Can you use antidepressants like SSRI for premature ejaculation? Continue reading to learn more about how SSRI affects your sexual health.
In this article:
- What Happens During Ejaculation?
- What Is Premature Ejaculation?
- What Causes Premature Ejaculation?
- How Do You Treat Premature Ejaculation?
- What Are SSRI?
- How Effective Are SSRI for Premature Ejaculation?
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About SSRI for Premature Ejaculation
What Happens During Ejaculation?
You can break ejaculation down into two phases:
- Emission – the deposit of semen and sperm in the back of the urethra
- Expulsion – semen and sperm are pushed out of the urethra
These phases happen through an interaction between the spine and the peripheral nervous system. When men are turned on, the body sends signals to the spinal cord and the brain.
When the excitement hits a certain threshold, their brain tells the reproductive organs to release semen through the penis. Serotonin also plays a role in all of this.
It’s a neurotransmitter that regulates the release of urine and semen. Sometimes, things don’t work the way they should, and some men experience ejaculation issues.
What Is Premature Ejaculation?
Premature ejaculation is a form of male sexual dysfunction where men ejaculate sooner than they would like to during sex. There are two types of premature ejaculation:
- Lifelong premature ejaculation
- Acquired premature ejaculation
Lifelong premature ejaculation usually involves these symptoms:
- Almost always ejaculates before penetration
- Almost always ejaculates within one minute of penetration
- Inability to delay ejaculation for satisfying sex
- Stress and frustration
- Avoids sex
Men with lifelong premature ejaculation begin to experience these issues early on. Many of them experience these issues when they first have sexual intercourse.
Unfortunately, men who have had successful and satisfying sexual experiences can also have premature ejaculation problems later on. Men with acquired premature ejaculation may experience the following symptoms:
- Reduced ability to delay ejaculation
- Ejaculates within three minutes of penetration
What Causes Premature Ejaculation?
Both psychological and biological factors contribute to premature ejaculation. Here are a few of the psychological causes of premature ejaculation:
- History of sexual abuse
- Guilt about sex
- Poor body image
- Relationship problems
Erectile dysfunction (ED) may also contribute to premature ejaculation. Men with ED may become anxious about maintaining their erection, so they rush reaching orgasm.
When this becomes a habit, it can be difficult to unlearn. Apart from psychological factors, these biological factors can also contribute to it:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Imbalance in neurotransmitters
- Inflammation in the prostate or urethra
- Infection in the prostate or urethra
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of men with premature ejaculation show there’s something different about how their brain responds to signals. The scans also reveal that the different regions of the brain aren’t as integrated as they should be.
RELATED: How To Get An Erection And Keep It
How Do You Treat Premature Ejaculation?
As mentioned, it may be possible for men who have acquired premature ejaculation to reverse it if they treat the underlying condition. Otherwise, there are other premature ejaculation treatment options, such as:
- Behavioral techniques – Techniques such as masturbating before sex, Kegel exercises, or squeezing the tip of the penis during sex.
- Psychological interventions – Counseling can help with performance anxiety issues. It can also help with the effects of premature ejaculation on long-term relationships.
- Topical creams – There are topical anesthetics that can reduce the sensation on the penis to prevent early ejaculation.
Aside from these, doctors may also recommend oral medications for other conditions that may help treat premature ejaculation, such as antidepressants.
And among the different classes of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most effective in treating premature ejaculation.
What Are SSRI?
SSRIs are a class of drugs which includes:
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Apart from treating depression, these drugs are also used to treat anxiety disorders.
How Effective Are SSRI for Premature Ejaculation?
Studies show* that there’s a gradual improvement in ejaculation time when men take SSRI. These drugs can help treat premature ejaculation by inhibiting certain pathways from the sexual organs to the nervous system.
They also increase serotonin levels, which can help men last longer before they reach orgasm. Their effect on ejaculation time will depend on which SSRI drug they take (*as indicated in the above study):
- Sertraline – Sex can last up to four times longer before ejaculation
- Paroxetine – Sex can last up to nine times longer** before ejaculation
- Fluoxetine – Sex can last up to four times longer before ejaculation
**Among the different types of SSRI, paroxetine is the most effective. Men usually begin to feel its initial effects after 5-10 days and its full effects in 2-3 weeks.
Another option is dapoxetine, a short-acting SSRI. Unlike the other SSRI which you have to take regularly for a period of time, it is an on-demand treatment option.
It’s not as effective as the other SSRI drugs because it only makes sex last up to three times longer before ejaculation. This is because it can’t maintain high enough serotonin levels to delay orgasm.
Nonetheless, it’s still a good option because it has fewer side effects. Long-term treatment with traditional SSRI drugs can lead to serious side effects such as:
- Sleep issues
- Decrease in libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Changes in appetite (increase or decrease)
Apart from these side effects, you can also experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking these medications. Some of which include suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Men often feel uncomfortable talking about their issues in the bedroom, especially when it comes to premature ejaculation. The good news is there are different ways to treat premature ejaculation.
Taking anti-depressants, SSRI drugs specifically, can help treat premature ejaculation. But before you consider any treatment, it’s important to understand the risks.
SSRI drugs can help men last longer, but they may also have side effects. If you’re still interested in taking SSRI for premature ejaculation, it’s best to talk to your doctor about it first.
What are your thoughts on using SSRI for premature ejaculation? Are you willing to try it? Share them with us in the comments section.