Psychological causes of premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation can be caused by physical factors but in many cases, there are underlying psychological causes. Some men develop premature ejaculation due to both of these.

This section discusses the psychological causes only.

If you want to know more about the other aspects then visit our physical causes of premature ejaculation.

So what do we mean by ‘psychological causes?’

Many people assume that performance anxiety, frustration and a lack of self confidence cause premature ejaculation but these are in fact, the end results of this condition. But they often develop in long term cases of premature ejaculation.

What is the reason for that? This is often due to the fact that the sufferer becomes stuck in a never ending cycle of anxiety, ejaculation problems, frustration and guilt which repeats itself over and over again.

This affects their relationship and in some cases, can mean permanent damage. Unfortunately, many relationships have ended as a result of this.

Common psychological factors

These include:

  • Strict upbringing
  • Sexual inexperience
  • Early conditioning
  • Traumatic background/event
  • Stress
  • Depression

Strict upbringing

This refers to situations in which a man has been encouraged to see sexual intercourse as a shameful act which must only be practiced for religious reasons, e.g. procreation of children.

Another possibility is viewing sexual activity as something which is only acceptable in strictly defined situations such as marriage.

In extreme cases, the man may have been encouraged to view sexual intercourse as an unclean, sinful activity which should be avoided at all costs.

In the light of this it is perhaps, not surprising, that those men who have brought up in this way will view the sex act with fear and dread.

This is often a feature of premature ejaculation in young men such as teenagers who have undergone this type of upbringing, or are worried about contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Another common fear is that of causing a pregnancy.

Sexual inexperience

A lack of sexual experience, especially in younger men is another contributing factor. Many young men place a strong emphasis on potency and sexual performance and are often keen to assert their virility. This is bound up with their masculinity in general so being unable to perform is seen as a slur on that masculinity and their sense of identity.

Early conditioning

A man’s early sexual experiences often affect his later sexual behaviour. So if he has undertaken sexual activity in a certain manner then this is likely to influence his future behaviour.

One example of this is ejaculating rapidly in order to escape detection for masturbation. This also applies to a fear of being discovered having sex.

What happens is that the man rushes the sexual act in order to achieve an instant climax and complete the act but this has a negative effect. It results in the man becoming conditioned to behave in this way which results in premature ejaculation.

Once this behaviour has been established it is very difficult to break that habit.

Some men find that their fathers behaved in the same way which may suggest a genetic tendency instead of a learned behaviour. But this only applies in certain cases.

Traumatic background/event

If a man has experienced a traumatic incident in their life then this can lead to sexual problems such as premature ejaculation. In some situations it may result in a permanent sexual problem or even socially inappropriate behaviour.

A traumatic event can range from being caught masturbating through to sex abuse as a child. Another equally serious event is that of male rape.

Another possible cause is that of anxiety or what we more commonly know as ‘nerves’. If you are nervous before having sex then it is more than likely that you will ejaculate too quickly as a result of this.


A certain amount of stress can be good for you in that it helps you to focus upon a task or improve your performance, e.g. public speaking. But it is when you are experience prolonged or extreme stress that problems arise.

This causes a range of health problems which includes a drop in libido and problems maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction). It can also result in premature ejaculation.

If you are experiencing stress, for example due to pressures at work, worries about financial matters or relationship problems then these will all have an effect on your sexual performance.


This common illness affects around 1 in 10 people and is a serious, long term condition. It causes a range of symptoms which include low mood, disturbed sleep patterns, lack of motivation and a reduced sex drive.

Someone with depression often loses interest in sex. But the symptoms of their illness affect their libido and their ability to get an erection.

Behavioural causes of premature ejaculation

There are a few behavioural factors associated with premature ejaculation which often relate to relationship difficulties between couples.

Poor communication, underlying tensions or simmering resentments can all affect sexual intimacy. If one half of a couple is stressed or unhappy then this will be reflected in their inability to enjoy sex or to achieve a successful climax.

If a man feels under pressure to perform or is worried about his relationship with his partner then this is likely to affect his ability to get an erection and/or to ejaculate. The end result is usually premature ejaculation.

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