Premature ejaculation can be embarrassing, but a new study suggests that it might be a genetic disorder.
Researchers from Turku, Finland, interviewed more than three thousand men - all pairs of male twins and their older or younger brothers - about the first time they had sex. Many participants in the study reported that they had suffered from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation at their first sexual encounter.
These common problems are often attributed to external factors, such as intoxication or nervousness due to peer pressure. This research confirms that such factors do cause erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, premature ejaculation appears to be strongly linked to genetic factors, and is not just psychological.
In an earlier study, researchers in The Netherlands linked premature ejaculation to a gene for serotonin regulation in a group of two hundred men. The new data from Finland independently show a genetic link to premature ejaculation in a much larger group, and rule out environmental factors.
Faculty of 1000 Medicine member David Goldmeier notes that the increasing evidence for a genetic cause of premature ejaculation opens the way for the development of new drug treatments - something that many men might benefit from. However, both Goldmeier and reviewer Taylor Segraves emphasize that drug therapy is not the only solution: psychotherapy will continue to be a valuable and useful form of treatment for sexual dysfunctions - even those with a genetic cause.
The study by Pekka Santtila, Kenneth Sandnabba and Patrick Jern was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy in March 2009.
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