the hypothesis.

Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?

The time between the two measurement points in the study was several years, which may be too long to find meaningful associations. 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. Further, as the sample was population-based there were not that many severe cases of premature ejaculation.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

This was the first study trying to clarify the causal associations between anxiety and premature ejaculation using longitudinal data, and the research question should be examined further using other study designs.

The study, “No Evidence for Long-Term Causal Associations Between Symptoms of Premature Ejaculation and Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, and Sexual Distress in a Large, Population-Based Longitudinal Sample“, was also co-authored by Annika Gunst, Antti Kärnä and Patrick Jern.

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