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Premature Ejaculation: Try Sex Therapy BEFORE Drugs

Drugs should be the last resort.

Forty years ago, pioneering sex therapists William Masters, M.D. and Virginia Johnson developed a simple, effective program that quickly cures most men's rapid, uncontrolled ("premature") ejaculation (PE). The Masters and Johnson program, modified a bit over the years, is still used today. It empowers 90 to 95 percent of men to break the PE habit and learn to last as long as they'd like.

Unfortunately, most doctors are unaware that sex therapy works so well. When men mention PE, doctors usually prescribe low-dose antidepressants. Why? Because the popular SSRI drugs (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) cause several sexual side effects-including delayed orgasm/ejaculation. In men, this means lasting longer. Drug makers have persuaded doctors to harness this side effect to treat PE.

But sex therapy produces much better results:

* SSRIs don't work that well. They typically delay ejaculation only briefly, or prevent it altogether. Sex therapy teaches men to last as long as they'd like-even hours-and then ejaculate when they wish.

* SSRIs may cause nausea, headache, diarrhea, libido loss, and erection impairment. Sex therapy for PE uses no side effects.

* The drug companies claim that SSRIs show men they can last longer, boosting their confidence, and allowing them to stop the drugs while continuing to last longer. Not true. The drugs don't teach ejaculatory control. When men stop taking them, they usually revert to PE.

* The sex-therapy program is cheaper. Most men don't need formal sex therapy. All they need is a book that teaches the simple art of ejaculatory control. My book, Great Sex, explains it for $16.95. SSRIs cost more.

* Sex therapy is more empowering. When men learn ejaculatory control, they gain a real skill, feel better about themselves, and enjoy sex more.

* The sex-therapy program is also better for the couple. SSRIs don't change the way couples make love. The sex therapy approach to PE emphasizes whole-body massage. Women often complain that men are too focused on the genitals and intercourse. Most women say they prefer sex based on leisurely, playful, whole-body massage. The sex-therapy approach to PE is a win-win. Men get what they want, lasting longer, by adopting the lovemaking style most women prefer, whole-body sensuality.

* The sex-therapy approach enhances couple intimacy. It involves teamwork. As the man learns ejaculatory control, most couples feel closer and more loving.

If you don't learn good ejaculatory control from books like Great Sex, a sex therapist can usually teach the skill in a few months of weekly sessions. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (www.aasect.org), or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (www.sstarnet.org).

If you're one of the 5 to 10 percent of men who need more than sex therapy, try medication. But SSRIs work best when combined with sex therapy.

Unfortunately, many doctors view drugs as the first-choice treatment for PE. Actually, drugs should be the last resort.

 

San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., has written about sexuality for 36 years. more...

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