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The Link Between Waist Size and Premature Ejaculation

Highlights

  • Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when you ejaculate sooner than desired or expected.
  • Being overweight or obese increases your risk for chronic health conditions and sexual dysfunction. 
  • Some research suggests that being overweight or obese puts you at a greater risk for PE, but some research contradicts these findings.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle can improve your sexual health and function.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs, like Viagra and Cialis, are safe and effective for treating PE.

Premature ejaculation (PE) is one of the most common forms of reported sexual dysfunction in the United States. There are many risk factors tied to sexual dysfunction — including being overweight. Read on to learn more about the link between waist size and PE.

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a form of sexual dysfunction that affects an estimated one in three men within their lifetime. PE describes what happens when you ejaculate sooner than you desire or expect during sex. This usually happens just before or shortly after penetration.

The occasional instance of PE is normal. But if PE is frequent and causes you or your partner distress, it can be cause for concern. Additionally, performance anxiety and stress over PE can make the condition worse.

Common symptoms of PE include:

  • Ejaculation frequently occurring with little or no stimulation
  • Fear or avoidance of sexual intimacy or sexual activity
  • Feeling anxious, distressed, or insecure about sexual activity
  • Inability to delay ejaculation during most sexual encounters

There are also two different forms of PE — lifelong PE and acquired PE. If you’ve struggled with PE since puberty or early on in your sexual relationships, you will likely fall under the “lifelong PE” category. If you’ve only recently noticed PE symptoms, or you’ve had them in conjunction with another condition, you will likely fall under the “acquired PE” category.

What causes premature ejaculation?

PE can be rooted in both psychological and physiological conditions. If you’re currently living with another form of sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), you are more likely to experience PE. Your provider can help you to identify the underlying cause of your condition.

Psychological causes of PE include:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Attitudes surrounding sex
  • Early sexual experiences
  • Problems with body image
  • Relationship problems
  • Sexual trauma

Physical causes of PE include:

  • Abnormal hormone levels
  • Abnormal levels of neurotransmitters
  • Chronic health conditions or health disorders
  • Inherited traits
  • Other forms of sexual dysfunction
  • Prostate problems

How is waist size related to premature ejaculation?

Men who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for erectile dysfunction. Being overweight or obese also places men at a greater risk for chronic health problems and increased estrogen, which can increase risk for PE. However, researchers have found contradicting results when examining the relationship between PE and waist size.

Research supporting the link between PE and waist line measurement

A small-scale research study attempted to determine if waist size increased risk for PE. After following 100 men, the researchers found that men with a waist measurement over 40 inches were three times more likely to report PE than their slimmer counterparts.

Among the men with PE, 51 percent also met the clinical criteria for metabolic syndrome.

The results of this study revealed a strong connection between waist line and PE risk. It also painted a picture of how PE can be linked to other health conditions associated with increased weight. However, this study was small in scale and additional research is needed to confirm the link between PE and waist size.

Conflicting research

Another research study attempted to determine the relationship between lifelong PE and visceral adiposity index (VAI), an indicator of visceral obesity, or belly fat. After following 300 men, they found that the men with PE had a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference than the men without PE.

The authors concluded that the men living with PE were less likely to meet the criteria for obesity.

While the two studies found conflicting results, the authors of both noted study limitations and recommended continued research to determine conclusively whether there is a link.

How can I lower my risk for premature ejaculation?


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to reducing your risk for PE. However, living a healthy lifestyle and addressing concerns about sexual function as they arise can help you to have better a better sex life overall. This is because sexual arousal and function are complex processes that can be either helped or hindered by your overall physical and mental health.

Having a chronic health condition, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, can increase your risk for a variety of sexual dysfunctions and ejaculation problems. This makes it essential to manage any ongoing chronic health conditions if you wish to improve or maintain your sexual function.

What treatments are available for premature ejaculation?

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help you manage PE. You might benefit from seeing a urologist about your concerns. They can help you to identify the root cause of your condition and also help you to select the best treatment option.

Current treatment options for PE include:

Behavioral Therapy or Practices

Behavioral therapy can be used to teach you exercises to prevent ejaculation. This includes the “squeeze” and the “start-and-stop” methods.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Some men benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor. Kegel exercises are an example of pelvic floor therapy that’s simple to do at home.

Prescription Medication

Some men benefit from medications that control their anxiety, decrease sensitivity in their penis, or treat other forms of sexual dysfunction. For example, prescription medications for anxiety or mood disorders may help to delay ejaculation and reduce performance anxiety, a common cause of PE.

Analgesics are typically prescribed for pain, but they may also decrease penile sensitivity, which can delay ejaculation. Medications traditionally prescribed for ED, such as sildenafil (brand name Viagra) and tadalafil (brand name Cialis), can also be helpful for PE.

Psychological Therapy

You may benefit from counseling if your PE is rooted in anxiety, depression, or trauma. Therapy can also help to reduce your anxiety around sexual performance.

Sex Therapy or Couples Counseling

Sex therapy can help you to specifically work through challenges related to sexual health and function. If you’re in a relationship, couples counseling can help you to better communicate with your partner about sex, which can help you to relax enough to reduce instances of PE.

Topical Anesthetics

Applying a topical anesthetic like benzocaine wipes 10-15 minutes before sex can decrease penile sensitivity and delay ejaculation.

You may benefit from a combination of treatment methods. No matter which method you choose, you should speak to a medical provider about your sexual function concerns.

Can I take ED drugs for premature ejaculation?

Prescription ED medications like Viagra and Cialis are well-known for their use in treating ED. However, they can also be used to treat PE.

Research shows that ED drugs are safe and effective at treating PE, regardless of whether the person taking it also has ED. A 2017 study showed sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, to be more effective at improving sexual function when compared to alternate treatment methods, such as fluoxetine (an antidepressant).

Some men benefit from taking ED drugs as needed, but others may need to take a once-daily dose (Cialis (tadalafil) for Daily Use) to achieve the best outcomes.

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