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5th March, 20214 min read

Can diet affect premature ejaculation?

Medical reviewer:Dr Adiele Hoffman
Author:Caroline Bodian
Last reviewed: 03/03/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

If you’re struggling with premature ejaculation, you might be wondering if changing your diet could help.

Premature ejaculation is when someone with a penis comes (ejaculates) too soon, usually before or soon after penetration during sex.

The cause is unknown. It may be linked to things that affect your thoughts or feelings (psychological causes), such as anxiety, traumatic sexual experiences and depression, as well as pressure to perform (performance anxiety).

Another thought is that it may be caused by your penis being more sensitive. However, these have not been proven. It is also thought it may run in families, and may be associated with prostate or thyroid problems, certain drugs, and obesity.

A poor diet won’t directly cause premature ejaculation, but eating a healthy diet can have a positive effect on your sexual health and wellbeing. So read on to learn more.

The link between diet and premature ejaculation

When it comes to premature ejaculation causes, there’s no direct link with your diet. However, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to improve your overall health.

And if your premature ejaculation is associated with obesity, making changes to your diet may improve your sexual health.

Some findings suggest that zinc and magnesium might play a role so eating foods high in zinc and magnesium might help – but the evidence is limited and more research is needed.

A healthy, balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet offers lots of benefits, from giving you energy and keeping your bones and heart healthy to helping you maintain a healthy weight.

If being overweight is a factor in your premature ejaculation, you can make some changes to your diet to help you lose weight.

You should try to eat lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy, wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta. Include some protein, such as dairy, meat, fish, eggs and beans, but avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar.

It’s best to follow a healthy balanced diet, rather than trying an extreme ‘fad diet’, in order to lose weight.

Other treatments for premature ejaculation

There are several things you can try during sex to help avoid premature ejaculation, including:

  • masturbating an hour or 2 beforehand
  • using a thick condom, so you can’t feel as much
  • having sex with your partner on top, so they can pull away when you’re close to coming
  • taking breaks during sex and focusing on something boring
  • taking a deep breath to stop the ‘ejaculatory reflex’

Options for premature ejaculation treatment include couples therapy, where you and your partner can talk about relationship issues and learn masturbation techniques to delay ejaculation. These techniques can help you ‘unlearn’ premature ejaculation, and you can try them at home, but they need lots of practice. They are:

  • the ‘stop-start’ technique
  • the ‘squeeze’ technique
  • the Kegel technique (learning to control the ejaculatory muscles)

Find out more about the stop-start and squeeze techniques here.

Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are sometimes prescribed, as they delay ejaculation. Or anaesthetic creams or gels, such as lidocaine, can be used to decrease sensation and delay ejaculation.

Sometimes, you may need a combination of making changes to your behaviour, therapy and drug treatment.

When to talk to your doctor

If premature ejaculation doesn’t go away, you should speak to your doctor to discuss your options. They may examine you or refer you to a specialist.

You may feel awkward or embarrassed, but it’s important to take control of your health and seek help when you need it.

Key points

  • premature ejaculation is often caused by psychological factors, but can also be linked to physical causes
  • eating a good diet can improve your overall health, including your sexual health
  • improving your diet to lose weight may help with premature ejaculation
  • there are things you can try to delay ejaculation duing sex
  • other treatment options include couples therapy and medication
  • don’t feel embarrassed about seeing your doctor about premature ejaculation
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